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Treating the Whole Person

This year I have committed to completing the Integrated Systems Model training with Diane Lee in Vancouver, BC.  Diane Lee is well known in many movement systems models and for her books about the pelvis, thorax, and SI joints.  The training that I am completing is a series of 3 weeks in Vancouver learning to look at the pelvis, hips, lumbar and cervical spine and thorax in an integrated way.  Instead of looking at just the hip with a patient with hip pain, what is happening up or down the chain from the hip.

I have enjoyed this training very much so far—I have another week to go in September.  It has reinforced how I have already been treating and has added many new ways to look at the human body and how we experience pain or the decreased ability to complete an activity.  As Diane says: to find the driver of the movement problem and to solve the puzzle on how to improve function.

I think that we, as therapists and as patients, often get held up in the pain location and what is going on RIGHT THERE.  What if our RIGHT THERE isn’t the primary driver?  What if it is the victim of some other dysfunction in some other part of the body that is causing the RIGHT THERE to hurt?
As I journey through treatment with my patients, I often find that the pelvis has been the victim of something higher up the chain.  Often this can be tightness in the connective tissue surrounding their internal organs or their muscles in their thorax or even up into their jaw.  As the tissues begin to unwind and the patient learns how to assist in that process as well as new movement patterns to prevent a reoccurrence of pain, we can find that “wow” moment of “It wasn’t just RIGHT THERE!” 

It never ceases to amaze me how we are all connected throughout this system of connective tissue, muscle, nerves and bones; how one change up or down the system can manifest itself into something painful, or into a relief of pain.  It is important that we step back and look at the big picture and not just at the RIGHT THERE. 

A huge thank you to Diane Lee in allowing me to continue my journey as a PT and to grow my practice with something that I knew intuitionally to be the right path.  I look forward to updating all of our FC followers as I continue on my journey.

-Jennifer Cumming, PT MSPT CLT WCS

This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Physical Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you.  If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at for more blog entries and to learn more about our specialty PT practice, Foundational Concepts.  Follow us on Twitter @Foundational1 and like us on Facebook/Foundational Concepts for updates.

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