DH 45 | Holistic Physical Therapy


Have you ever felt unbalanced or misaligned and you need a PT that actually solves your problem?  Allison Curran, PT, the owner of True Health Physical Therapy, teaches us the benefits of manual physical therapy. She treats her patients with a holistic approach considering the whole person rather than his or her parts. She talks about her role in adjusting people, balancing their patterns, and dysfunction and compensation of the body to avoid pain. She shares how she decided to advocate in manual PT and what it is all about. She also discusses what is fascia, fascia release, how impactful it is, and how to treat it. Allison believes that most people are not aware that they have dysfunctions until they submit for an assessment.

Listen to the podcast here:

Holistic Physical Therapy with Allison Curran

My guest is Allison Curran, who’s a physical therapist. Allison, welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me.

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

We’re excited to have you. Let me read a little bit of Allison’s bio off of her website, then we’ll go right into some questions. Allison says on her website, “With many years of practicing manual physical therapy, I treat my clients with a holistic approach taking into consideration the whole person rather than the parts. When I assess my patient, I observe, feel and listen to all factors, not necessarily just the symptoms that brought them in. Often the symptom is the catalyst to seek treatment and the reality is that the problem has originated in a different area of the body. While alleviating pain, I evaluate and treat as I find this function in joints. I reassess continuously and address posture and alignment to guide the treatment. Ultimately, the goal of manual therapy is symmetry, balance, and proper alignment using hands-on techniques and simple postural exercises to maintain the body’s natural state. I love figuring out the body’s dysfunction and helping people see the connections in the body with the ground-up approach.”

I met Allison when she came to the University of New England, College of Osteopathic Medicine where I teach in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine series of courses that are continuing medical education classes. I was so impressed with Alison’s background and her way of looking at the body that I asked her to come on the show. I’m so excited to have her here. Allison, thanks again for joining us. One of the first questions I like to ask all my guests is how did you come to do what you do and this idea of manual physical therapy? What is that and how did you come to it?

I started out wanting to go to physical therapy school because I was athletic and I played a lot of sports. I thought at first I’d be an athletic trainer. The more I delved into athletic training, I realized there was much more that I could be doing. I studied both physical therapy and athletic training. I realized that my real passion was in physical therapy. What drove me there was a real curiosity about how the body performs, how it functions, how to keep your body in optimal health. I had a one-sided view as looking at the body. I was looking at pieces. I remember not making the connection until I started practicing. I was seeing patients with ACL repairs, ankle sprains and doing a lot of the stuff that I learned in school, but realizing there was more to it than just that. I was missing other pieces of the body.

As I stepped back and started looking at the person, I realized that it was how they were walking or their posture. I started looking at patterns. I started seeing patterns in the people I was treating. The path that it led me down was wanting to know more. I could only do so much ultrasound, e-stim and stretching. I figured there’s got to be more. The real bugaboo for me was treating back pain because there are a lot of people with back pain. I honestly didn’t even know where to begin because that’s such a complicated or could be such a complicated thing. I started taking classes right out of college. I started with strain, counter strain and that piqued my curiosity and led me to muscle energy, which led me to many more continuing education courses, all in hands-on manual therapy.

DH 45 | Holistic Physical Therapy

Holistic Physical Therapy: Some people with chronic injuries usually comes to the PT for an acute injury.


As I started to integrate all of these techniques, the more that you know, the more that you see. I started seeing more and more. I started to want to know more about how to treat people. At first, when someone with back pain would walk into my clinic, I’d be scared. Now, I love to have people come in with back pain because most of the time they’ve been told, you have to live with it or this is how it is or you have stenosis or you have whatever and it can’t be fixed. I have come to the point where I realize I can help anybody that walks through the door even a simple postural exercise or anything to help people.

What drives me is wanting to help people and not wanting people to be in pain or suffer needlessly because I don’t think suffering is necessary. I do what I do because I love to help people and not have them be in pain. I want to focus on why are they in front of me? What is the real pain? Where is it coming from? Not the symptom because you can treat the symptom. I could probably help the symptom right away, but it’s going to keep coming back. I don’t think that’s effective. That was a realization I’ve had over time. I’ve done this for many years. It’s evolved for me how I look at people. I feel fortunate every day I get to come and work with people directly and have an impact on their physical body such that they can function.

