Physical Therapy Doctor - April 2020


Hours of Operation: M, F 8 a.m.–4 p.m. T, Th, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. W 9 a.m.–3 p.m.

April 2020



This may surprise you, but I didn’t always want to be “The Physical Therapy Doctor.” Well before I knew about the medical discipline, when I was just a kid, I had my heart set on a very different goal: playing for the New York Yankees. If you’re a Mets fan, please at least recycle this newsletter after you tear it up ... Baseball was the first sport I fell in love with as a kid. How could you not in this city with two storied teams to choose from? Of course, like many of us, my allegiance to the Yankees was inherited more than anything else. My father had been a fan since he was a kid despite growing up in Brooklyn back when the Dodgers still called Flatbush home. A huge Mickey Mantle fan, my dad went against the grain, cheering on the Yankees and The Mick despite pressure from his neighbors. But while my father may have introduced me to the Yankees, I had no trouble falling in love with the team all on my own. Considering the roster of heavy hitters they had when I was growing up, from Reggie Jackson to Billy Martin, the 1970s were just a good year to be a fan. But my all-time favorite was Willie Randolph. Seeing someone who had grown up playing

I could have used about 70 more pounds of muscle just to be in the same league as the players they look at.

But were all those days spent at Juniper a waste? I don’t think so. Baseball taught me life skills I still use and treasure today. Everything from being a team player to the personal responsibility that comes with keeping a well-oiled mitt has come in handy over the course of my life. Some of these skills have even come in handy in physical therapy. In both baseball and PT, patience is key. You don’t win a game in a single inning, and you don’t heal people overnight. Slow and steady wins the race. An eye for detail is also key in both professions, from understanding subtle communications between players to noticing the difference between sciatica and other forms of back pain. I love the work I do now, and I love how baseball brought me here.

“When I couldn’t get in on a league game, I was playing stickball sewer-to-sewer with my friends.”

stickball in Brooklyn don the pinstripes and win back-to-back world titles was nothing short of inspiring. I thought, if Willie could do it, why not me?

I played baseball feverishly back in those days. Living half a block away from Juniper Park, I signed myself up to every league that would have me — often hopping game to game and only pausing to switch shirts to match my teammates. When I couldn’t get in on a league game, I was playing stickball sewer-to-sewer with my friends. Those are some good memories. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I was a real contender in those days. I learned to throw a curveball at a young age and relished playing shortstop and third base — I wanted to be where the ball was hit the hardest. But despite my arm and my reflexes, I wasn’t Yankees material.

Go Yanks,

–Dr. Robert Morea

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We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it turns out that human physiology supports this claim. When we laugh, our body releases a flood of feel-good chemicals and neurotransmitters. Our blood flow increases, and our production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, decreases. Oh, and laughing also burns calories! The feel-good, endorphin-inducing benefits of laughter are exactly what prompted Dr. Madan Kataria to develop laughter yoga in 1995. Laughter yoga incorporates breathing, stretching, clapping, and of course, laughing.

The laughter meetup had everyone in high spirits — until the group ran out of jokes. Unsure of what to do next, Kataria found another medical book suggesting the group didn’t need jokes to laugh. Fake laughter is just as beneficial as the real thing because the body can’t tell the difference between the two. Collaborating with this wife, Madhuri, Kataria combined common yoga warmups and breathing techniques with facilitated laughter to create the form of laughter yoga that is practiced worldwide today. If you’re interested in trying laughter yoga for yourself, then you’re in luck. Laughter yoga clubs exist across the United States and the world. Videos on YouTube can teach the basics, but laughter yoga tends to be most beneficial in a group setting. Just think about the last time you found yourself in a fit of giggles with a group of friends or during a comedy show. Didn’t it feel great? Rather than wait for a silly situation to trigger laughter, use laughter yoga to promote laughter and alleviate stress on any day at any time.

Kataria developed the initial idea after coming across research into the benefits of laughter on overall health and well-being. He began to put the research into practice by telling jokes to his patients, and after seeing the positive effects, he took his material to a local park. Parkgoers, who were initially skeptical, joined in on the practice, and the first laughter yoga club was born.


For over three years, Melwin “Mel” Fernandez has called our clinic home. Beloved by patients and staff members alike, he embodies what it means to be part of this team. So, we sat down with Mel to learn what led him to build a career helping people heal. “My mother was a nurse,” he reflects, adding, “Many members of my family are in the medical field, so I always knew I wanted to help people.” Having such inspiring loved ones certainly gave Mel a passion for healing others, but it was his own life experience that led him to physical therapy. “When I was young, I spent

helping people overcome such challenging injuries is part of why he loves what he does. “It makes it more rewarding,” he tells us.

If Mel has one fault, it may be that he’s too caring. We’ve asked him what he’s learned in his past six years of being a physical therapist, and his answer was very telling. “I can get so caught up helping others … I’ve had to remember to take care of myself, too!” And so, Mel’s been keeping his own body and health in motion, playing plenty of volleyball while he’s not at the office. Originally from the Middle East, and having visited Kenya, Vietnam, and Cambodia, he dreams of being able to travel again when he can find the time. “I recently talked to a patient who vacationed in Antarctica,” he tells us, “That’s the fun part of this job, you get to talk to people and learn their stories!”

