Welcome to Therapeutic Movement Seminars, where we invite you to view movement, exercise and musculoskeletal injury in a whole new light. We understand that the map is not the territory—the menu is not the meal. In other words, we look at movement & rehabilitation from a different perspective—conceptually and experientially.
Similarly, memorizing anatomical facts is not the same as understanding movement—and prescribing exercise is clearly not the same as teaching movement skills. Exercise for the purpose of building sarcomeres, improving cardio-vascular fitness or affecting connective tissue properties is fundamentally different from an exercise that seeks to teach functionally relevant movement, appropriate body mechanics, arthrokinematic control and dynamic postural control—exercise for motor control purposes needs to be approached differently than exercise for physiological purposes.
At TMS, we specialize in the nuts and bolts of integrated movement, or how the various parts of the body cooperate with and support each other in a coordinated state of mutual benefit. In our courses, books, CDs and videos, we will be helping you to look past the exercise and see the movement, to look past the parts and see the patterns.
Gordon Browne, PT, GCFP
I’m a physical therapist and have been around for a while, having started my career in the early 1980’s. Being a movement junkie growing up—being pretty good at games, sports and martial arts—I went to PT school because I wanted to learn about movement. I learned lots of great stuff in my rehab training, but learning about how the body moves or how to get a body to move better was not one of them. For this, I had to venture outside traditional rehab sources. I have studied the Feldenkrais Method, T’ai Chi, Yoga and Qi Gong over the last 30 years, and have incorporated elements of these movement systems into my PT practice. These are all examples of what we will call Dynamic Integrated Movement systems. Learning and utilizing these systems opened my eyes to the unintentional mistakes and erroneous assumptions seen in much of both rehab related and fitness related exercise. I started teaching continuing education courses to rehab professionals in 1999 and have written 3 books: A Manual Therapists Guide to Movement (book and CDs), Outsmarting Low Back Pain (book and video) and Integrated Patterns of Movement (book and video). I live in the Seattle, Washington area with my wife and co-conspirator Julie and, with the kids out of the nest, just a couple of old dogs and a very vocal cat named Scampers. I practice what I preach—most of my workouts are movement-based (various yoga, t’ai chi or qi gong routines). I love the outdoors and hike, backpack and sea kayak extensively from Alaska to Arizona.
- Physical Therapist Degree from University of Washington, 1983
- Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, 1994
Julie Browne, PTA, GCFP
Some might say I began my career young and a little backward—I completed my Feldenkrais training first, then continued my studies as a Physical Therapist Assistant. I knew early on that Gordon would create his own niche within our profession. It didn’t take long to recognize that what he calls ‘a passion for movement’ is actually an ‘obsession’! For the past 20+ years we’ve created, changed, modified and clarified our role as rehab professionals and as continuing education providers. I am co-founder of Therapeutic Movement Seminars, lead instructional lab assistant for our live seminars, direct all our business and marketing materials and the communications officer—if there’s anything you need to know, I’m your gal! With a passion for high-quality, patient-centered care, I enjoy working two days a week at Bellevue Physical Therapy, treating a wide variety of orthopedic conditions using integrated movement and postural control as my primary treatment approach. In my free time, I’m family focused and an outdoor enthusiast. Favorite activities include backpacking, sea kayaking, reading, spending time with friends and working in the yard.
- Physical Therapist Assistant Degree from Green River College, 1998
- Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, 1996
Jeni Gall, DPT
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with human movement, particularly the differences from person to person in how we walk, gesture when we talk, carry ourselves, and interact with our environment. I went to physical therapy school to deepen my understanding of “how movement works” and so I could teach others to move in ways that help them feel and function better. I was lucky enough to land my first job out of school in outpatient pediatrics, where I learned to see movement from a whole-body perspective and appreciate the infinite adaptability of the human experience. This ability to see the big picture has served me well in all settings, particularly skilled nursing and home health.
When I started working in outpatient orthopedics, I saw a real need for a deeper connection to the details of movement for rehab clients and athletic injuries than can typically be taught in a busy ortho clinic, so I branched out on my own and started MovePT in 2014. I specialize in puzzles, chronic or recurrent injuries, and those challenging cases that need a wide-angle lens. My treatment style combines dynamic integrated movement patterns, as learned from my training with Gordon and years of studying yoga, martial arts, and developmental movement, with manual therapies including myofascial release and craniosacral therapy. I also teach community classes, workshops, and programs for fitness trainers and yoga practitioners. I started teaching for Therapeutic Movement Seminars in November 2014.
