Group Movement Class for Staff at Homer Physical Therapy

Everyone at Homer Physical Therapy

recently spent the weekend exploring movement with our own bodies and assisting each other in making discoveries about our restricted movement patterns  during the two-day class titled, “Comprehensive Stabilization Strategies for the Low Back, Pelvis and Hips”. Our friend and mentor, Gordon Browne, PT, from Therapeutic Movement Seminars in Washington came up to provide our physical therapists and staff with professional training and a personal learning opportunity. We progressed from simple movements of a single body part; playing with various muscle options for moving that one part, to complex motions using our whole body –  head to toe – all working in a coordinated and well-timed manner. The skills we learned and the discoveries we made about our bodies will allow us to make more informed and observant choices about optimizing movement for our own personal needs and comfort levels.

We spent the last afternoon

examining how our new awareness could translate into activities both we and our clients participate in and in some cases, struggle with every day, such as lifting heavy objects from the floor, pulling weeds in the garden, picking up children, groceries, chainsaws and moving fishing nets with the least amount of stress to our precious joints and muscles. What a great way to spend the weekend!! We were all excited by the new found freedom of movement we experienced.

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Gordon’s approach

is an eclectic mix of his physical therapy training and decades-long clinical experience accompanied with his Feldenkrais® training, his background in Yoga, Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qigong. Gordon’s integrative approach combines his understanding of these holistic eastern movement practices with his understanding of more linear western concepts like anatomy, physiology and commonly used diagnostic terms for promoting usefulness in the rehabilitation clinical setting.

Homer Physical Therapy has incorporated his teachings

in our clinical practice and fitness workshops since its HPT’s inception in 2003.  The key features to Gordon’s experiential training include exercises / movement prescription based on pattern specificity. This means understanding the complexity of motions: which patterns are overused and which are under-utilized and developing programs that address these imbalances; proportional use of movement through the muscles and joints (effectively using the big muscles and joints for the biggest work and smaller ones for fine-tuning movements); skeletal weight-bearing versus bearing weight through the soft tissues that are more susceptible to irritation and strain; and functional application of movements – ensuring movement instruction has real-life application. We are excited to share this information with you!


It was an awesome weekend learning with a great group of people and a wonderful instructor!


Check out Therapeutic Movement Seminar’s web site at

What Makes Physical Therapy Different

In some ways, going to physical therapy school is a lot like going to law school. A person who goes to law school doesn’t complete their academic training and walk out of school specialized in “divorce law” or “criminal law;” rather, they are prepared to sit for the bar exam after which they will choose a professional path to pursue. It is the on-the-job training that ultimately makes them skilled at their area of practice.

Physical therapists do the same. We go to schools that prepare us to pass our licensing exam. Once out of school and licensed, physical therapists can specialize in a myriad of areas of practice including pediatrics, geriatrics, home health, hospital in-patient including ICU, burn and wound care, public school therapy, specialized care for veterans, and professional sports physical therapy for everything from basketball to NASCAR –  just to name a few. In the words of my former professor, John Echternach, at Old Dominion University on the last day of class, “We have made you safe. Now go learn.”

How physical therapists practice is largely a result of this learning that occurs post-graduation and the venue in which they practice. All physical therapists have a common knowledge that was acquired in school, but after that, learning can be very diverse and practices can be very different. Most women’s health physical therapists would have a difficult time relating to the methods utilized by a school pediatric physical therapist and vice versa.

Here at Homer Physical Therapy, we are primarily soft tissue manual therapists. Manual therapists use their hands as the primary method of treating and affecting. The “soft tissue” part of the descriptor indicates our focus is on what the muscles and fascia are doing to alter or distort efficient movement as opposed to treating the bony joints as the primary culprit in movement or alignment problems.