In addition to working with our general clients and their fitness and wellness goals, both Laura and Steve have additional advanced licensing as Medical Massage Therapists. In our Hawaiian Medical Massage Therapy school, our 1,250 hour program consisted of intense anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, pathology, assessment and treatment design, and therapeutic hands on work along with therapeutic exercise. The schools goal was for their graduates to work side by side with allied health professionals (e.g., PTs, Physicians, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, and other Massage Therapists). We believe that the more a "patient" understands about their condition, what contraindications exist, and which options for alternative exercise therapy (and massage) exist, the more these clients can take their power back and get fully onto the road of healing.
Both Laura and Steve had extensive shoulder "re-build" surgeries. Laura's was from a slip and fall while Steve's was from a Moto X accident. Steve was fortunate enough to have his injury after Kona Pilates opened in Hawaii. Laura worked with Steve to get his shoulder as strong and stable as possible BEFORE his surgery...as surgery was the only option to repair his shoulder. As soon as the Doctor cleared Steve for exercise, Laura began working with him in the Pilates studio. He began the very same exercises she had given him prior to his surgery. At his 6 week follow up the Doctor exclaimed that he had never seen anyone "at Steve's age" recover so quickly from a surgery like as intense as his. He asked what we were doing. We responded with, "We are both licensed massage therapists with specializations in medical massage and therapeutic exercise and we also happen to own a Pilates studio." The doctor was so impressed, he told Steve there was no need for PT as we were clearly on the right path. However, both Laura and Steve's shoulders only improved to 95% (which is actually awesome). It was then that there were both introduced to Gyrotonic exercise. It was the Gyrotonic exercise that allowed them both to achieve a 100% "back to normal" range of motion,
Following this experience, Steve took his massage education a bit further to specialize in Manual Therapy and his Pilates education further to include a full rehabilitation training program (now only available to licensed PTs and physicians).. He now specializes in combining his ONSEN Manual Therapy & Massage with movement re-education. Steve has worked with the following:
Most of Steve's therapy clients book him with two sessions back-to-back: first session is ONSEN followed by a movement session utilizing STOTT Pilates equipment and/or GYROTONIC exercise.
When our studio was in Hawaii, Steve has many clients who fly from the mainland to Hawaii just to work with him. You may be surprised at what is possible.
“I can finally walk again”
Where she was at: A woman in her 40's came into the studio to begin Pilates lessons, after hearing Steve and Laura speak at a local traumatic brain injury event. Her goal was to continue rehab for her injuries, as her health insurance had run out. She had been involved in a head on collision while both vehicles were driving 55 miles per hour. The other driver swerved into her lane and she was unable to avoid the collision. She broke over 100 bones in her body. She received a major head injury (traumatic brain injury or TBI). And she nearly bled out. The doctors had nearly given up hope that she would live. She was transferred to a critical care facility and then eventually a long term care facility. She could not speak, move, let alone walk at that time. She was later able to speak, move and walk with the aid of a walker and a caregiver to keep her from losing her balance. Her cognitive skills were also challenged. Eventually her insurance company would no longer authorize further physical therapy. She said that we were her last hope of recovery.
What was happening: Due to the traumatic nature of her accident and the number of severity of her injuries, her entire physical body was not working properly. In a case like this, we recommend beginning with Manual Therapy sessions with Steve first to insure that the structure of her body was in proper alignment before beginning any physical exercise.
How We Helped: Steve found that both ankles were jammed (most likely due to seeing the accident coming and trying to stop her car). As soon as he freed up her ankle joints, she was able to walk and keep her balance with greater ease. The bones of her pelvis were also out of alignment. As soon as they were brought into proper alignment, she gained more mobility with greatly reduced pain in her hips and low back. Steve did some cranio-sacral work for her head. These sessions reduced her non-stop headache pain. Once Steve had gotten her pain reduced and her mobility increased, we began working with her in Pilates for Rehab and then eventually Gyrotonic exercise and Chi Kung/Breathwork. Pilates served to build stamina, stability and strength. Gyrotonic gave her mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. And the Chi Kung/Breathwork helped to focus and calm her mind. She particularly enjoyed blending the three together. Laura even got her dancing Hula a bit again (something the doctors told her she'd never be able to do). She was eventually able to discard her walker and only needed the assistance of a cane. Her husband reported seeing dramatic changes not only in how she was moving, but also in how she was speaking and remembering things. We continued to see this client twice a week (a manual therapy session followed by a movement session) for over 3 years until we moved to California. She has been one of our biggest (and loudest) cheerleaders for the unique and life changing work we do. She referred numerous clients to us who had similar life changing major accidents. And in each case, we were able to help. She now works with a Pilates instructor that Laura personally trained and continues to improve much to the astonishment of her doctors.
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“Severe Neck Injury”
Where she was at: A client in her 40's came into the studio to learn about our Pilates for Rehab program. She was returning to "gentle" exercise after having a severe neck injury (several breaks to the vertebrae in her neck). She had received her physicians permission to work with us (as we are licensed therapists). She had tremendous neck and back pain, very limited mobility, could not drive a car (since she could not turn her neck), and was on very high doses of pain medication. She was desperately wanting a new fresh approach to health and healing.
What was happening: Due to the severity of her neck injuries, her deep core stabilizers in her entire body turned off. Her pain medication helped to mask any and all feedback her body was struggling to provide. She had become addicted to the pain medication.
How We Helped: After a few weeks of private lessons (and then a few Onsen Manual therapy sessions with Steve), she found that she could begin turning her neck without pain. As she continued with her private lessons, her posture improved and the pain in her upper and lower back lessened. We worked on her reactions to perceived pain in her body. Working with her breath, she learned how to calm her body and mind, thus allowing her body to not go into its normal acute pain reaction. She became increasingly aware of how her posture and habits contributed to her pain. After a few months, her doctors were able to reduce her pain medications to nearly zero (something they had said would be "impossible in her condition.") Her doctors commented that, "We don't know exactly what the folks over at Kona Pilates are doing, but whatever it is, it works! Keep it up." They actually wrote this in one of their reports to her insurance company!
This client now has nearly full mobility of her neck, is driving again, and has even gotten a job (all things that were in the "never" column of her life list).