SOUTH FLORIDA REVIEW BLOG
South Florida's Source For Local Happenings
SOUTH FLORIDA REVIEW BLOG
South Florida's Source For Local Happenings
Meeting Dr. Aracelly Latino-Feliz, who introduced herself as "Ara" was such a delight. She is one of those souls who lights up a room and has this amazing soothing, energy that just oozes out of her. She has a beautiful ability to make you feel like you've known each other for years. You will end up leaving feeling so much more enlightened and educated, as she is very thorough in explaining and sharing her experiences.
Our interview took place in Dr. Latino's exceptionally clean, high vibe private practice room, located in the heart of Dania Beach, FL on 11/30/2017.
We highly recommend that you visit Ara at the Movement Therapy Institute for any orthopedic, neurophysiological and chronic body pain issues. Dr. Aracelly Latino-Feliz is the TOP PHYSICAL THERAPIST in DANIA BEACH and the surrounding areas.
Our interview went as follows:
Interviewer: So tell me a little bit about your business. How long have you been in business?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: I have been a physical therapist for ten years. I've been in private practice for about three years and I own a concierge physical therapy practice.
Interviewer: And you've been here the whole time?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: No, when I got out of physical therapy school I worked in Fort Lauderdale for about two years and then I met my husband. We got married and relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. So I worked out of a clinic there in Oakland, California for four years and learned different business models out there. Physical therapy - the approach was completely new to me. When I came back, I brought back everything I learned, and knew exactly what I was looking for in terms of what I wanted to provide in service and I decided to open my own practice.
Interviewer: Awesome! What got you into physical therapy?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: What got me into physical therapy was just the drive to want to help humanity. I have a passion for health, education, the human body and just learning in general. We are a complex system, made up of multiple systems and being able to understand all of that and then create an environment where people can heal. It's a wonderful profession and allows people the opportunity to move forward despite having an accident. Someone can thrive despite losing a limb, having a fracture, traumatic brain injury or a stroke. Life may change after an injury but it's not over. It's never over until we are actually gone. So, we have to be able to work with what we've got, whether it's a cardiovascular issue, a sprained ankle, or knee surgery.
Interviewer: Did anyone inspire you?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: You know, I was going through my own journey when I was very young - about 14, I started getting hurt almost about every year in high school. I played soccer, I ran track and I cheered. I was constantly on the go and although I suffered multiple injuries I was able to seek physical therapy and get back on the field. So I learned very quickly that my body had the capacity to restore itself. However, I knew something was missing and I think that, that is what lead me to physical therapy - where I got better, but then I would keep getting injured and it was like, "well, why am I still getting injured?" It wasn't until after I graduated from physical therapy school that I started getting more chronic pain, that I was just like, "there's something missing here". I'm doing physical therapy, I'm doing all these things - it's a lifestyle and I think that's what people have to understand - and this is why I am in private practice BECAUSE it is a lifestyle change. Physical therapists are really health coaches - when we think about what we really provide for our community - it is education. But it's the education that allows people to really understand how to take care of themselves, how to eat well, how to manage stress and then, how to move and understand how our body moves - the neurophysiology behind it.
Dr. Latino-Feliz: I'm certified in different things - I've done Graston technique, I've done active release technique, I've done Kinesiology taping, Rock tape - all these different modalities. All these modalities are tools that you can use to be able to allow the nervous system to get into what's called the "Parasympathetic state", where healing occurs.
When we are in survival mode, which is where stress, pain, anger, frustration live, we are allowing our bodies to tap into the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is known as your rest and digest state; where you're relaxed, you're on vacation, you're like in your groove with whatever it is you're doing. Ideally we want our body in that parasympathetic state, so my job as a physical therapist is to get people in that parasympathetic state because it is also where healing occurs. You can't heal if you're stressed out or going through whatever you're going through - your body is just trying to survive. That is why it is in pain. So to get you out of pain and to be able to understand the importance of what it is you're dealing with it - and it could be the loss of a parent, or going through a divorce or kids are just three toddlers running around and you can't keep up because you're not getting much sleep ...
So, I bring that sense of calm when people come in here and I am able to address what the root of the problem is. Usually it is not just shoulder pain because we are not "parts" - it's a whole person -it's a whole body; the whole system.
Interviewer: So what was the toughest thing you went through when opening?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: It was really getting past just what is the standard of physical therapy. So, most physical therapists when you go to physical therapy school, are not trained to be entrepreneurs. You really kind of just are either working in a hospital or you work for an outpatient physical therapy practice, or inpatient with a skilled nursing facility or something like that, or home path - if you want a little bit more liberty.
