Shannon Shearn, personal trainer and Kathy Buck Thomson, instructor teach a PWR!Moves™ Circuit Class at RIBS in Menlo Park.

August 30, 2014 | by Darcy Blake | When you’re diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, it isn’t long before you start assembling a team that will keep you living well for as long as possible. Just as a novice chef tackles a complicated recipe, you may find yourself gathering ingredients you’ve never used before, such as a neurologist, a movement disorder specialist, possibly a neurosurgeon, a speech therapist, an internist, physiatrist, a physical therapist, a personal trainer or a fitness professional.

An important part of the recipe for Parkinson’s disease treatment is exercise, because it optimizes your ability to function. “Use it or lose it, use it and improve it,” is a favorite saying from Dr. Claire McLean, PWR!Expert and Neurologic Clinical Specialist of Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.

To become a physical therapist you have to go to graduate school. Now most all programs are doctoral programs that you must graduate from before obtaining a license to practice. “Physical therapists have PT after their name to denote a physical therapy license. If you are seeing a physical therapist, investigate how much experience they have working with people with PD, and ask if they have taken training courses such as PWR! or LSVT BIG,” explained Dr. McLean.

Katie Parafinczuk, PT, DPT, NCS said, ” PT degrees differ by the time spent in school. Previously physical therapists only needed a bachelors degree (4 years), then it developed into a masters (2 years additional/graduate level following a bachelors), and currently it’s a doctorate (3 years additional/graduate degree program) level.”

“The main difference between Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants is the amount of education and training,” said Robin Lim-Healy, PTA. Legally, Physical Therapist Assistants can not perform formal assessments, initial evaluations, changes of treatment plan and discharge plan,” explained Lim-Healy. “The physical therapist and the physical therapist assistant must work as a team with regular communication about the patient’s treatment, progress, and plan.” Lim-Healy’s Pilates certification program required over 600 hours of training that included seminars, assistant teaching, teaching as well as oral and practical examinations. She said, “Though I was so stressed at the time, I am so happy that I am trained for both PT and Pilates. My Pilates helps my Physical Therapy and my Physical Therapy helps my Pilates.”

In America, there really is no such thing as a license for personal training. To be a personal trainer you need a certification. “A certification is different than license,” writes Joe Cannon, a personal trainer, blogger, author and health educator, on http://www.joe-cannon.com/best-personal-training-license-personal-training-certificatio/ “The same thing is true about group fitness instructors, yoga instructors and Pilates instructors and anyone else who is in the fitness industry. A license means a government entity oversees the education of personal trainers. On the other hand when it comes to certifications, it’s a fitness organization that’s responsible for ensuring that personal trainers know what they are doing. In the US, there are many fitness organizations such as AAAI/ISMA, ACE, IFTA, NSCA, ISSA, WITS and many others.”

Certified personal trainers (CPT) usually have a 4-year degree in kinesiology (the study of human motion), exercise physiology, or exercise-related fields and a Personal Trainer Certification.

Shannon Shearn, personal trainer who teaches a PWR!MovesCircuit Class said, “In my experience, physical therapists are necessary for pinpointing the problem and working with clients on exercises for that specific injury, which is ideally followed by work with personal trainers who can focus on how the entire body works together through kinesiology. CPTs can create a variety of exercise options, so that the injury isn’t repeated.”

Many fitness centers require instructors to have a college education in exercise, nutrition or wellness, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. College majors may include exercise science, physical education or kinesiology. Fitness instructors should also have training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, either in college or through the Red Cross. Many fitness instructors pursue certification from various agencies, which may depend on the exercise programs they choose to teach.

Remember when you’re shopping for your exercise team, ask the people you are interviewing about their titles and experience with Parkinson’s disease. Consider how well you might work together with them. “Personality is huge,” emphasized Dr. McLean. “When all is said and done, you need to work well with the person you choose.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             EXAMPLE: PHYSICAL THERAPISTS
Dr. Claire McLean, DPT, NCS is a Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist. She graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Southern California and has specialty training through the University of Southern California/Rancho Los Amigos Neurologic Physical Therapy Residency program. At Hoag Hospital, an NPF Care Center, Dr. McLean works in the outpatient rehabilitation clinic primarily with clients with neurologic dysfunction with an emphasis on Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. Dr. McLean also is an Adjunct Faculty member instructing in USC’s entry-level doctorate program. She has instructed in continuing education courses on the topics of self-efficacy and executive function training for patients with neurologic dysfunction as well as for the LSVT® BIG program. Dr. McLean is now a PWR!Expert and continues to work closely with Dr. Farley, and PWR! on the PWR! Workshops and the PWR! Retreat.