Did you start more within the traditional system?

I’m very traditional. I worked for an orthopedic surgeon. I would see people post-doc, day four or five, and I would do the traditional exercises. I would do the traditional hot packs, cold packs and ultrasound. I did quite a few modalities to help the pain. What I realized, that did help the symptoms and with acute pain, it’s very effective and very necessary. It’s when you get into the chronic or subacute phase where that is no longer impactful so something else needs to be done. What I realized is a lot of the people I was seeing had acute on chronic, they were coming to me for an acute injury, but the reason that it occurred was a chronic injury.

They’re dealing with flat feet and they have medial knee pain or they have SI joint pain. They come to me with knee pain. If I don’t address the foot or the hip or the knee or the pelvis or everything else, I’m not effective. When people come in and they say to me, “I’ve had knee pain forever” and I go right to the foot or I go right to the hip. I’m like “That poor knee is sandwiched between your foot and your hip. Nobody has ever touched their foot or their hip. I do look at things very differently. I’m glad I do.

You mentioned two modalities. You mentioned Muscle Energy and Strain-Counterstrain. Both of those modalities are not necessarily working on bony joints. They have hip pain, which is a joint or knee pain, which is a joint or elbow pain, which is a joint. Everybody in PT with electric stim and this and that is focused on the bony joints. These modalities you’ve say you’ve found and that I teach and you’ve found are benefiting your clients more are focusing on the connective tissue.

It's always in that movement of the spine, in the foot and the knee, and how it all functions together as a unit and not as pieces. Click To Tweet

I would say 90% of what I do is through the fascia. I do a lot of fascial work. Myofascial release is one of the biggest things I use and visceral manipulation. A lot of times I find the disc ease sits in the fascial restriction and in that neural pathway. Your body adapts to a certain pattern and your brain holds that pattern. What I’m looking for is how to undo the pattern and how to create a new pattern. The best way to do it that I have found is through the fascia. Am I impacting the balance of the joint? I am very much impacting the joint because the body is letting go of all the tension. It’s letting go of the pattern and allowing the body to move through space more naturally, which is what we want. I tell people all the time if we’re going to have to move through space and you sat there, fine, you probably would be fine. You wouldn’t have any pain. The reality is we have to move through space. We have to walk. We have to pick things up, carry things and bend over. If you have restriction, all of that is limited. Therefore, you can’t function. That’s usually when I meet people, when they can’t function.

They don’t move unless there’s something disruptive or dysfunctioning and that’s what the medicine is about, functional physical therapy and osteopathic manipulative medicine. I talk to people a lot and I’m teaching a new class called how to align your spine. I educate them about the fascia, the connective tissue and the idea that in order to affect the bones, aligns to one spine, they have to realize that we’re more like a puppet. The strings are the connective tissue and if you pull on the strings that are attached to the bones, the bones don’t move like the puppet unless the strings allow them to move.

I tell people the same thing. It’s not the bones fault. If it was up to them, they’d be in a pile on the floor. They require attachments of muscles, fascia and ligaments. It’s those connections that create a joint problem usually.

With either hypertonicity or maybe there is a tear or the opposite of hypertonicity meaning too tight, they become too loose. People need to tighten it up. Would you agree that about 80% of the population give or take is too tight? 20% is too loose. You have to identify those individuals. What have you found with that?

I have found that to be true. The people who are tight in one place or loose in another and because I work from right to left, front to back and top to bottom, I’m always finding imbalance. They might have a tight hamstring on the left, but they have a hip flexor that’s tight on the right and that’s part of their pattern. When I look at their gait or when I’m watching them walk, I’m looking for those patterns. Why is that hip not extending properly when they toe-off? When I’m looking at the pelvis, that symmetry and that motion, I’ll find tightness in one side on the front and tightness in the other side on the back. Often it’s that reciprocal motion that’s off. It is not working properly. They are not propelling through space properly. They are not rotating their spine properly. They come to me with a headache, but it’s always in that movement of the spine, in the foot, the knee and how it all functions together as a unit and not pieces.

