Therapy beyond the physical

“If you want to be comfortable, don’t try to live your dreams.” - Emily Trinkaus

WHEN it all began, which is a bit of a blur now, my wife Neng was musing over an idea. She’d completed her Physical Therapy (PT) requirements from Davao Doctors’ College some 15 years ago—her second course after a Communication Arts degree from the Ateneo—and a framed New York City PT license was hanging from a bedroom wall practically underutilized.

What she’d wanted to do was this—well, these: She was aching to fully practice her profession, nay establish her own clinic, right here in Davao. She wanted to sell organic products, possibly even develop some herself; organic and healthy foods and lifestyles were two of her burning interests. And this: she wanted to put up a fitness gym. In short, my wife was mulling her own wellness center.

“I wouldn’t want to see the day when I’d regret not having given my dream a fair chance,” she would remind me again and again.

Right off the bat, it was, at once, a thrilling and terrifying prospect. For one, the investment it required wasn’t something to sneeze at. For another, we weren’t exactly teenyboppers. Sure, the kids were grown, and making a living was no longer as punishing as it was. But life beyond 50 does have its physical and mental limits, to put it mildly.

But, well, all that turned out to be excuses. Because to make the proverbial long story short, Neng moved heaven and earth to open the Blue Forest Wellness Center last year, on January 18.

The Physical Therapy clinic has been Blue Forest’s flagship service. Neng and her staff treat patients with neck and low back pain, or those with sports and occupational injuries. Many are stroke patients. Others are orthopedic or neurologic cases. Her Blue Forest team also attends to the PT needs of diabetic patients and those requiring cardiovascular maintenance, muscle strengthening and toning.

In July last year, as part of its advocacy for persons with disabilities (PWDs), Blue Forest worked with the Philippine Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine (Parm) in the conduct the first Parm M.O.V.E. (Making Ourselves Vigilant to Exercise) in Davao.

It isn’t just enabling patients to be physically able, is what lies at the core of this advocacy. Neng believes that servicing patients to “maximize their functional capacity” shouldn’t end there. For a truly holistic treatment, the degree of clinical attention Blue Forest aims to be known for, is to give hope. “Although we’re physical therapists, we need to go beyond the physical in order to open doors of confidence, to spiritually empower patients,” she says.

Today, a year after it opened, Blue Forest services home-based patients from Lanang to Toril, as well as those visiting the clinic along Libby Road in Puan.

Last weekend, as part of Blue Forest’s first year anniversary celebration, the PT team conducted a free scoliosis screening for young adults at the Davao Central College in Toril. Early detection is key to preventing full-blown scoliosis, which is why the school screening was timely. Many pupils turned out to be candidates for scoliosis, and were advised for further tests. Neng hopes a city-wide Blue Forest screening program for scoliosis will eventually materialize.

Also held that weekend was a blessing of the fitness gym, a raffle, and an anniversary dinner. Neng came down with asthma at the end of the hoopla. But, as dreamers go, it was a small price to pay for pursuing passions.
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