In my own life, I have shifted from “needing to exercise” to “having a movement practice” and make sure to get my daily dose in a wide variety of ways. This includes early morning walks (my meditation), yoga, Barre3, swimming, strength training, and practicing movement skills like handstands, crawling progressions, swinging and climbing, vaulting and balancing. I have tried so many things along the way and have loved (nearly) all – martial arts, tennis, belly dancing, step aerobics, spinning, running 5Ks and Pilates, to name a few.
I live in Vancouver, Washington with two grade schoolers, my husband, and an aging dog. We downhill ski, swim (indoors and out), hike, take bike rides, raise a community garden, and read a lot of books. My kids take music lessons and inspired me to start piano in October 2017 – yet another way to study the wonders of human movement.
- Doctor of Physical Therapy, Pacific University, 2003
- Orthopedic Movement Specialist, Therapeutic Movement Seminars, 2014
- MovNat Level I Certified Fitness Trainer, 2017
Orthodoxy and conventional wisdom has a habit of changing over time. When I came out of physical therapy school in 1983, we didn’t even have a philosophy for how bodies moved, or how bodies moved optimally. We just knew where muscles were and how to make them contract. We developed the science and technology of progressive resistance exercise to make individual muscles stronger. We adopted ways to mobilize specific joints or to stretch discreet facial planes. Bodies were machines, made of parts, and we were the mechanics. This was the ground floor of understanding—the era of ‘Isolate & Localize’.
Then along came Joseph Pilates and the good folks at the University of Queensland, who started talking about inter-relationships among these components. Progressing beyond old isolate and localize notions, Pilates philosophy and core stabilization principles now dominate orthopedic rehabilitation thinking. Their guiding concepts, either explicitly stated or implied in the exercises derived from them, have heavily influenced the way we look at movement and the way we prescribe corrective exercise. These ideas represent the new orthodoxy, and we are now in the era of ‘Static Integration’.
Integration implies that there are relationships between the parts—limbs to trunk, pelvis to head, scapula to thorax, etc. Static Integration derived exercise is primarily concerned with how to stabilize one part from moving as another part is moved. We even have a nifty mantra for this—proximal stability facilitates distal mobility. And, in some cases, this is actually true. But core stabilization exercise is not all that fundamentally different from our old isolate and localize paradigm. Kendall & Kendell, with a stylish new haircut. Doctrinal orthodoxy, modernized from vinyl to digital.
In essence, we simply moved from assumed or unconscious stability to trained or intentional stability. We moved from ignorance about integration to acknowledgement that bodies are integrated, but collectively we still have the same underlying misunderstanding about how bodies are coordinated. And these misunderstandings persist because both world views are insidiously and invisibly colored by a language construct we all had drilled into us in anatomy class—origin and insertion thinking.
Sadly, while origin and insertion thinking is a handy way of learning individual anatomical structures, it does not provide a realistic vision of how to integrate or optimally coordinate those structures. Fortunately, there is another way, a better way of thinking about how the body is, or should be, integrated. One that is not based on anatomical minutia and mechanistic thinking, but on realistic observation of whole-body functional movement and informed by principles of optimal movement. One that doesn’t demand piece-meal movement of individual parts, but one that allows for dynamic trunk movement and realistic pelvic control.
‘Dynamic Integration’ exercise has existed for a long time, but derives from movement systems that we in the West have historically dismissed as being unscientific. Yoga, Feldenkrais, T’ai Chi, Qi Gong and others dynamic systems are rich and complex, with oodles of juicy content for the curious and open-minded rehab professional. The bodies of work are sublime, but the language used to describe what they do can come off as soft and squishy—the kiss of death for the science minded health practitioner. Fortunately, there’s no need to swallow hook, line and sinker—and no need to wear special garments!
We can mute what they say about their systems and make our own interpretations. We can develop our own language to describe what each movement does, who we could use it with, what functional movement it simulates, and who it is contra-indicated for—and why. We can modify select movements to make them more appropriate for a rehab setting, then medically articulate and scientifically justify what we are doing to ourselves, our patients, our doctors and our payers. This is what we at TMS have been doing since 1999—East meets West on the common ground of muscle synergy analysis, functional application and clinical relevance.
We have done the work of observing and analyzing the gamut of human movement with our clients, have developed a coherent language and logical rationale, have spent countless hours exploring movement sequences in our own body, and have thereby gained invaluable insight about how to best optimize movement in our orthopedic patients. This type of expertise is impossible to get from a book or lecture, a theory or a double blind study. In going through this process ourselves, we have recognized that the best way to understand movement is to move—to pop open the hood and get your hands dirty.