This idea of patterns, the brain and the body, once an injury occurs or someone has a habitual movement pattern, they learn their body and their structure adapts to the injury or adapts to that habitual pattern. Therefore, they develop these dysfunctional or out of balance or out of alignment, whatever words might fit for someone to understand the imbalances in the patterns we’re talking about. The brain thinks they’re normal.

DH 45 | Holistic Physical Therapy

Holistic Physical Therapy: Rather than chase the pain around the body, Allison offers the protection, undo the pain, and wait what the body shows her.


I use a mirror a lot and I’ll put people in front of the mirror before and after treatment. Before often I’m pointing out patterns and I’m telling them, do you see this? When they’re done, I put them back in front of the mirror and they’re like, “My shoulders are level. My hips are level. My feet are level.” Until I pointed that out to them, they were not aware that their pelvis was off or rotated. They were not aware that their head was going in the opposite direction to balance it until I position them in front of a mirror.

What I tell them is like, “It’s not like you woke up one morning, all of a sudden you’re twisted.” It happens insidiously or over time. You can’t see the forest through the trees. You need someone like me or you to say, “No wonder it hurts. You’re twisted. You’re shifted or you’re protecting.” I use words like, “Your body always goes into protection.” I feel the body protects in a hierarchy. It will protect the nerve above all else. Let’s say you have a raging sciatic nerve and your body is going to start locking down stuff around that nerve. Therefore, now we have a new gait. Now we have pain somewhere else. Rather than chase the pain around the body, I like to go in and say, “Here is the protection. Let’s undo that and let’s see what else your body shows me.”

It’s an opening and unfolding of the dysfunction in front of me, but it always starts with those patterns. Some people come in with years and years of patterns. Often I’ll describe, “You have this dysfunction, but you have this compensation.” Your body has wonderfully compensated for you to allow you to move through space and to help you avoid pain because our body tries to avoid pain. It’ll do whatever it takes to close down and to lockdown joints. The reason many people are stiff is that their body is trying to protect them. Few people spend enough time stretching. I treat a lot of athletes. I had a surgeon. I said, “How long do you stretch?” because he plays hockey. “Maybe 30 seconds.” I’m like, “You’re an orthopedic surgeon. Are you telling me that you spend 30 seconds stretching your body before playing hockey?” It’s human nature because when we’re younger, I don’t think we think we need to stretch. As we approach 40, 50, 60, it’s like now stretching is an absolute must. You got to keep the tissue loose.

Sometimes to watch nature is a very beneficial thing. If you watch your dog or your cat, whenever they get up in the morning, they are stretching. One thing I want to bring up also is, back to this concept of the connective tissue, the idea of what does that mean. You brought up the term fascia. First of all, I want the audience to understand. They’re probably familiar with muscles and the idea that muscles are attached to the bones and move bones. There are tendons that attach that muscle tissue. The tendon is what attaches the muscle tissue. It’s a little more collagenous, denser and attaches to the bone. There are ligaments that attach bone to bone.

This fascia is a spider web of collagen. It’s amazing. If you think about it, a spider web is sticky. The different tendrils of the web can get stuck to each other and develop adhesions. That web is also highly moisture. There’s a lot of water in it. That’s another reason why people want to make sure they’re drinking a lot of pure healthy water. The other thing is that these tendrils, these lines and strings within the web cannot break apart but pull apart and the adhesions can correct themselves. The body wants to go to health. The body wants to go back to balance. What have you found with that and working with the web of the fascia?

There are two approaches to treating fascia from the way I approach. There is the direct approach and there is the indirect approach. When I’m meeting someone for the first time, I can pick up pretty quickly whether their body responds to direct versus indirect. A lot of that has to do with the acuity or how new their injury is. If they have a new injury and they’re in a lot of pain, I tend to go very indirect, which means I tend to take the soft tissue in the direction that it’s telling me it wants to go and I work with it. I work with the restriction. I bring it into the restriction and wait and let it unwind. That’s the word I use with people. It’s like your body knows what to do, it wants to do this.

As we become older, stretching is an absolute must. Click To Tweet

At that point, I’m a facilitator of the fascia release. Fascia release is impactful. I’ve had people where their minds were blown with where they feel the unwinding, how far-reaching. I like to tell people there is no beginning and no ending to the fascia in your body. I can be working at the head and they can feel it in the foot. I can be working at the back and they can fill it in the head. I’m aware of all of these lines of tension. That line of tension that’s pulling, they can feel that. I try to educate them about that.

