Therapeutic Exercise

Adam Lindsey, CFMT, says, "As a tailor measures you to make a suit or dress that fits exactly, so should your physical therapist design your exercise program to match your current level and build it up as your fitness level improves." So, rather than the usual 'one exercise fits all' approach, SupEx offers specially formulated and individually calibrated exercises. Vardan takes wellness to the next level with Supervised Exercises, the FMT way.

Charles King, CFMT, says, "It is impossible to separate FMT from corrective, prescriptive exercise. At the very heart of FMT is PNF (Proprioceptive Neuro-muscular Facilitation), which is a specific hands-on method of muscle recruitment and strengthening. With each of FMT's techniques, the body is re-educated and strengthened in new positions using exercise in the form of prolonged holds. To do one without the other is almost useless. So, a tailor-made, therapeutic, supervised exercise program is an essential part of the FMT approach."

Karin Hilfiker, CFMT, says, "Our stabilizing muscles can become 'inhibited', or weakened, in response to an injury or painful episode. Research has shown, for example, that certain muscles in the spine stop firing appropriately after a single episode of back pain and don't "turn back on" without specific training - this may explain why so many individuals suffer from chronic low back pain. An FM therapist can identify which muscles have become inhibited and can give you exercises to retrain the muscles to reduce the risk of recurring injury."

Local muscles (known as the 'core') primarily act to stabilize a body segment while global muscles facilitate movement. Very often, due to injury, poor posture or improper exercise, global muscles become over-active and the local ones weaken. To the untrained eye, it is difficult to determine if an exercise or action is being done improperly - i.e, a global (muscle) contraction is not preceded by a local stabilizing initiation.

FM therapists - with their in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology and current research - are trained to determine this and know how to facilitate it with specific SupEx programs. So, exercising the FMT way starts with aiming to achieve one of three goals: facilitation of core muscles, efficient alignment of the body and a decrease in symptom-causing dysfunctions. Exercises are not done to simply strengthen or stretch a muscle, but to correct body alignment and make core muscles engage to ensure the best function. Before any movement, stabilizing muscles must contract. While other exercise instructors teach volitional engagement of these core muscles, FMT believes that when the body is optimally aligned and the core has been facilitated, this occurs effortlessly and automatically.

SupEx has several levels. As the exercises are individually supervised, there is constant monitoring, guidance and modification according to the progress made. Also, unlike usual gym regimens, SupEx incorporates exercises and movements directly related to each person's daily activity-related movements. Foundation-level exercises set the principles that must be carried forward in future exercises and in daily life. Individualized information is provided on how, why and when to use these easy exercises. The second level adds challenges to the foundation, such as altering the body's relationship to gravity, working on unstable surfaces, etc. Next is the integration of full, functional movements and tasks while preserving efficient alignment and core facilitation. Finally, when deemed prudent by the therapist, the patient can even do the exercises independently.