Yahara Therapy
Newsletters

March 2013 Newsletter:

  1. What's happening and what's next?
  2. SuperBetter
  3. Pain Tool Kit and How Nerves Work
  4. Mindfulness-Based Meditation May Help Reduce Inflammation (research)
  5. Try this calming move
  6. Seeking supplies: Skeleton, etc.

1) What's happening and what's next?
As you may know, I will finish the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at University of Wisconsin-Madison this May. Since starting on this path many years ago:

  • I've continued practicing massage part time while attending school; I still love this work.
  • You have allowed me to try and hone new skills, including physical therapy, on and with many of you. (Thank you.)
  • You let me "write you up" so I could present your cases to professors, allowing me learn from you more than I already do. (Thank you.)
  • I have made personal and professional connections with people working in yoga, PT, occupational therapy, bodywork, traditional and not-so-traditional medical professions, nutrition, community health, and activism ... and much more.

I've incorporated new techniques such as Visceral Manipulation and Anatomy Trains into my practice. As many bodyworkers and therapists do, I have blended these new skills with my experience in Thai Yoga Massage, Swedish and deep tissue massage, Active-Isolated stretching, yoga, fitness and strength-training, myofascial technique, and a little intuition.

Most recently, I have learned a fantastic technique: Strain Counterstrain (SCS). Strain Counterstrain is quick, effective and non-invasive. Osteopathic in origin, SCS includes scanning for tender points to identify specific pain and then passively positioning your body to calm reflexes that may be causing that pain and tension. I have just begun to learn and use this technique, and it is a powerful tool.

Manual — hands-on — therapy seems to be my calling. I wonder if my great-great grandparents (Martine and Diederich), both osteopathic physicians, have influenced my path? It's intriguing to think about that inheritance!


Currently, I am finishing PT clinical internships. (If you'd like to hear more about them, let me know. I am blogging some of my experiences.) May 17th, I graduate! If I pass my state board exam, I will be licensed to practice PT in Wisconsin.

My 8-week-long internships have included:

  • Inpatient hospital work on neurology/neurosurgery floors in Detroit at Henry Ford Hospital,
  • Outpatient clinic work at Dean Health in Madison, including working with dizziness and vertigo,
  • Home health care with UW Health, and
  • Starting 18 March, outpatient clinic work in Ft. Atkinson with Fort HealthCare — a rural setting with a forward-thinking, innovative provider.

What is next for Yahara Therapy?
Putting all of this together: My practice and I have evolved to work more with pain and injury; but I will continue to work with you in wholeness, wellness, relaxation and preventive care.

I will work with you on a traditional massage table, or on a mat on the floor. I have taken my massage chair to your business and to neighborhood fairs; I have traveled to you as you received Hospice services. We talk about fitness, and I get to introduce you to wonderful people and services in our communities who support and help you in other ways.

Post-graduation, I plan to expand and enrich my therapy offerings by training more completely in SCS and Thai Yoga Massage, and by finishing the Visceral Manipulation coursework. I also hope to be employed as a physical therapist in the community. I will keep Yahara Therapy going, eventually including physical therapy and other wellness services.

I plan to be part of the healing network of greater Madison and hope to be part of an active solution to our health care difficulties in this country.

2) SuperBetter
I thought you might be interested in this game — SuperBetter.
What is it? SuperBetter aims to help you achieve health care goals. Created by a woman as a tool for recovery after her head injury, it helps you customize the path to "Better".

"SuperBetter is a tool created by game designers and backed by science to help build personal resilience: the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficulty challenges. Resilience has a powerful effect on health — by boosting physical and emotional well-being. Resilience also helps you achieve your life goals — by strengthening your social support and increasing your stamina, willpower and focus. Every aspect of the game is designed to harness the power of positive emotions and social connection for live, feel, and act better."

Here is a blog synopsis from a journalist who tried it out (On The Media): http://www.onthemedia.org/2011/sep/30/gaming-back-health/.

3) Pain Tool Kit and How Nerves Work
I'd like to share some useful resources regarding pain management. Check them out!

  • The Pain Toolkit
    "The Pain Toolkit is a simple information booklet that could provide you with some handy tips and skills to support you along the way to managing your pain."
  • Save Yourself blog
    "What's here? Hundreds of self-help articles and several advanced tutorials about common pain problems, readable enough for anyone but heavily referenced for professionals. Pain and therapy science is served up with some sass here." A little snarky, but lots of great resources at your fingertips. Easily searchable.
  • How do nerves work? (TedEd video on YouTube)
    This is a neat, clear, helpful way to understand how pain happens.

4) Mindfulness-Based Meditation May Help Reduce Inflammation (research)
Janis C. Kelly, Jan 31, 2013, on the website: MedScape.com
"Mindfulness meditation techniques designed to reduce emotional reactivity also reduce poststress inflammatory responses and might be useful in chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma, according to a study by Melissa A. Rosenkranz, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

5) Try this calming move
Feeling stressed or ungrounded? Want to calm your nervous system? Try this free and easy technique.

  1. Stand or sit comfortably upright. Rest back in your chair or bend your knees softly as you stand.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Let your arms hang. Imagine your fingertips are immersed in a few inches of water.
  4. Turn from side to side, letting your fingers slowly swish in the water. Feel it against your fingers, the patterns it makes in the surface.
  5. Back and forth. Slowly. Fully.
  6. Breathe easily.
  7. Continue.
  8. Repeat as needed.

If you are unable to move your body or arms, move what you can through that gentle water. Or create the image in your mind.

6) Seeking supplies: Skeleton, etc.
Yes, it is true. I am looking for a skeleton. An anatomy model of a skeleton, that is! I am also seeking music stands.

As I prefer to re-use when possible, if you have a resource for these or other used items that you think I might use in my therapy practice, I'd be grateful if you sent me a note! Thanks in advance.

My ongoing best to you,
Susan