The other way to treat fascia is the direct method. That’s much more of pulling on the fascia. Pushing into the restriction. Not going with it, but pulling up away from it, pulling apart. I tend to do that less. It’s more uncomfortable, but some people respond better to that so I do. When you do a fascia release, you should be able to see right away a realignment of the joint, a realignment of the spine. You can see whatever it is you’re working on will come back into its neutral or its resting space. I use it a lot.

It’s where the answer is and where you’re going to unwind the patterns you’re talking about. What you’re doing is you’re engaging the spider web we’re talking about, this spider web analogy. You’re engaging that tissue and you’re allowing it to unwind to life. You’re allowing it to unwind and come back to balance. Whenever you put tension in any tissue, whether as you say you go to the direction of ease or whether you go to the direction of disc ease in the essence of the direct technique that you’re describing. You’re allowing that tension that the body is going to now respond to and the web is going to respond to. Allison, what does a typical assessment and treatment look like with you?

I spend an hour. My assessments and my treatments are the same because I do it all simultaneously. When someone comes in, I take the history, but usually I say, “Tell me your story.” I like to let people lead the discussion. I don’t want to feed them any information. I want to know what they think is important. Most of the time the patient knows the problem. They don’t know that they know the problem. I let them talk. As I’m looking at them, I’ll put them in front of the mirror and standing. I will look at their feet and look at how they stand. I look at the knees and the hips. I look at the balance. I look for any asymmetries and static standing.

I look at them from the front, the back, the side. For instance, let’s say someone’s weight is shifted to the left, I’ll take them and shift them to the right. I’ll put them where they should be in the middle. I’ll hold them there and watch what happens to the body. The body will tell you what it needs. I will tell the person that I’m having a dialogue with their body. I put them in the position they don’t want to be in. I watch what happens. I say, “Let your body go where it naturally goes.” They start pulling all over the place. This is where it gets fun because people can then say, “I noticed I like to stand on my right leg” or “I noticed my right shoulder always comes forward” or “I noticed my head tilts to the side.”

I start to bring the person in and getting them involved in how to look at their body. After I look at them and standing at their posture, I have them move through space. I’ll often start with having them bend forward and I’m looking at how things move at the pelvis. I’ll move their neck. I’ll watch how their head moves through space. I’ll move their shoulders. I’ll move their legs. I have them in standing. I have them walk and I watch how they walk. I look at any compensation I see. Whether they’re not standing on one leg as much as the other, they don’t swing their arms.

DH 45 | Holistic Physical Therapy

Holistic Physical Therapy: The vast majority of the first session is all in alignment.


There are lots of things I’m looking for, but those are all pieces to guide me to where I’m going next. Eventually, I get them on my table. I lie them down. I look at the alignment from a supine on their back position. I start to move things around. I look at the feet. I look at the knees. I look at the hips. I’ll do special tests. I’ll test things. All the while as I’m seeing things, for instance, one of the things I see a lot of is a pelvic obliquity or their pelvis is not symmetric. They’re not even lying on the table flat. I might start doing a few simple techniques and seeing how they’re responding, what they’re feeling and where the pain is. I look at alignment and I start checking nerves.

I put tension through the sciatic nerves, through the femoral nerve. I start looking at the nerves as they go through the legs. I do the same to the arms. I go all the way up to the head and I come back through and I scan for fascial restrictions. A lot of times I spend the vast majority of the first session all in alignment and assessing the joint, how the joints move, the soft tissue and the fascia. By the time they’re done with me on that first visit, I put them back in the mirror and they can see that their body has adjusted. A lot of those things that we were working on have adjusted. Typically, I see people back within a week to reassess and see how the body integrated the information that I’ve done.

I tell them little things to do. For instance, I use foam rollers. I use Yamuna balls. I use stretch straps. I give people little exercises. I always tell them to drink a lot of water. I always tell them to take short walks. There are certain things I tell people. The most important thing I tell them is to be aware of what’s going on, what’s happening with their pain. That’s a pretty typical hour assessment. On average, I see people four to six visits. If it’s something more chronic, I might see them more. I do have people that I see once a month because they come in for maintenance. It’s a relationship that I make with the patient and figure out what they need.

