Michele Rozansky, PT
I have always gravitated to working with people living with long-term challenges. My first patients were children having neurological pathophysiology, who had suffered a brain injury either in the womb or at birth. In the 1980s, I studied Neurodevelopmental Treatment (NDT), then the cutting edge in physical therapy.
NDT is a unique philosophy: All parts of the body and mind are connected, a new concept at the time for physical therapists. We had in-depth training of the human movement system to understand postural control from head to toe. We deepened our palpation skills practicing therapeutic handling to offer easier ways to move. Our children learned to navigate their bodies with more ease as they moved differently, integrating new sensations into their bodies. Therapy depended on the child’s ability to notice a new felt sense and then to use it. Another valuable gift of NDT was that I learned to evaluate a child in a comprehensive manner; I learned to ask gentle, intuitive questions that helped me understand the physical, emotional, and mental issues the child carried.
In the 1990s, I broadened my skills once more when I studied another cutting- edge approach: Myofascial Release (MFR), to address spasticity in children. I soon began treating adults with chronic pain, another population living with severe stressors, sometimes for years. MFR gave me another tactile way to apply the principles of NDT.
While working with these adults, I had two insights: 1. I could use every aspect of my pediatric training with injured adults because their bodies demonstrated the same atypical behaviors as the children had with neurological impairments; 2. MFR not only relaxed severe pain/stress in the body, it was also the tool I used to guide my patients to feel and to shift the pain/stress sensations in their bodies.
Working with people living with chronic pain is difficult, challenging, heartbreaking, and it is a privilege — inspiring, meaningful, and fun! My practice grounds me and keeps me accountable. My patients teach me something new every day and it is hard work.
Over the past several years, I have seen many smiles of relief and joy, patients whose chronic pain has diminished or resolved. After decades of learning how to treat chronic pain one body part at a time, and one treatment method at a time, I set a new goal for myself: I wanted to teach others, to present this information to therapists in an integrated way, so they could reach a deeper, more effective, and more lasting way to serve their patients.
To accomplish this goal, I have designed a unique, total body treatment approach, a consolidation of my life’s work, taking the best aspects of each method. The program combines advanced techniques of evaluation inquiry, MFR, Mindfulness, and more. With practice, therapists can integrate these techniques into their unique skill set. This approach works because each holistic technique is a piece of the puzzle, we must address to help this complex population.
Today my purpose and my passion is to share these skills with you so that every day of your career, you will know you have given your patients a comprehensive, holistic, caring path to their better life. Together we will touch so many more patients in need. Together we can change the world . . . for many people who live with pain. I hope to see you in class.