The PT Perspective Featuring Kate Cysewski, PT, DPT

In a new blog series, Body Gears physical therapists share their perspectives on what it means to work at a company that is quickly bringing Functional Manual Therapy™ to the forefront, reshaping the industry and healing patients. In this installment, Dr. Kate Cysewski, PT, DPT, shares her PT Perspective.

It’s not necessary to book a physical therapy session with Dr. Kate Cysewski, PT, DPT, to see why so many patients come to see her at the Winnetka or Oak Park Body Gears locations, but you’ll be glad you did. After almost two years with Body Gears, this very determined PT exudes a confidence and serenity that makes clients immediately feel that they are in good hands.

Originally from Lincolnshire, Ill., Cysewski went to Northwestern for her undergraduate degree and then to Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY, for a Doctorate with an emphasis in manual therapy. She played volleyball in clubs and school for all four years but was never seriously injured or needed physical therapy.

“At Northwestern my studies were pre-med,” said Cysewski. “I loved the human body and anatomy, physics and athletics, but didn’t know what my place would be in the medical community and didn’t want to go to medical school.”

Cysewski tagged along one day to a physical therapy session for her mom’s frozen shoulder; she was intrigued by the session, and later fell into a job at a clinic as an exercise tech. From that point on she was hooked.

Once she began her graduate work, she noticed an emphasis in Functional Manual Therapy™ (FMT) coming from one of her professors who was certified. Because of this, many of the Institute of Physical Art (founding institution for FMT) courses were taught there and Cysewski had taken three of the basic level courses before ever setting foot in a clinic.

One of her last internships in graduate school was with Body Gears, and Cysewski had the opportunity to work with April Oury, PT MS, IOC, CFMT, FAAOMPT, and her staff in the downtown location. No other company in the area practiced FMT, and it was her first chance to use the skills she learned in graduate school alongside a PT who was already using it.

Cysewski spent ten weeks interning with Body Gears and at the end of her internship she had a meeting with Oury where she told her, “If you aren’t going to offer me a job, I’m going to beg you for one because I’m not going to get this experience anywhere else and I’m not going to help people get better, at this level, anywhere else.”

Body Gears hired Cysewski in 2014 and she now splits her time, spending Monday and Wednesday in Oak Park and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in Winnetka. In Oak Park she sees a lot of student athletes and does plenty of orthopedic work; whereas in Winnetka, she treats weekend warriors, more active individuals, and a lot of headaches and TMJ.

“I treated one of my patients who was complaining of jaw pain and she went to her dentist and told him that I had ‘fixed her’ in two visits,” said Cysewski. “He is a fantastic dentist and wanted to know more about what we were doing at Body Gears. Oury and I went to see him to tell him what we can do for TMJ and facial pain. He started coming to see me as a patient and then began referring me to his patients who he could only get to progress so far.”

Right now, Cysewski and the dentist co-treat patients. He works with the jaw and bite and she works with soft tissues, joints, posture, and strength to complement his work.

“We want to make sure the patient is getting what they need from all ends,” said Cysewski. “I am proud of the referral relationship I’ve built up here – and I think TMJ is my niche.”

Cysewski appreciates Body Gears holistic approach to physical therapy, including making certain that the PTs have good relationships with their patients’ doctors and give the patients the right referral sources if/when they are needed.

“I think that from the moment someone walks in the door we look at the whole person as opposed to their diagnosis and what is on their script or what they say is going on with them,” said Cysewski. “It’s our way of viewing patients not just as patients but as clients and individuals. It’s what totally sets us apart. It’s about our patients – not about us. It’s about how we help patients function without pain or as pain free as possible.”

Cysewski is currently studying to be certified as a FMT, one of five Body Gears PTs taking the certification exam in August. (Presently, only 23 people can take the test each year and there are fewer than 300 CFMTs in the world). She can frequently be seen with her manuals, discussing with patients what she is doing for them and why.

“I think the level of education we provide the patients, not just about their condition but about what we are doing and why we are doing it also helps their body to accept what we are doing,” said Cysewski. “To understand what is going on with your body helps you accept whatever dysfunction is there and then weed it out. Our way of educating patients definitely aids in recovery.”

Cysewski has her first student shadowing her now. After being a student herself two years ago, she wants to be sure she can mentor other budding PTs and to share her love of FMT because she feels most students aren’t exposed to that in schools. She also wants to get her yoga certification and to implement that into the FMT work she already does.

“The great thing about April and Body Gears is that they want us to find something that we are passionate about outside of physical therapy and to be able to incorporate it,” said Cysewski.

The extremely ambitious and energetic PT, who was married September of 2015, adds children to her impressive list of future goals, along with a focus on women’s health and more specific TMJ coursework.

Kate Cysewski family photo The PT Perspective Featuring Kate Cysewski, PT, DPT

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