Focus PT - February 2019

Focus Physical Therapy Monthly 949.709.8770

February 2019

Our Kids’ First Days


Laura’s birth plan and argue that she should endure indescribable pain to go au naturale — even if I wanted to have that conversation, you can probably guess how it would go. So when Kaden first came into this world, Laura was blessedly free of any agony.

I’ll never forget the days my son Kaden and daughter Macy were born. They’re growing up fast lately. He’s almost 15, and she’s about to turn 13 in March. Though luckily they’re a good bit less ornery than your average teens, they’d still probably squirm if they knew I was talking about them in the newsletter. But as their birthdays are coming up quickly in March and May, I’ve had their origins firmly in mind. Hopefully they’ll forgive me for a little sappy dad-talk this month. As any parent will tell you, there is no moment quite like the birth of your first child. While Laura was pregnant with Kaden, we wanted to be surprised. So we went through every step, from preparing the nursery and taking prenatal classes to the delivery, without knowing whether he’d be a boy or a girl. Laura will tell you that she knew the whole time, via some combination of intuition and something called the “ring test”, but I don’t quite buy it. Laura was more concerned with how the process of the birth itself would go than the gender of her incoming infant. I remember sitting in one of those prenatal classes where they talk you through all the breathing techniques and natural ways to inhibit pain. When it came time for questions, Laura’s hand shot up. “How soon can you get the epidural?” she asked without batting an eye. The instructor kind of gave her a funny look and ducked the question a little bit, saying they recommended you use deep breathing and other natural strategies. “Oh, sure, I understand,” Laura said, being as kind as possible. “But how soon can you get the epidural?”

It was a little different when Macy made her entrance. We checked into the hospital, and the doctor came by. The nurses murmured something about how it was going to be a little while, but before they shuffled out of the room, Laura said, “Uh, actually, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have this baby very soon.” She was right. The labor sped along much more quickly than projected, and Laura began to beg for the epidural. They continued to say, “You’re not next on the list.” Meanwhile, the only anesthesiologist in the hospital was somehow occupied. So Macy was delivered by the nurses — with no epidural. Luckily, everything went as smoothly as possible otherwise. Though if you ask Laura, I’m not sure she’d put it in exactly those words. While the birth may have been a little different, the reactions of Laura and I were the same both times. Cradling a newborn in your arms, this tiny person who depends on you heart and soul for everything in the world, gives you a feeling that’s difficult to put into words. Today, sometimes it feels like we, especially Laura, play the role of chauffeur more than parent. But honestly, it’s incredibly gratifying to watch as the kids grow up and slowly become their own, vibrant individuals with their own interests, passions, and ideas. It’s impossible to think back on their first days on earth and not get wistful, but I’m proud of who they’ve become and continue to become. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Focus Physical Therapy patients ENTER TO WIN Find the misspelled word in this newsletter and call 949.709.8770 for your chance to win a $10 CALL 949.709.8770 Contest for past and present Focus Physical Therapy patients only. gift card.

I’m pretty anti- painkiller when it comes to musculoskeletal

issues, but when it comes to childbirth,

that’s an entirely different story. I certainly wasn’t about to contest

–Julian Manrique

Focus Physical Therapy • Call 949.709.8770 • 1

A Walk in the Woods Is the Prescription

3 Ways Contact With Nature Improves Your Health

SUCCESS STORIES A Mood Boost Observing the benefits nature has for cognitive function, scientists wondered what effects it might have on individuals diagnosed with depression. In one study from the University of Essex, participants “Since my first day arriving to Focus, I was not sure what to expect. I was having a hard time sitting and standing and sometimes falling to my knees when leaning over. This was all due to lower back issues. My thoughts were, “Come on I’m 40 years old is this what I have to look forward to?” Well, hope was not lost. I learned a new routine with stretches and built up my strength, thanks to the awesome team of Julian, Shannon, and my one appointment with Ming. Now I can sit up without fear of falling back to my chair. I am now able to hold and carry my 9-month-old son without my back giving out and also have longer playtime without getting sore and tired. My routine has included getting back into running, and I have signed up for a 5K race in March. So if anyone was like me and didn’t know what to expect, I can say now it’s the first step to getting your life back on track. Thank you Julian.” Our ancestors were deeply connected to their natural environment, mostly because their survival depended on it. With no Whole Foods available, those who could best track a mammoth, find water, and forage for edible plants kept themselves alive and passed on their genes. Given our history as hunter-gatherers, it’s no wonder contact with nature provides us with several health benefits. A Memory Boost In a University of Michigan study, a group of students were asked to take a memory test that involved repeating numbers back to researchers. Next, researchers separated the students into two groups. Group A took a walk around an arboretum and Group B walked along busy city streets. Afterward, they were asked to take the memory test again. Group A, the students who had walked in the arboretum, performed 20 percent better on the memory test. Group B didn’t show any marked improvement. Additional research has corroborated the memory-enhancing effects of nature.

with major depressive disorder reported an improvement in self- esteem and mood after spending time in nature. Exercising while in nature resulted in even more of a mood boost for participants. A Calming Effect Research also shows that spending time in nature reduces stress. In a study conducted by Chiba University in Japan, participants spent two nights in the forest. Researchers evaluated their levels of stress hormones during and after this period and compared it to their normal work days in the city. Across the board, participants’ stress levels were much lower during the days spent in the forest and for several days afterward. Today, we’re less connected to our natural environment than our ancestors were. Modern comforts and technology mean we don’t have to go outside to get our food. But nature is still accessible and you don’t have to go far to find it. In many of the studies, even minor exposure to the outdoors, like adding plants to your home or looking out a window during work, showed health benefits. This winter, find ways to bring a little more nature into your life each day. Your brain will thank you.

