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Fashion Wire Daily NY

GIVE ME A LIFT!

by Carrie Haynes

Lift Gym, Manhattan's one-on-one training center that boasts 90 top personal trainers, lures the likes of Mira Sorvino, Pierce Brosnan, Carolyn Murphy, P.Diddy, and Maty J. Blige with its strength and flexibility training, cardiovascular conditioning, nutritional counselling, massage therapy and now - holistic physical therapy.

On my first visit to the 10,000-square-foot, four floor sunlit fitness sanctuary in midtown Manhattan, I stuck to the gorgeous ninth floor mezzanine that is home to both an inviting outdoor terrace and the gym's massage therapist, named "Best massage therapist" by New York magazine for two years running.

Upon my second visit, however, I agreed to explore beyond the heavenly ninth floor, and attend a session with Susan Edgerton, Lift's onsite physical therapist, whose clients include world renowned ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Edgerton's osteopathic approach "views the body three dimensionally," she explains. "I'm not just looking at bones, I'm looking at connective tissues, nerves, circulation - the whole body - because what affects one dimention affects all."  Osteopathy comes from the word Osteome, meaning the structure of all living matter, and Pathos, meaning a profound stress that needs to be expressed.

An age-old practice, osteopathy is quite prominent in Canada and Europe, though not as widely practiced in the United States.  However, more and more physical therapists and massage therapists (there are already a handful here in New York) are beginning to incorporate its adages into their practices, as Edgerton does at Lift.  "Patients are more discerning now," she says.  They want something more holistic, more preventative.  Instead of just treating their chronic back pain, they want to eliminate the source of it."

Rejecting the chaotic atmosphere of a buzzing clinic, Edgerton sees only one patient per hour.  "My focus is on you. I am looking at your body from head to toe."

As she focused her attention on me, her hands gently move upwards along my spine - without poking, prodding or kneading through - she explained that over time, stresses build up within our bodies and begin to exist as mechanical, chronic, chemical, traumatic, and even emotional accumulations that invoke pain.

Osteopathy helps to decompress the stress in a bone, a joint, a nerve, or a tissue.  It can benefit patients whose bodies have absorbed the severe stress of a high velocity impact (such as a car accident) as well as those looking to take strictly preventative measures.  This holistic method of release claims to increase vitality and circulation within the body.

And proof positive: my neck has never felt better.

Susan Edgerton received her physical therapy degree from New York University and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program for osteopathic medicine in Canada. For more information on the osteopathic approach to physical therapy, contact her at 212.613.5911. For more information on Lift Gym call 212-688-3304.