That surely doesn’t sound like they’re coming in and jumping on the stationary bike. You’ll be back with them in a few minutes.

You will find no stationary bike in my office. I do think a lot of my training is in exercise. There is a value, but what I love to tell my patients and is so true is like “I can’t exercise for you. You have to bring your body to the gym and you have to do that. That is your responsibility.” Nobody exercises for me. I have certain things I have to do every day to maintain my body. One of the big things I tell people is like, “I will do all the things you can’t and I will help point out things you can’t see. I will help your body come back to homeostasis, that balance. It’s on you to follow through with exercise.” I worked with a couple of trainers. I say to people, “What do you like to do for exercise?” Everybody is different.

If someone likes swimming, I’m going to direct them to a pool. If someone likes a gym, I’m going to direct them to a trainer. If someone is into yoga, I know several great yoga teachers. I know lots of Pilates teachers. What I want people to do is to find a way to move their body and keep moving their body. I don’t feel like my role as a manual therapist that I need to necessarily do that. I’m happy to do it with people. I have had people request me to teach them an exercise program. I’ve met at the gym. We have lots of gyms in the area. If someone wanted me to, I will meet them there and put them through a program. I write it down for them. I do that, but that is not to me. My bread and butter are helping people understand their body, help their body move naturally through space. By doing that, you got to address all of this dysfunction. That’s where I fit in. I feel like that is my role or that’s the role that I’m embracing right now. It’s not the exercises.

People need to find a way to move their body and keep moving their body. Click To Tweet

That’s what I would tell everyone about our audience. If you’re looking for a physical therapist, manual therapist person or someone who understands the body to be able to truly help you with your dysfunction and your pain, Allison is the type of person you want to. Have someone be able to point out, find, be able to feel and understand the imbalances and be able to help them towards homeostasis and back to balance. You also need to be active yourself and you need to then do homework. For example, one thing I do on my website. If someone goes to DiscoverHealthFMC.com and goes over to the health library and drops down to the exercise videos, I have Level 1 Stretching. It’s perfectly free. They can watch that video. It’s basic stretching exercises. I have all of my patients do that. Do you have something like that you work?

Interestingly enough, I have directed some of my patients to your website too. I would say that for me, I do have some gold standard things that I teach almost everybody. I am big on using a foam roller longitudinally along the spine. I do a lot of deep breathing exercises. One of the things people don’t do is breathe well enough or properly, which sounds crazy because there is a right and a wrong way to breathe. How you breathe is very important in oxygenation and all of that. I do quite a fair amount on a soft foam roller in which I teach people isometrics for the core that both align their spine, treat the soft tissue, treat the flexion disorder or their inability to get into extension or to stand up straight. I do a fair amount of that with people. I also use Yamuna balls, which is another tool that I’ve discovered that helps people align and stretch their soft tissue. I love stretch straps. People like to have things to assist them with stretching and I’ll do whatever.

I teach muscle rolling. If someone has a tight IT band and they need to figure that out, I teach that. As far as cookie-cutter exercises, everybody that comes to me is so different that I feel like until I see them and know them, I try to give them no more than three things to do in a day. I say, “You can do these three things because it will take you little time.” What people like to tell me is, “I don’t have time. I don’t have money to go to the gym.” The reality is it takes very little time and very little money. What you really can’t afford is to be in dysfunction. I try to give them inexpensive tools that are easy to do, that doesn’t take a lot of time, that will give them the most bang for their buck. When they come in, they do leave me with homework. A lot of them will come back years later for a tune-up and say, “I’m still doing it.” I’ll say, “I know because it’s been two years since you’ve been here, so I know what you’re doing it.” The reward is in the doing. You are rewarding yourself by doing these exercises. “You’re not doing it for me. This isn’t for me. This is for you.” I do the foam roll every day. I do the Yamuna balls and I stretch. I like to lead by example. I try to do what I’m saying.

I’ve even challenged patients and said, “If you go to Level 1 Stretching and do these ten minutes every day for the next 30 days, come back to me and tell me how you feel.” Every single time as they’ve done it every day, they come back and say, “I feel so much better. I don’t know why someone hasn’t taught me this.”

