“I taught my second Tai Chi class at my church today using the knowledge I gained from my private mentorship with Brian Trzaskos in the BEST program and my enrollment is up to 16 participants! Word is spreading! I need a bigger room and to open up another class! 🙂 Tai Chi is gaining so much popularity! Now is the time to advance your training!” – Lori Kennah
Lori is a Physical Therapist who works part time with HEALTHSOUTH Sewickley and also offers community and private Tai Chi classes. She works with a cash based practice, To Life! Fitness, where professionals have a passion for helping older adults to age safely, strongly, and confidently in place. To Life! Fitness believes that everyone should continue to exercise regardless of their age, ability or past medical history. Lori is excited to use her advanced training in Tai Chi for Rehabilitation to help her clients achieve their goals.
The IRQTC sat down with Lori to find out more about how RQTC has influenced her life and work.
IRQTC: Lori, congratulations on being our first BEST graduate!
Lori: Thank you very much! I was very excited when offered the program and just had to take advantage of it.
IRQTC: You’re on fire for Tai Chi! Give us a recap behind what’s driving you to share Rehabilitative Tai Chi with the people in your life.
Lori: I have been working as a physical therapist in inpatient rehabilitation for over 8 years and have been wanting to add a new skill set to share with the mostly geriatric population that I treat. I’ve been seeing so much research about how Tai Chi is great for balance and easy to learn. It was something that I wanted to pursue since I saw a demo while I was in PT school but never had the courage to try until recently. Once I taught my first Tai Chi community class I was hooked! I am now excited to be learning how to integrate it into what I already do as a PT to offer variety in my care.
IRQTC: How has the Balance Enhancement Specialist Training (BEST) helped you move in that direction more meaningfully?
Lori: It has given me the confidence that I can teach Tai Chi effectively. The program has also provided me with sound research that I can use to provide better explanations of the health benefits of Tai Chi. I feel the program has helped to focus my attention on a few important aspects of Tai Chi instead of trying to learn everything at once. Tai Chi encompasses so much more than I will ever know so a focus point is ideal.
IRQTC: Do you feel like the Fundamentals and BEST programs have been able to help you validate Tai Chi in the rehabilitative work place?
Lori: Absolutely! Every treatment we do as physical therapists needs to be evidence based. Both the Fundamentals and BEST programs provide many research articles that set the background for why Tai Chi has a place in health and wellness in the western world.
IRQTC: One of the reasons that you are the very first Rehabilitative Tai Chi Balance Enhancement Specialist is because you’ve been so highly motivated, and you chose to complete the training via a professional mentorship. What did you find valuable about the IRQTC professional mentorship program?
Lori: What attracted me to the program was first of all the convenience. As a busy mom, having the ability to choose a date that suits my schedule made a big difference in the decision to pursue this program.
Also, during a course with other participants, the instructor is going around and giving feedback on a limited basis. A lot of time you are paired with another individual who is also learning, which is great, but it’s just wonderful to have that immediate and personal feedback from the actual instructor continuously. It makes you nervous at first, but there is such a benefit to having that specific type of training.
IRQTC: Do you feel like the professional mentorship was worth your time and effort?
Lori: I do! So much communication these days is through email and other impersonal methods. There is such value to having someone who is an expert in the field be available in person to pass along his or her knowledge. Now that we were able to connect in person I am grateful to have the long distance communication in addition to what has already been provided through the in person training.
IRQTC: Why would you recommend someone take the Balance Enhancement Specialist Training (BEST)?
Lori: I would recommend just about anyone to take this training because it has not only helped me in my professional life but also my personal life. Whether you are a doctor with extensive medical training or a stay at home mom, we all need to learn how to better take care of ourselves before we can try and take care of anyone else. I love that emphasis in the course. If we are tense, anxious, and already thinking about the end of the day, how can we take care of those in the present moment? As a physical therapist I would encourage anyone in the rehabilitation field to pursue this training. It really gets to the core of why some of our patients just don’t seem to be getting any better despite our efforts.
IRQTC: Why would you recommend that someone take the professional mentoring track?
Lori: To mirror what I said earlier, the immediate feedback from the instructor will help improve you as a person in whatever you decide to do, and it will also help your confidence. It’s easy to hide in a crowd when you have a group of peers, so it just pushes you to work a little bit harder.
IRQTC: Think big dreams! Where would you love to go with Tai Chi?
Lori: It’s one thing to be able to offer Tai Chi to people when they pay out of pocket, but I would love to have it integrated into the healthcare system where people have better and more affordable access to it. For example, offer Tai Chi with outpatient PT visits for someone who has balance deficits and then have a continuum of care with a community Tai Chi class. Most people are readmitted to the hospital several times a year because they do not continue taking care of their health when they go home. I want to provide people with all the knowledge and tools they need to live a long and happy life!