Documenting Patient Progress with Posture
A 40-year veteran of the wellness industry, Ellen Smith has expertise in practicing, public speaking, and teaching, with experience in various manual bodywork techniques, including acupressure, acupuncture, and, most recently, clinical massage therapy and CPEP certification. As she works toward opening her own practice in Portland, OR, Smith anticipates that by specializing in posture work and massage, she will develop a huge community following.
“People will want to come in for a relaxation massage – but I want to do more than that. By integrating posture exercise into my practice, the goal is to document visible improvements in strength, height, and movement. And clients will respond to the progress they make.”
And she knows firsthand that the StrongPosture® protocols make lasting changes; in just two months, she has seen huge improvement in her own stature.
“I’m a senior citizen. Since learning the posture exercises, I move better, and I’m standing taller than I ever have!”
Smith has already begun organizing community posture lectures and screenings with local church groups, sports teams, and the AARP. As a senior citizen who has had success with the StrongPosture® exercise program, she sees these partnerships as a great way to expose elderly populations to her program.
“People need touch – especially elderly people. I think it has a tremendous help on physical health and prevents mental decline. More importantly, they need to move. A person’s posture is the most evident way to tell that they’re not moving. I want to use posture as an indicator of healthy movement and activity.”
Documentation of improvement is at the heart of Smith’s practice model. Prior to moving to Portland, she worked for 9 years at a multidisciplinary practice in Atlanta, which hosted holistic therapists, medical doctors, and chiropractors. She focused on acupuncture and acupressure, as well as teaching for the American Massage Therapy Association and speaking publicly about the benefits of holistic approaches to wellness. She notes that the most common issue she would see in practice was that people had no measurable way to see the value of their services.
“Time and time again, I would find that people are trained to seek treatment only when they are sick. It’s time to learn a positive model of wellness, and a great way to do that is by monitoring posture.”
Smith had been researching posture while taking her certificate courses in massage therapy at University of Western States, but when she took the live posture seminar with Dr. Weiniger, she knew that the StrongPosture® protocols and PosturePractice model were the pieces missing from her business plans.
“Having this framework allows me to give the documentation of improvement that I want to give my clients. Using a posture grid serves three purposes: recruiting, education, and documentation. Everybody likes to have their picture taken. Placing the grid in the office or at a lecture draws potential clients, and gives you a window to educate about the importance of posture. Once you’ve begun working with the patient, you can go back to the grid and show tangible improvements.”
In her practice, Smith plans to integrate posture documentation at every step of clients’ care. When they come into her office, she will have her clients document various daily living activities on a scale. With this information, she will build graphs of client ability to see how they change over a long-term duration.
“People need to know and understand the benefit of what they’re doing. You have to add value.”
She further notes that her CPEP posture certification training is a valuable component allowing her to expand her practice. She has already begun networking with insurance providers, medical doctors, other massage therapists, and professional associations to broaden the awareness of posture work and how to make it more recognized by the wellness industry.
“I want to promote this model to the younger generation of massage therapists who are just starting out and expand their understanding of how they can help people.”