Thanks for sharing your own story, Mel!

a lot of time at the gym,” he tells us, noting that he was excited to find a field that let him combine his love of health care with his passion for fitness.

Becoming a therapist would broaden Mel’s horizons in ways he didn’t expect. “While going to PT school, I started to work with individuals who’d been in car wrecks,” he remembers. “I realized how much good a physical therapist can do beyond the world of sports.” Mel goes on to explain that

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Who is richer? The richest among the poor or the poorest among the rich? Why are 1988 pennies worth more than 1983 pennies?

We’re taking another step back in time this month, all the way to the years 1977 and ‘78 — when the Yankees won back-to-back World Series Championships. This was a time of transition and upheaval, both in New York and around the world. But while everything certainly wasn’t bright and cheery 43 years ago, there were moments of unity and discovery. Indeed, the 1977 Yankees victory over the LA Dodgers in Game 6 of the World Series has been famously credited as a pivotal moment for our city. Occurring in the same year as the infamous blackout that spanned five burrows, the several building fires that devastated the Bronx, and during a decade when our crime rate was astronomical, New York really needed a win. And the Bronx Bombers delivered, with Reggie Jackson hitting three consecutive home runs on just three pitches. The city came together and would rally for another championship victory the following year. In the musical world, plenty of changes were happening. Elvis Presley played his last concert, Fleetwood Mac released their award-winning album “Rumors,” and disco and punk rose to dominate the youth music scene. The rise of portable cassette players amplified the popularity of these genres, though Sony’s Walkman with its innovative headphone jack was still a few years away from reaching U.S. shores. 1977 also saw the release of “Star Wars,” igniting a worldwide love of the galaxy far, far away and sparking a new era of science fiction. In the world of science fact, the Commodore PET, the first personal computer, was released. And among all this, a little company named Apple would be incorporated the same year. Striped sweaters, straight-legged jeans, and bright colors may have been in fashion in the late ‘70s, but the release of “Grease” in 1978 definitely highlighted a nostalgia for the greaser styles of an earlier generation. Fittingly enough, the styles, movies, and music of the 1970s would become iconic in their own right, harkened back to by future generations who grew up with the legacy of this defining decade. The Transformative Late ‘70s FIRES, YANKEES, AND RUMORS

Solutions are available in the clinic, so make sure to drop by to check your answers!

Recipe of the Month:

Inspired by


While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.


• • • • • •

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste 12 large eggs, hard-boiled Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp dried parsley flakes

• •

1/2 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced

1/2 tsp ground mustard


1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.

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212-73 26th Ave. Bayside, NY 11360

Hours of Operation: M, F 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. | T, Th 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | W 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.


Robert’s Baseball Dreams

Laughter Yoga’s Rise as a Global Health Movement

Meet Melwin Fernandez!

Easy Deviled Eggs

Remembering 1977-78

Eco-Friendly Diets

Save the Planet With Your Plate The Top 3 Ways to Eat Eco-Friendly

Can your diet save the planet?

three-fourths of your meal should be vegetarian, but you don’t necessarily need to cut meat out altogether. For example, eating a Mediterranean diet can be very sustainable. Red meat is rare, and there’s a strong focus on legumes and vegetables. ADOPT MEATLESS MONDAYS OR MORNINGS If you’re not ready to commit to a plant-based diet, going vegetarian one day a week can be a great option. Adopting a plant-based diet one day a week or eliminating meat from one meal a day is a great way to reduce meat consumption. GO FLEXITARIAN If you want to eat more vegetarian meals but find animal products are too hard to give up, going flexitarian is a good compromise. A flexitarian eats mainly plant-based dishes but also includes a modest amount of poultry, fish, milk, and eggs with a limited amount of red meat. If you’re able to dedicate even just one week to trying a plant-based diet, it can help you get a feel for if you’re capable of making the switch. You may even realize that it’s not hard to change your diet, and you might find it fun to try a whole different range of flavors through vegetarian food as you “reinvent” your favorite meaty dishes.

It can be difficult to see the connection between your plate and the planet, but scientists say that eating less red meat and processed foods can greatly reduce your environmental impact. About 25% of climate change today is fueled by agriculture and factory farming, particularly the large quantities of the greenhouse gas methane that cows produce. This means that the fewer animal products you consume, the more sustainable your diet will be. Producing and packaging beef is 100 times more emissions-intensive than producing legumes. While a lack of protein is a common concern about plant-based diets, many dietary experts say that plant-based diets can meet nutritional needs. Also, proteins aren’t the only nutrient your body needs, and dozens of vegetables and starches can offer a combination of proteins that are as complete and healthy as beef or chicken. With April being “Keep America Beautiful” month, here are some eco- friendly diet adjustments anyone can make to help preserve the planet. EAT PLANT-BASED DIETS The main goal of a plant-based diet is to replace animal products as the centerpiece of the meal. At least

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