I’ve challenged people that way too. I use the foam roller a lot. This one woman said, “I haven’t been able to move my shoulder normally for years.” I said, “If you do the foam roller every day, do these exercises for 21 days, when you come back, I promise you’re going to have a full range of motion.” She did and she couldn’t believe it. She was trying to disprove me. I’m like, “No, because your problem is coming from your thoracic spine, your scapula and we’ve got to align it. We’ve got to open up the front of your chest wall. We’ve got to get your arms moving.” She did it every day. When she started, she could hardly move her arm. She came in and laid down on the foam roller and put her arms up over her head. I’m like, “Yeah.”

Who would benefit best from manual physical therapy?

DH 45 | Holistic Physical Therapy

Holistic Physical Therapy: People are not aware of the dysfunction they have.


It’s everybody. It’s funny because I saw a wife who sent her husband and the husband is like, “I don’t know why my wife is sending me. I don’t have any problems.” What’s funny is I started looking at him and he’s like, “My foot hurts and my hip hurts.” People are not aware of the dysfunction they have. Once they get a little bit of treatment, they’re like, “I didn’t even know that I was doing it. I didn’t even know that I wasn’t winging my arms properly.” A lot of people will come to me with an insidious injury and say, “How does this happen?” I’m like, “This has been brewing for years.” The best way to treat yourself is to treat yourself before it’s a problem.

I tell people like, “Go in, get an assessment, take a look at the body and see where your dysfunction is. Treat it now before you have raging tendonitis in your shoulder or headaches that won’t go away or sciatica. Treat it before it’s a problem.” My answer is everybody would benefit from an assessment, from treatment. Do you know what your dysfunctions are? “I don’t know what my dysfunctions are until someone looks at me. When we’re in class at UNE with you and someone will say, “Allison, you’re pulling to the right.” I didn’t know that. Everybody should get treated before you have an injury. You need to treat your body from the time you’re born and keep taking care of it, meaning alignment, good health, good nutrition, proper amounts of sleep, exercise, meditation and rest. It’s not a magic pill. It’s taking care of yourself. Manual therapy in whatever form you choose to do it is beneficial to every person.

Your body thinks and your brain thinks that the patterns you’re living in are normal. I understand you don’t take insurance anymore. You’ve gone out on your own. You’re doing your own thing and honestly, any system starts to cause people to be in a box and boxes aren’t necessarily good. Why did you leave that traditional model and why aren’t you using insurance? How’s it working for you?

I struggled with that for years. I worked at Mercy Hospital. We treated a lot of poor and disadvantaged people and personally, that was my mission and I bought into it. I moved into private practice and tried to do traditional billing through Medicare for what I was doing because I was doing an hour of manual therapy. Medicare was reimbursing only a fifteen-minute unit, which at first I was like, “I won’t be getting reimbursed.” I realized other insurances were doing that. I realized it was taking up all of my time worrying about was I going to get paid? Was I going to get reimbursed? How was I going to stay open? How was I going to stay afloat?

I realized insurance was limiting what I could do. It’s spending all this time justifying to an insurance company what I wanted to do. I was spending more time doing paperwork. I was spending more time on the phone arguing with insurance companies. The patients and I were having dialogues more about insurance than about their health. The focus became more on money than on their health. I had a real moment a few years ago when I said, “I cannot do this anymore.” My intention is to help people heal. My intention is to always do the right thing for the person in front of me. That does not mean I should have to negotiate with an insurance company about how I’m going to proceed or how many visits it will take me to get them to where they need to get.

I realized that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do in the system that I was trying to function in. I took a huge risk. I took a huge leap. I said, “I’m going to keep my costs down.” I tried $125 for an hour of my time and that’s hands-on one-on-one. I do not have an entire staff that I’m paying. I don’t have a billing person. I don’t have a medical records department like I used to have. I don’t have a schedule. I don’t have the layers to health care. If someone needs me, they call me. They can talk to me.

If they want to book with me, they talk to me. If they need to email me questions, I will email them. I decided that by cutting out all of the middle, taking out all the fluff, not spending time documenting late at night, not spending time stressing overpayment will I get paid, and focusing on the person’s health, the person in front of me, the person who has my undivided attention for an hour. That is better for me and therefore that is better for the person I’m helping. It was a hard choice. Quite frankly, I treat people all over the spectrum.