John Berdoulay PT, received his B.S. in Biology from SUNY@Stonybrook. He received his Physical Therapy degree from Daemen College. He joined Kaiser Permanente Redwood City in 2002, after working many years in private practice. Although he spent the first half of his career specializing in orthopedics and spine care, he now focuses primarily on neurologic rehabilitation, such as those who have suffered strokes, head injuries or have other neurologic conditions. He is part of a Parkinson’s Disease team at Kaiser-Permanente Redwood City that is working hard to improve care both within the facility and in the outside community. He teaches PWR!MovesGroup classes at the Vets Senior Center in Redwood City and pole-walking classes for people with PD, as well as his regular job as PT at Kaiser-Permanente. johnberdoulay@sbcglobal.net or call (650) 393-9073

Katie Parafinczuk, PT, DPT, NCS graduated with a B.S. in biology from Emory University in 2007, and a DPT degree (three year doctorate) from Arcadia University in 2011. That same year, (Katie) joined the rehabilitation team at Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City where she specializes in neurologic physical therapy. During her time at Kaiser, Katie has completed a residency to become a clinical specialist in neurology (NCS). As a member of the Parkinson’s disease team, her volunteer work includes teaching a PWR!MovesGroup class for those with Parkinson’s disease at the Vets Senior Center in Redwood City. kparafi@gmail.com or (650) 299-4717

Robin Lim-Healy, PTA,
works part-time for Kaiser SSF as a Physical Therapist Assistant and part-time in her Pilates/Fitness studio in SF. She also works for Kaiser’s Health Education department teaching a mat Pilates and she just started a Senior Fitness Class based on Becky Farley’s PWR concepts and exercises. At her studio, she teaches Pilates and she has started a PWR class.  She attended Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA where she earned her Physical Therapist Assistant AA degree, while concurrently enrolled in the Power Pilates Certification Program.  After taking her board exams, she earned her license to practice. My favorite things to treat are the back and the feet.”

Shannon Shearn, personal trainer
joined Revitalize Integrated Body Systems (RIBS)  after a 7-year career as a circus acrobat. She has taught for 15 years. She began working as a personal trainer upon retiring from the circus and loves taking people from zero to fit. She specializes in rehabilitative exercising, postural correction, pre- and post-natal fitness and weight-loss. Her certification is from ACE. Shannon also teaches a PWR!MovesCircuit Class at RIBS. (650) 323-7427

Scott Lohman, fitness professional has been teaching Adapted PE (physical education which has been adapted or modified) since 2002. He has a B.A. in Kinesiology from San Francisco State with an emphasis in Adapted P.E. He also has a M.A. in Gerontology with an emphasis in Fitness and Aging. Scott, in the field of fitness for over 20 years, has taught at the College of San Mateo, Cañada College and Foothill College. Lohman enjoys the challenges of working with individuals who have multiple mobility and physical limitations and teaches students with developmental disabilities. He teaches several fitness classes for the City of Redwood City including a PWR!MovesCircuit Class, for advanced level adults.
fugitive1221@yahoo.com or call (650) 823-1225

Kathy Buck Thomson, a Pilates and CoreAlign instructor attended the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, was a dancer in the Martha Graham Ensemble, and taught the Graham Technique. In 1980, Kathy began studying the Pilates Method with Carol Trier — one of Joseph Pilates’ original teachers. Kathy also studied with Deborah Lessen, co-founder of the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA). She received her Pilates certification from master teacher Carol Appel. She is a Pilates and CoreAlign instructor who teaches private and group sessions, including a PWR!MovesCircuit Class at RIBS with Shannon Shearn. (650) 323-7427

About Parkinson’s Women Support
The  mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are Parkinson’s Disease patients. Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen








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