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THE GRAY INSTITUTE Helping G3 Physical Therapy Gather, Give, and Grow From Day One
As part of keeping our clinical knowledge current, every year, Sandra and I take continuing education courses, often from our mentor, Gary Gray at the Gray Institute. These continuing education courses have been more than a requirement for us, though. Over the years, the courses we’ve taken through the Gray Institute have shaped G3 Physical Therapy into the clinic it is today. Sandra and I were first introduced to Gary at a physical therapy seminar, shortly after completing our doctorate degrees at the University of Southern California. His approach to treating injuries and healing the body, Applied Functional Science (AFS), and the methodology that goes with it spoke to us so profoundly that we have taken every class he has offered. Outside of the virtual classroom, our shared values have also led to a strong friendship with Gary — he even acted as the officiant at our wedding! Unlike traditional physical therapy, Gary’s AFS methods take a more global approach to the body. Where traditional therapy focuses exclusively on your injured body part — say, your lower back — AFS strategies and techniques address the underlying causes of the injury, in addition to the actual injury. It also strengthens your body overall to prevent future injury. For instance, if your lower back is injured, we work on your hips and your ankles to strengthen your whole body, instead of focusing solely on your lower back. Sometimes, we’ll have patients say, “But I came in for my lower back; why are you focusing on my hips and ankles?” That’s where we focus on patient education. In this case, your ankle bones are connected to your shin bones, which are connected to the thigh, which are connected to the hip and lower back. Everything in the body is connected, with one area affecting another. At the clinic, we don’t want to put a Band-Aid on your injured body part and send you home. We want to mobilize and strengthen your whole body and core, so you are supported and can stay injury-free for years to come. The focus on patient success, rather than patient weaknesses, has been one of the biggest takeaways for Sandra and I. Normally, physical therapists look for a weakness or biomechanical failure when treating patients. In a traditional physical therapist’s office, you’d come in unable
to raise your right arm over your head, and they’d focus solely on that. At G3, we focus on what you can successfully do. If you can’t reach your right arm over your head, but you can reach across your body, we’ll have you reach across your body in various ways, while making small tweaks to your exercises along the way, until you can ultimately reach overhead. Because strengthening one plane of motion will always carry over to another plane of motion, focusing on moving your right arm across your body will lead to improvement in your original struggle: raising your right arm over your head. The second aspect of the Gray Institute is focused on serving you, rather than simply treating you. Instead of seeing you as another patient to take through the physical therapy process, we strive to serve your body, mind, and spirit, which is what our three G’s — Gather, Give, and Grow — are all about. These three G’s guide and shape the environment of our entire clinic, from our physical therapy practices to how we treat you, our staff, and ourselves. Sandra and I owe much of G3’s guiding principles to our friend and long-time instructor, Gary Gray. From inventing the treatment tools that we use at G3 to the quality physical therapy courses that we take from him every year, we can’t thank Gary enough for his friendship and his profound influence on our clinic.
– Mike Va n Gilder
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