— Joshua Wymer


• Focus Physical Therapy •

Meet Odete Dupras

PT Aide and Resident Soccer Expert

Eventually, Odete decided to start a family and devote herself to raising her kids as a full-time stay-at-home mom. But as her children grew up, she began to

Growing up in Portugal, Odete Dupras was passionate about sports from an early age. “I’m a total soccer fanatic,” she says. But her interests don’t stop there — far from it, in fact. “I played everything — soccer, of course, but also basketball, volleyball, and even individual sports like gymnastics,” she says. Odete has always been on board for anything that would make her move. So when she came to Boston to attend college, it only made sense to apply that passion to her future career. Odete majored in human performance and fitness and athletic training, eager to help others reach their potential in movement, exercise, and sports. Soon after graduating, Odete became involved with athletic training, where she gained a ton of experience guiding her clients through the strengthening routines that would keep them fit and happy for the long term. But though she enjoyed helping people meet their fitness and weight goals, Odete was always especially engaged with the clinical aspect of her field. Helping people prevent injuries was at the forefront of her mind, and she enjoyed watching her clients achieve feats with their bodies they never thought possible.

feel the itch to help people once again. Not long after moving out here to California, Odete got in touch with the Focus Physical Therapy team for an interview and felt an instant connection. As of today, she’s been a PT aide at the clinic for close to two years, helping steer our patients toward the best possible outcomes. Outside of the clinic, Odete is still passionate about sports and watches almost every soccer event that can fit into her schedule — though it’s a busy one. With a 17-year-old daughter to drive around, a slew of volunteer activities at her school, and a ton of time spent reading, kayaking, and exploring the outdoors, she rarely has a free moment. Meanwhile, we’re just glad that Odete has stuck with us at Focus Physical Therapy. She’s an experienced, talented, and empathetic PT aide with a ton to offer to her patients and team alike. If you see her at the clinic, make sure to say hi!

• 1 8-ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillet • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest • 1/4 cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced • 1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced • 1 1/2 teaspoons shallots, minced • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated This delicious tartare is the perfect healthy alternative to gut-busting game-day dips. Serve alongside your favorite chips or crackers for an appetizer that’s sure to impress. SPICY SALMON TARTARE Ingredients


• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced • 1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed or vegetable oil • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste • Crackers or chips, for serving


1. Place salmon in freezer for 20 minutes to make slicing easier. 2. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients for mixing. 3. Thinly slice salmon into sheets and cut sheets into strips and strips into cubes. When finished, you should have 1/8-inch cubes. 4. In a mixing bowl, combine salmon with all other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Garnish with chips or crackers and serve.

Focus Physical Therapy • Call 949.709.8770 • 3

30212 Tomas #120 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688, USA





Julian Manrique on the Births of His Kids 3 Ways Nature Improves Your Health Success Stories Meet PT Aide Odete Dupras Spicy Salmon Tartare



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midnight sun. Because of its far-north location, Swedish Lapland receives close to 24 hours of sunlight from June through early August. Between the boulder fields, mountains, and stunning glacial lakes, hiking here is a treat.

If you’re eager for a new adventure in 2019, you’ll surely find it in Swedish Lapland. With trail systems that take you into the Arctic Circle, the northernmost region of Sweden is home to national parks, glaciers, reindeer, the beguiling midnight sun, and spectacular night skies. Though winters are cold, one benefit of traveling to the region in this season is to catch a glimpse of the night sky. The northern lights are visible from a few remote locations like Abisko National Park, one of the first established national parks in Sweden. Traveling to Abisko is an adventure in and of itself. From Stockholm, the fastest option is to take one of only two airlines that fly into Kiruna, then travel by train to Abisko. Despite the challenge of getting there, adventure-seeking visitors from around the world arrive each winter to experience the Arctic beauty. Winter attractions include ice skating, snowshoeing, and the Scandinavian sauna (this last one is a must any time of the year). Befriend a Scandinavian and you might be treated to some pickled herring or even a princess cake, a raspberry-filled dessert covered in marzipan. Scandinavians cherish their public lands, and the trail systems are well taken care of. Hikers and backpackers can enjoy the stunning beauty in both late spring and summer, as well as a chance to see the

While hiking, you may spot reindeer herds or lemmings (a small rodent similar to a hamster) racing around rocks. The Sami people have herded reindeer for thousands of years through this very land. In the summer, keep an eye out for blueberries, lingonberries, and the brightly colored cloudberries. Because of the Arctic climate, weather conditions can change quickly from sunshine to rain and heavy fog, so it’s best to dress in layers and bring wind and rain protection if you plan to venture into the backcountry.

The fantastic scenery of Swedish Lapland awaits you, no matter when you decide to take your trip. What are you waiting for?


• Focus Physical Therapy •

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