Incorporate Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine into Your Practice

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Ziya Altug, PT, DPT, MS, OCS is a board-certified doctor of physical therapy with 32 years of clinical experience treating musculoskeletal injuries. Z currently provides outpatient physical therapy in the home setting in Los Angeles, California, and serves as a continuing education instructor. He received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh in 1989, a Master of Science in Sport and Exercise Studies in 1985, a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education in 1983 from West Virginia University, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from the College of St. Scholastica in 2015. Z is a long-standing member of the American Physical Therapy Association and a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He has attended workshops in yoga, tai chi, qigong, Pilates, Feldenkrais Method, and the Alexander Technique.

Dr. Altug is the author of the books Integrative Healing: Developing Wellness in the Mind and Body (2018), The Anti-Aging Fitness Prescription (2006), and Manual of Clinical Exercise Testing, Prescription, and Rehabilitation (1993). In 2020, he published the chapter Exercise, Dance, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Alexander Technique in The Handbook of Wellness Medicine. In 2021, he published the article Lifestyle Medicine for Chronic Lower Back Pain: An Evidence-Based Approach in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Z joins the H&W faculty and is presenting his personally curated course Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Toolbox for Rehab and Pain Management. This week he sat down with The Pelvic Rehab Report to discuss his course.


What made you want to create this course?
My father was a physician specializing in internal medicine. He specialized in treating conditions such as tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. Starting in elementary school, I remember discussing with my Dad the importance of nutrition, sleep, stress control, and sustainable activity in healing. Of course, as a ten-year-old, I played with his stethoscope and reflex hammer for hours! My father used “lifestyle medicine” principles to help his patients recover. My Mom introduced me to the benefits of aromatherapy for relaxation. She used to wash our clothes with lavender-scented soaps, and there was lavender-scented potpourri throughout our house. My mother used to say the lavender was to “keep the wolves away so the sheep can sleep.” She also taught me how to prepare and cook healthful meals in high school. Now, I have a fascination with culinary medicine. I am very grateful for all of these childhood experiences.

Before entering PT school, I majored in physical education and exercise science. After I graduated from PT school, I wanted to use my interest in wellness, health, fitness, and self-care strategies to help patients heal and recover. Recently, I have followed the American College of Lifestyle Medicine research and webinars to gain additional knowledge. Currently, I treat patients in their homes and teach continuing education courses in integrative and lifestyle medicine.

What need does your course fill in the field of pelvic rehabilitation?
This course provides practical tools to help clinicians manage pain. For example, my course will cover research, resources, and labs to create clinically relevant pain, anxiety, depression, and stress management strategies using lifestyle medicine, integrative medicine, and expressive and art-based therapies. Participants will be able to practice Tai Chi/Qigong, expressive and art-based therapies including Music, Dance, and Drama Therapy, nature and aromatic therapies, self-hypnosis, and self-massage. All of these strategies may be helpful for clinicians specializing in pelvic rehabilitation.

Who, what demographic, would benefit from your course?
Rehabilitation providers of any experience level would benefit from taking this course.

What patient population do you find most rewarding in treating and why?
I currently focus on orthopedics and geriatrics. I especially enjoy working with older patients in their homes and designing creative home exercise programs they can use to stay healthy.

What do you find is the most useful resource for your practice?
I enjoy using resources from the following organizations:

What books or articles have impacted you as a clinician?
I enjoyed reading the following three books to expand my knowledge of lifestyle medicine and integrative medicine:

  • Lifestyle Medicine by James Rippe
  • Lifestyle Medicine Handbook by Beth Frates and colleagues
  • Lifestyle Medicine by Garry Egger and colleagues

What is your message to course participants who are just starting their journey?
I recommend all clinicians collaborate with professionals outside their own profession. For example, I recommend physical therapists work with the following:

  • Acupuncturists, massage therapists, registered dietitians
  • Practitioners in yoga, Pilates, qigong, tai chi, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method
  • Specialists in expressive therapies such as dance, music, art, drama, poetry, and play.

Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Toolbox for Rehab and Pain Management

Course Covers 1

Course Dates:
January 21, 2023

Price: $125
Experience Level: Beginner
Contact Hours: 4.5

Description: This course was written and developed by Ziya “Z” Altug, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, a board-certified doctor of physical therapy with 32 years of experience in treating musculoskeletal conditions, Brief lectures on the research and resources and labs will cover a toolbox approach for creating clinically relevant pain, anxiety, depression, and stress management strategies using lifestyle medicine, integrative medicine, expressive and art-based therapies, and the impact of nature on health. Participants will be able to practice Tai Chi/Qigong, expressive and art-based therapies including Music, Dance, and Drama Therapy, nature and aromatic therapiesself-hypnosis, and self-massage

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