Archive for News

Maintaining Healthy Habits

Sitting is the root of all kinds of body issues. In The Sitting Disease, by Heidi Roberts, PT, DPT and Katie Roberts, the issue is put this way:
“Extensive research shows that Sitting Disease—or the state of physical, mental, or emotional pain that results from being sedentary—is greatly to blame. You’re probably familiar with a number of the symptoms—everything from neck and back pain to depression, obesity, heart disease, and even cancer…In fact, it has become a veritable epidemic in modern-day society.”
We all sit, and many of us for the majority of each day. Between work and time spent relaxing at home, there is ample time for us to feel the repercussions of all that sitting. But if we take care of our bodies, then we have the opportunity to eliminate pain symptoms and prevent them from recurring.
Here are some healthy stretches recommended by the author:
10-Minute Body Maintenance Stretching

And if you are interested in reading more about habits like these, you can find the book here:
The Sitting Disease on Amazon

Endometriosis: Severe Menstrual Pain is Not Normal

What is endometriosis? How is it treated? Stephanie Prendergast, MPT, epands on these questions and explains which treatment options work and which might not. Check it out!
Treatment Solutions for Endometriosis

Welcome to Megan Thomas, PTA!

Megan joined Healthy Focus in January 2016 and we are excited to have her skills and positive attitude in the clinic. Megan recently relocated to Bellingham and brings with her over 15 years of experience as a PTA. You can read more about her perspective as a PTA in her article from PT in Motion, and learn about her journey to Healthy Focus in the About Us section of our website.

Physical Therapy for Disabilities

People with a disability are less likely to be employed or playing an active part in society. This waste of potential has more than a personal cost. Lack of participation by people with disabilities costs some economies 7% of their gross domestic product.

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy says it does not need to be like that. “Physical therapists have a key role in supporting people with illness and disability to participate fully in society,” says Marilyn Moffat, the WCPT president. “They specialize in human movement, identifying factors that prevent people from being as active and independent as they can be, and then find ways of overcoming them through rehabilitation, science-based exercise prescription, and promotion of physical activity.”

The World Health Organization and the World Bank have said in a joint report: “Rehabilitation is a good investment because it builds human capacity.” Physical therapists can help people fulfill their potential and participate fully in society – whatever their disability or state of health.

Two of Only 154 in U.S.

Julie DePaul PT, BCB-PMD, WCS and Wren Cunningham PT, DPT, WCS, MS are now board-certified clinical specialists in women’s health physical therapy. Only 154 physical therapists across the US were board certified in the women’s health specialty in 2012. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a national professional organization representing more than 80,000 members throughout the United States, established the specialist certification program in 1978. The specialization process and certification is administered by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists.

Board certification designates an advanced level of ability that is awarded only after years of experience and continuing education. The process includes a written case presentation and 7 hour exam after 2000 hours of clinical practice in women’s health physical therapy. With this specialist certification you can be confident that your therapists have advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in the area of women’s health. The quality of care and therapy outcomes are enhanced by specialized training so that patients and referring providers notice the difference.

Both Julie and Wren pursued specialization as a personal challenge to demonstrate expertise and feel they have achieved a significant professional career goal. Specialization provides the opportunity to serve as mentors to other therapists and offer leadership in the area of women’s health physical therapy.

How strong are your bones?

Osteoporosis is a common bone disease that affects both men and women (mostly women), usually as they age. When your bone mass is low, bones become fragile and are more likely to break. Some people are more at risk for osteoporosis than others.   You can calculate your 10-year risk of having a major osteoporotic fracture here .

Not all risk factors can be changed, but healthy habits and a proper exercise routine designed by your physical therapist can keep bones healthy and reduce risk.

Physical therapists can play an important role in helping you ensure optimal bone health.

Not only is it important to eat a balanced diet with plenty of calcium and supplement important minerals and vitamins as needed, it is also important to live an active lifestyle.  Exercises that strengthen your muscles also strengthen your bones.

Click here to read more about how Physical Therapy can help to decrease your fracture risk and promote healthy aging.


*If you have osteoporosis, are at high risk for a fall or fracture, or have a medical condition, affecting your ability to exercise, do not begin an exercise program without first consulting your physician and a physical therapist.

You don’t have to birth children to have incontinence!

Sept 11, 2011

This study concludes that up to 1 out of every 8 healthy women who have not carried or birthed children have urinary incontinence. 1000 healthy, young women (age 16-30) in Melbourne, Australia were surveyed regarding continence status. The results not only concluded that as many as 12.6% of the 1000 women experienced urinary incontinence (UI), it also suggests that UI significantly affects quality of life for these women. This comes from an article shared on the MONASH University website, discussing the incidence of urinary leakage in young women.

Most studies correlate UI with childbirth history, therefore this study is unique in its look at such a large population of young women who do have pregnancy and childbirth as a risk factor. Researchers found that 6.2% of the women reported stress urinary incontinence, 4.5% reported urge incontinence, and 1.9% of the women reported experiencing both stress and urge leakage. Women were more likely to experience UI if they reported bedwetting history beyond the age of 5.

This research is being presented this weekend at the 15th Australasian Menopause Society Congress. This study brings to light the importance of sharing these statistics with younger populations of people and with the healthcare providers who reach these young women.

It may also be helpful to reach out to your local coaches, coaching educators, associations, or high school and college athletic trainers, college athletic directors, school nurses, high school health education teachers, or to life fitness programs at colleges. What better place to start than with the people who are working with our younger women? Through creative education strategies on our part we can continue to increase the public’s awareness so that fewer people have to suffer these issues in silence.

Our current research comes from Herman and Wallace. Check out their website for more information and listing of professional education classes.

New Breast Cancer Recovery and Fitness Program

Having breast cancer can be an overwhelming emotional and physical experience. Healthy Focus Physical Therapy offers skills and knowledge to help you get back to what you were doing before surgery. Women often accept pain and limited mobility that linger after surgery and radiation, but even years later, physical therapy can make a change in reducing these symptoms.

Physical Therapist Returns from Haiti

The Bellingham Herald
Sunday May 30, 2010
Out And About by Julie Shirley

Bellingham physical therapist Julie DePaul tells me she provided care to victims of the Haitian earthquake as part of an emergency medical team sent by Children of the Nations. She worked at the field hospital in Fond Parisian, outside of Port au Prince, operated by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative out of Boston. She also helped start a physical therapy clinic at the American refugee camp.

Julie says rehabilitation medical care is the priority, now that the emergency is over. HHI closed its field hospital and trauma center, discharging the last of 2,000 patients on May 5. The new physical therapy clinic at the American refugee camp is a large, open-air tent with a smaller supply tent alongside. Each day, treatment tables and supplies are moved in and out for therapy.

Volunteer teams of therapists from the U.S., sent by the nonprofit organization Hands of Light in Action, will provide care into August. Physical therapy included exercise, gait training, nerve mobilization and back care using minimal equipment, translated teaching, and hands-on skills. Many patients had broken bones, amputations, injuries caused by falling objects, or nerve injuries from being pulled out of the rubble by an arm. Julie specializes in orthopedics and women’s health physical therapy at her clinic, Healthy Focus PT, 1400 King St., Suite 102.

She says her favorite memory from Haiti was singing a hymn in English, along with Haitians singing it in Creole, while providing physical therapy.