I have people that don’t have a lot of money and I have people that do have a lot of money. Honestly, I’ve done this for a long time and I wouldn’t say the demographic of people that I’m treating has changed. If someone is invested in getting better and they found me, they will invest the time and the money. I will make sure it’s worth it because they’re not questioning like, “Am I feeling better?” All of my referrals are word of mouth. I am very busy. People want to feel better. I am not charging an exorbitant amount. I don’t have to because I’m not billing insurance. If I were to bill insurance for an hour of my time, I would be billing around $500 an hour in order to get reimbursed $125.

That to me seems ludicrous. I encourage my patients to do HSA. If I know money is an issue for them, I will see them once and spread it out over the course. I’ll see them once a month for four visits or I’ll give them a lot more homework. I want to understand the person. I work with them, but it makes the person much more accountable if this money is coming out of their pocket. They’re like, “I am going to invest my time and my money” because I don’t have people that come in and don’t follow through. It’s a win-win.

More and more people are realizing that first of all, insurance is exactly that. If you think about insurance on your car, it doesn’t pay for new tires or winter tires versus summer tires. It doesn’t pay to wash the car. It doesn’t pay to change the oil. Also our home insurance, it doesn’t pay to paint the house. It doesn’t pay to build a new roof. These are the things that people are starting to realize more and more. The system is broken. The idea is that insurance is not covering and it’s not reimbursing people for their true value.

It’s not paying for the amount of time it needs to take to get to the underlying cause of what’s going on for people to be truly holistic. What you’re here to do is to take the risk and move out of the system and do what needs to be done to provide people with what they truly need at a price that’s affordable. Let me ask you one more question. I always like to ask all my guests this because of course you and I could go on for hours. We have to this again another time because I love it. What’s the number one tip for healthy living that you would share with our audience?

For me the number one tip is awareness. If I could give everybody a little pearl and say pay attention to your body because your body is constantly talking to you. As human beings, we ignore much of the signs and we think we’re invincible and we can push through. If there was only one piece of advice that I could give people is don’t ignore pain. Don’t ignore when things start to not feel well or if you’re noticing changes in your health. The time to do something about it as right away. I do feel like that is something I see people when I say, “How long has this been going on?” “Years.” The longer it goes on, the more you compensate and the greater the dysfunction. My one piece of advice is to listen to your body, know the warning signs of when something is not quite right. Go get help from someone, get some tools and take care of your body like you would your car or your house because it’s got to last you forever.

DH 45 | Holistic Physical Therapy

Holistic Physical Therapy: People are much more accountable if money for therapy is coming out of their pocket.


How do people find you and how do they get in touch with you?

I have a website. It’s TrueHealthPhysicalTherapy.com, which is probably the easiest way to get information on me. It has my number and my email, which I check all day long regularly. I deal directly with people. If you call me or email me, you will hear back from me. I try to book people right now. It’s about a two-week waiting to get in for a new eval. If someone has a crisis, I try to fit them in as fast as I can. The process is to call me. I like to talk to people before to have a little understanding of what’s going on and what they’re looking for. That would be the best way is through my website.

Allison, thank you so much for coming on the show with me. We’ll have to schedule another one because we talked about connective tissue, fascia, we didn’t even get into the connection to body, mind, and spirit.

I know, that’s the best part.

Thanks, Allison.

Thank you.

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About Allison Curran

DH 45 | Holistic Physical TherapyWith more than 25 years of practicing manual physical therapy, Allison Curran, PT treats her clients with a holistic approach taking into consideration the whole person rather than the parts. When she assess my patient, she observes, feels and listens to all factors, not necessarily just the symptoms that brought them in. Often the symptom is the catalyst to seek treatment and the reality is that the problem has originated in a different area of the body.

While alleviating pain, she evaluates and treats as she finds dysfunction in joints. she reassesses continuously and addresses posture and alignment to guide the treatment. Ultimately the goal of manual therapy is symmetry, balance and proper alignment using hands-on techniques and simple postural exercises to maintain the body’s natural state.

She absolutely loves figuring out the body’s dysfunction and helping people see the connections in the body with a ground-up approach.


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