Harness the Healing Power of Physical Activity

Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 09:30
low back pain, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, health problems, knee pain, seniors, autoimmune

As an Ontario Registered Social Worker, ACE-Certified Health Coach, ACE-Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, and an AAHFRP-Certified Post Rehabilitation Conditioning Specialist, and as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the American Council on Exercise, I help my clients define what their goals are. Goals are related to physical wellness, mental health, stress management, sleep problems, functionality in activities of daily living, and chronic pain/pain management.  I will help you feel better!

Using coaching techniques, counselling/psychotherapy strategies, and a wealth of knowledge, I help move you where you find yourself in the present, to where you wish to be in the future. Over the past 25 years, I have created a unique practice that combines registered social work, health coaching, medical exercise, and personal training. I am fascinated by the intersection of physical and mental health, and have been a pioneer in bridging the gap between these two realms.  I enable my clients to achieve successes they did not think possible.  I am based in Toronto, and work with clients locally as well as throughout Canada. Sessions happen in person, or virtually via FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.

My life's passion is helping people use exercise to manage their medical problems.  This involves how to exercise safely and effectively, which many clients never thought possible.  And how to see beyond perceived limitations, achieving milestones that had once seemed untenable.  Over the course of my 20-year career, I have successfully helped individuals with

  • chronic pain of all types
  • back problems, arthritis, osteoporosis, myofascial pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia
  • orthopaedic conditions including joint replacement surgery
  • high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
  • cardiovascular risk factors and disease
  • frail elderly and mobility challenges
  • weight management
  • general post-surgical
  • cancer treatment including post-surgical
  • stroke, post-concussion syndrome, and brain injury
  • physical disability and visual impairment
  • autoimmune diseases, and HIV
  • COVID-19 long hauler illness
  • mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • non-acute sports injuries

I am an Ontario Registered Social Worker (MSW, RSW), an ACE-Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, an AAHFRP-Certified Post Rehabilitation Conditioning Specialist, and an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer. How did I end up combining clinical social work with the power of physical activity? When I was in graduate school pursuing my Master of Social Work degree, I had an epiphany that I should combine counseling with the healing, restorative power of physical activity.  I knew that physical activity had the capacity to be transformative, as I had experienced this first hand - but at the time, it was a new idea.  Today, it is well-established that physical health and mental health are inextricably linked.

How did I end up specializing in working with people with medical conditions?  Something life-changing happened to me 19 years ago, that determined the trajectory my professional life would take: While biking home one evening in downtown Toronto, I was hit by a taxi. I flipped over my handlebars and landed on my head – so hard that my helmet cracked in two. I remember flying through the air as if in slow motion, and then the noise of my helmet hitting the pavement.  I learned a few hours later, on a hospital gurney, that I had broken a vertebrate in my neck. Miraculously, there was no nerve damage as the fracture was “distal” – away from – the spinal column. That being said, it was a Grade Four whiplash injury with extensive soft tissue damage.

Recovering from this injury sparked the fundamental question of how one can exercise with a medical condition that ostensibly would exclude physical activity. I became fascinated, and slightly obsessed, by this. Soon I was specializing in working with clients who had medical problems and chronic health conditions, and within several years had added two advanced level qualifications. Even though my bike accident was 26 years ago, at times I still live with considerable pain. This has deepened my understanding of the experiences of individuals who also suffer from chronic pain.

Breaking my neck did not diminish my goal-oriented nature, however. While out for a brief, very slow walk shortly after my accident, many years ago, I made a firm decision: that I was going to become a long distance runner. I had been very active, but could never run very far. Somehow, I managed to climb out of an abyss of chronic pain, and do exactly that. While I do not run anymore, I hold close to my heart that I was able to make that dream come true - to overcome significant obstacles to become something I had always dreamed of.  Most of my clients do not run - but the notion that obstacles can be overcome informs all the work that I do.

Have a great workout!