New Kent physical therapy practice focuses on mind and body

aluck@tidewaterreview.com

Traditional physical therapy involves the body and its movement; physical therapists Scott Brubaker Jr. and Kristin Rosler want to focus on a nontraditional practice that emphasizes both the mind and body.

Brubaker and Rosler opened Apex Physical Therapy and Movement Center in New Kent on Oct. 1, and they bring more than 20 years of combined physical therapy experience with them.

The licensed physical therapists, who were previously colleagues at Comber Physical Therapy in Williamsburg, decided they wanted to bring a Parkinson’s Disease-focused national boxing therapy program and a more personal approach to their own practice in a central area between Richmond and Virginia Beach.

Brubaker wanted to focus on neurological issues such as Parkinson’s Disease, movement and balance problems, inner ear issues, vertigo, stroke victims and more.

While the practice treats traditional physical therapy issues, including back pain, injuries, slipped discs and sprains, both Brubaker and Rosler wanted to incorporate integrative manual therapy — a more hands-on approach where physical therapists address the whole body system, tissues and organs through alignments and hand placement, along with physical exercise.

Brubaker introduced Rock Steady Boxing, a national physical therapy program for Parkinson’s patients.

“It is all simple movement focused exercises, but I wanted to be in there helping them gain their muscle back and be able to move around more effectively,” Brubaker said. “We have patients that we do hands-on alignment on, then they go to the class to move the whole body.”

Brubaker said he thinks his practice is different than others because he focuses on the client, their relationship, as well as the client’s physical and mental concerns.

“You have to do all three. You can’t just focus on their underlying problems and not get to know them, that’s part of the healing process,” Brubaker said. “That’s one of the many reasons I started my co-owned practice. I wanted to have all of those components and make people’s physical therapy more personal and effective.”

Brubaker said he understands the limitations of Parkinson’s Disease clients, but also pushes them to work their hardest and do their best.

“They get tired easily, which is understandable,” Brubaker said. “But you have to educate them on why these exercises will help them in the long run.”

Rosler is certified in integrative manual therapy and said she focuses on what may cause the issue, such as underlying problems that may not be as obvious.

“When a client has low back pain, sure it can be an alignment issue or tight muscles,” Rosler said. “But certain systems of the body can cause pain in other areas — back pain can be caused from gastrointestinal issues. I use techniques and massages to work on the organs to help address those issues.”

Rosler became interested in physical therapy after suffering sports-related injuries in high school.

“I worked with an athletic trainer and liked the work they were doing to help people,” Rosler said. “I saw myself helping people like that, but I wanted to help everyone, not just athletes specifically.”

Rosler said she is pleased with how quickly the practice has grown in just the two months since it opened.

“We have clients from Newport News, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Gloucester and Mathews,” Rosler said. “I have a client from Surry County that rides a ferry to come here once a week. I think the word has gotten out about our special targeted therapy, especially since we know doctors from all around from our years of physical therapy.”

Client Gwen Procise came to Brubaker using a walker, but was able to walk without one three weeks after working with him.

Procise, from Newport News, was misdiagnosed earlier this year with Myasthenia Gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that leads to varying degrees of muscle weakness, according to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America.

“I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis and began taking medication and going downhill to the point where I was in a wheelchair,” Procise said. “I wanted a second opinion and knew I had to go somewhere because I was getting worse, so I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland in March.”

At Johns Hopkins, a neurologist went over Procise’s case and did not believe her diagnosis.

“She saw my quick decline and ran some tests. I was misdiagnosed and found out I have Parkinsonsisms.”

Parkinsonsisms is a condition that displays symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and affects different areas of the body, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

After months of appointments and physical therapy, Procise said she didn’t see any real results. Her neurologist in Virginia Beach then recommended a more neurological-based physical therapy, specifically Brubaker at Apex Physical Therapy and Movement Center.

“As soon as I started working with Scott I knew it was different,” Procise said. “I was getting my muscle back and I ditched the walker three weeks after we started.”

The 71-year-old travels to New Kent three days a week for physical therapy and boxing with Brubaker and said he has changed her life.

“He has gotten me to where I am now, back to myself and hope to be in the future,” Procise said. “People in my church have seen me at the worst, have seen me come back and call me a walking miracle.”

Procise said she still takes medication for Parkinsonsisms, but that her therapy with Brubaker helps reduce her symptoms.

Brubaker said he has enjoyed having his own practice and programs where he can spend more time with his clients.

“I get to work and train with them on a personal level, especially in the boxing classes,” Brubaker said. “I have had to accept that clients with neurological issues will always have them, but that I can help relieve some of their symptoms and help them rebuild their lives; that’s why I do what I do.”

Want to know more?

Visit apexptva.com to find out more about Apex Physical Therapy and Movement Center.

Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, aluck@tidewaterreview.com or @ashleyrluck on Twitter

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