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Alleviating Pain When Little Else Helps - Heather Allen, MS, PT, CMTPT - Myofascial Release Specialist, Southern Maryland
Physical therapists play a vital role in the rehabilitation, restoration, and management of optimal physical function after an injury or disease, as well as promotion of a patient’s overall well-being. They are an integral part of the healthcare team. For Heather Allen, owner of Southern Maryland Myofascial Release, going beyond the fundamentals has become her passion. Her goal is to provide her patients with relief they often cannot find elsewhere, and to improve their function and quality of life.
A licensed Physical Therapist graduating with her Master’s in 2000, Heather has vast experience in her field, from working in hospitals, home health care, skilled nursing facilities, aquatic therapy, and outpatient orthopedics. She describes her experience as a rewarding adventure which has led to a passion for myofascial release therapy, which she was first introduced to by a colleague in 2007.
According to the Myofascial Release Treatment Centers And Seminars’ website (https://www.myofascialrelease.com/), the approach is a ‘’safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion.’’ It is known for its several benefits including pain reduction and improved movement, flexibility, and muscle function. The Myofascial Release Approach® was developed by John F. Barnes PT, one of the most prominent people in the therapeutic field. Heather Allen has received advanced training in the Myofascial Release Approach, and it’s now one of the primary approaches she uses with her patients.
‘’While I was employed at another facility, I observed one of the other therapists incorporating a lot of myofascial work with her patients. After my colleague gave a talk on myofascial release, it transformed my life both personally and professionally and I immediately started taking as many classes as I could. I'm now an expert level myofascial release therapist with John F. Barnes’ training,’’ Heather relates.
Realizing how crucial and beneficial the approach is to her patients, Heather opened her private practice in 2011 so that she could maximize the benefit that Myofascial Release Therapy provides. ‘’I wanted to give my patients a lot more hands-on time, which is what the therapy is all about. I can pay more attention to them and give them the treatment that they really need,” she added. Even though Myofascial Release is the treatment she primarily utilizes in her private practice, she also incorporates the other skills and knowledge she has gained over the years, including her training in craniosacral therapy, trigger point dry-needling, and visceral manipulation.
In some of her traditional PT environments, she shares that often she had only about fifteen minutes to put her hands on her patient, but the fascial work itself actually takes a little bit more time. ‘’My first session with my clients is about two hours long. That gives me plenty of time for evaluation and usually about 45-50 minutes of treatment on the first day. I do initiate a home exercise program, so they can learn how to start caring for their own fascia in their own body,’’ she explains. Aside from treating her patients, she ensures that they are well-educated on self care, so that they feel empowered and able to take care of themselves and manage their own symptoms, without depending on someone else entirely for the healing process.
Her daily routine can be a maximum of seven patients a day, with most of her patients being individuals with longstanding chronic pain. She works with patients of any age, ranging from individuals in their 80’s to patients as young as 18 months.
When asked to describe a memorable patient who has had an inspiring success story, she shares, ‘’I do have one gentleman that was just so great to work with. He came to me with lifelong issues from polio as well as battles with two cancers. He’d had multiple surgeries and he could barely function… but with the therapy that we did together, his posture improved, he was able to walk and was down to just ambulating on a cane. He was also able to reduce his pain medication significantly.’’ Although every patient’s results can vary, every patient gives her a significant sense of fulfillment to be able to help them have an improved quality of life.
Her office is currently located at 90 Holiday Drive, Suite C Solomons MD but in March 2020, her new address will be 40266 Laurel Circle, Mechanicsville, MD 20659. She will be closer to home where she can treat her patients and spend more time with her children.
Heather also gets involved in the community by participating in events locally with their Chamber of Commerce and conducting classes at area health care facilities. She is committed to educating the public whenever she can, in addition to providing quality care to her patients.
To learn more about Heather Allen, make an appointment, or to find out how she can help you with your chronic pain, call 410-449-6682, visit her at https://journeyingintohealing.com, https://www.facebook.com/SoMDMyofascialRelease.HeatherAllen.MS.PT/, https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-allen-54679576
If you have experienced one of her therapy sessions or wanted to let your friends know, please feel free to share or comment below.
2/12/2020 03:57:24 am
Nice article Heather. I have had this treatment in Rochester. Your mom recommended it to me this past summer. Loved it. I have stenosis, arthritis & just last month diagnosed with cancer. Such a shock! I had to cancel my recent appointment because of all other appointments. Hope to get back soon.
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