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Moving Well Podcast

The Moving Well Podcast gives you fitness advice for efficient, effective and pain free exercise.
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Sep 4, 2018

In this episode, Janet and Nikki chat with Theo St Francis & Stephanie Behrendt Comella about the process of recovering from a spinal cord injury (SCI) and their project Zebra Fish Neuro.

They discuss:

  • The difference between the traditional medical model for working with a SCI and a movement based approach
  • Why Pilates inherently lends itself to being so beneficial to this group
  • The benefits of getting on the ground and using rolling patterns after an SCI
  • Why the diagnostic tests may not always accurately measure SCI recovery
  • Zebra Fish Neuro and how it will help movement teachers, Pilates instructors, and fitness professionals work with people who have an SCI

About Stephanie Behrendt Comella

Stephanie has engaged in over 15,000 hours working directly with individuals with spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. She was first introduced to Pilates in 2014, which forever changed her thinking about spinal cord injury rehabilitation. 

Stephanie graduated from University of California, Davis in 2011 with a B.S. in Exercise Biology. She studied sports medicine and exercise-based rehabilitation as an intern with the university's Division I athletes. After graduation, Stephanie served as a Neuro Exercise Therapist and Manager at a spinal cord injury & neurological disorder specialty gym in Pleasanton, CA for almost 5 years before starting a Pilates-based SCI recovery program – AbsoluteENDEAVOR – at Absolute Center in Lafayette, CA in 2015.

She blends her formal education, vast experience with SCI, and training in Pilates and mindful movement to provide a unique style of training that is focused on body re-connection. 

Stephanie is a Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) Certified Pilates Instructor through Balanced Body, as well as an American Council on Exercise (ACE) professional since 2008.

About Theo St. Francis

Theo has been exploring the vast landscape of body-reconnection since his 2013 injury at the start of his Mechanical Engineering and collegiate swimming careers at MIT. Having the trajectory of his healing completely redirected by his practice of Pilates, Theo is now working on ways for others to benefit from the same effective therapy.

Theo is the author of TheOvercoming blog, where he shares the journey of reconnecting to his body. Since he first read Calais-Germain's Anatomy of Movement textbook while in a cervical collar at inpatient rehab, he has approached his healing as a research project on which his life depends.

Having sought out and worked with Pilates instructors around the country on his healing journey, Theo seeks to blend various mindful practices to discover which ways best reconnect a paralyzed body. He lives to problem-solve and cannot wait to resume his studies in Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

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