It is this rare combination of clear didactic reasoning and eye-opening experiential training that makes us unique. To this end, we first analyze, articulate and provide solid scientific rationale for what we teach—Dynamic Integrated movement principles and techniques. Then, instead of sitting in a chair watching PowerPoint presentations, we engage you in a variety of fun and inter-related activities—group observation, partner practice, movement assessment, mini-lectures and personal participation in a series of progressive, non-traditional exercises or movement puzzles.
So if this resonates with you, if you’re willing to listen to unconventional wisdom, or if you have a personal affinity for movement, come check us out—we have a range of options to choose from. For a just-curious taste test, check out ‘Integrated Patterns of Movement’ on this site. If you’re willing to take off your socks and splash around in the shallows, come to one of our weekend courses. Or, for the full Imax experience, sign up for our certification program. Whatever level of immersion you are interested in, we are confident that you will never look at movement and exercise the same again!
In 1997, I went to a Con Ed course on movement, exercise and motor control. During the entire two-day course, I didn’t get out of my chair once. There were Venn diagrams, bullet points and theories galore, but the only movement I did was scribbling notes and stifling yawns. I came away with tons of information, none of which I could use clinically. The theories presented about how movement is organized didn’t really tell me anything about how to teach someone how to better organize their own movement. The map is not the territory—the menu is not the meal.
I come from a movement background. Enjoying sports, games and martial arts as a kid, I went to physical therapy school because I wanted to learn more about movement. Sadly, just like the Con Ed course, I learned virtually nothing about clinically related movement.
What is optimal movement—can we codify it? What constitutes sub-optimal movement—and how can we assess it? How can we facilitate improved movement and postural behavior on the part of our patients—thereby reducing pain and improving function? In essence, what do I want to teach—and how do I want to teach it?
Seven years after receiving my shiny new PT license, and after seven years of realizing I wasn’t going to get any meaningful movement training from within my beloved profession, I joined an intensive four-year movement training program in 1990. My Feldenkrais training was great, and I personally learned a lot about my own particular movement deficits in that delicious four years. However, though the experiential part of the training was sublime, it was markedly lacking in logic, reasoning, analysis and application to both daily life and to clinically relevant movement and pain problems.
I got personal and subjective information from one source. I got general and objective information from another source. But there was no connection—each camp used different language, thought along different pathways, and operated with different paradigms. Nevertheless, I could see a glimmer of affinity—though they seemed to be on the opposite side of a chasm, information could still be exchanged. Mostly, I could tell that the movements I learned in my Feldenkrais training could be utilized, with modifications, in my orthopedic practice.
Following that thread, I embarked on a project of bridge-building—knowing full well that bridges tend to get walked on from both sides. Using what I learned in my training with my ortho patients, I experimented and observed, thought and analyzed. I compared movement training techniques and strategies to traditional exercise prescription models. Making tons of mistakes, I developed a thought process and created a language that I could use to document my work and to explain to colleagues what I was doing, and why.
By the time I got to that 1997 ‘movement and motor control’ course, I had a pretty good start on a comprehensive system of rehab-specific movement training. Leaving that course with some degree of deflation and with more than a little empathy for my profession, I was pretty sure I had something valuable to offer to my colleagues. Loaded up with tons of content, having added Yoga and T’ai Chi to my toolbox, and armed with a solid conceptual framework, I decided to throw my hat in the ring. It was then that Therapeutic Movement Seminars came into being.
Since starting in my living room and begging friends and co-workers to come for free, TMS has grown exponentially. From that first weekend course on the hips and low back, we have expanded to offering seven distinct movement-related courses, have written two books, and are now teaching our sixth immersive two-year certification program. We produce our own courses locally and nationally, teach at state conferences and private institutions around the country, and have been traveling to international invitations for the last five years. So, why should you consider trying out this approach?
One, I know our patients love this stuff—they are thirsty for personally actionable information and are excited when they become aware of the control they can have over their own well-being. Two, the most common comments we get on evaluation forms is how much participants learn and benefit from the information personally—they love the way the movements make them feel. And three, since we are aspiring to doctoral level work, I believe we need to provide our patients with something better than what they can get off the internet or from their personal trainer. Finally, on a personal note, I love this stuff—and though I’m no spring chicken, I can’t imagine doing anything