The hardest part is really understanding that: one, I didn't want to be in debt and taking out a business loan was something that, personally where I was in my life - I just didn't want to do. And one of my mentors - you had mentioned who was my mentor - I had several. So one of them specifically - the last two of them that I worked for - they were both amazing physical therapists and business owners. They told me
"start small and stay small and then you can grow from there". I took that advice and one of the biggest struggles was really knowing that I could and had everything I needed in order to go forward because the fear of not being successful or what would it be like not taking insurance, what kind of resistance would be there ... So I think that just getting past that and overcoming that fear of "it's going to be fine, it's going to be successful, I'm going to make it work and I am going to really help people". That is what really drove me - knowing that my mission is far greater than my fear - it was something that I HAD to do!
Interviewer: You are such a light!
Dr. Latino-Feliz: Thank you!
Interviewer: Awesome! You're very educating as well! So what is the number one way you currently bring in new customers?
Interviewer: So what is a way that you actually take care of yourself so that you're really enjoying what you do and being regenerated so you can serve?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: That's a great question! My lifestyle is my work so, on a daily basis I implement meditation. Being able to take care of my own mindset - whether that means speaking to a counselor every once in a while. Maybe every six months if something is going on and I feel like I need a little bit of shifted perspective, I'll go see someone. I see it as a mental health coach. You know if mentally I'm thinking about a situation that really is just taking me off my game or just if something is perturbing me and I am not able to get off of it, someone can give me a fresh perspective like, "why not?"
So, I do that and also I've worked with our registered dietitian and our coaches here - we're a huge support because we also take care of ourselves and we want to make sure that we're holding ourselves accountable. I'm not asking you to do X, Y and Z and I don't do it. Where's my integrity?
I make sure that I consistently take care of myself in that way - from a mindset standpoint. Nutrition, recovery - we take field trips to the Turkish Bathhouse, I've gone to different spas, get my nails done, I support the community, I go to the beach. I make sure I'm taking the necessary time to take care of myself, and not allow the stress - because it can be stressful when you're dealing with a business, and then coaching, clients and you have this and that, life: then you've got to clean the house, you know - all these things. You've got to be able to juggle it all. More importantly is the movement. I have a coach as well. I have a mentor that is there to support me, to encourage me, to push me because sometimes I don't want to do things - honestly, I'm tired or recently my grandmother passed away ...
Interviewer: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
Dr. Latino-Feliz: It's okay, but you know, it's life. People get sick and we are emotional, sentient beings. We have feelings and we can't pretend that we are machines. So we have to feel and realize that we are not a victim of our circumstances and life doesn't happen to us. We choose constantly - even if it's something like someone passing or losing a job. I tell my patients, "stuff's going to happen but you still have to take care of yourself. This is all we own - is our body, when we think about it. Not our cars, not our homes because at the end of the day if any of that goes ..."
That hurricane that came - you know for a second I thought "we're going to lose everything". But we still have ourselves. So, being able to go back to the reality of what really matters and that is our health and taking care of ourselves. I do that on a daily basis and make sure that I'm around people that can support me and that are also doing that for themselves. So, it's easier.
Interviewer: I totally agree. So how do you deal with the different energies that come in?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: I think that everyone that I've encountered is unique in their own way and that's a beautiful thing. So I am just able to to connect with people and when I hear stories, there's never been one person that I've encountered that doesn't remind me of myself to some extent.
Putting myself in that person's shoes, having compassion - when people come to see me, they're going through something. Very rarely do I ever meet someone where everything is peachy. When people open up and they talk to me about what's going on even if it's their knee really bothering them and they can't go for a walk like they used to or reach down and play soccer with their daughter or whatever - when I hear people going through that, I make a conscious effort to be present when I'm speaking to them and put myself in their shoes.
How would I feel if I'm on the other end? If I really can't relate to the person - which is rare - then I just make it a point to be professional and again, treat that person like a family member. When someone walks in, it's a new moment every single time and this person could very well be my grandmother, my mom, my brother, my sister and I WANT to help them! That's why I got into this field.
Interviewer: Can you give an example of a successful story that seemed impossible that became possible because you facilitated it?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: Yes! There are so many! I kind of want to share two. Only because one is an orthopedic case and the other is a neurological case. So I'll share the orthopedic case. This woman - she was probably when she came in was around sixty three years old. Hairstylist, very fun, expressive individual. She came in with chronic bilateral (both sides) pain, otherwise known as golfer's elbow from all the work she did as a hairstylist. It's called Medial epicondylitis - it's basically an inflammation of the tendon - overuse injury typically. She also came in limping, where she had severe low back pain affecting her entire left leg. So she had all sorts of neurological symptoms . She came in and we discussed apart from just her symptoms, is anything going on in her life: what are her eating habits, what are her sleeping habits, how is she coping with stress, how is stress at work?
So all these questions and then I started working with her. I explained to her that it's going to take some time but more importantly it's a lifestyle change. I think that I can't stress that enough that when people go to physical therapy they think that it's a quick fix but there is no such as a quick fix. We are not machines. We are human beings. We are constantly adapting. Now can we adapt in a way where pain goes away and we move better? Absolutely! So, I explained this to her and we've been working together for a year and a half now and ... No pain, she basically saved herself from an epidural and multiple cortisol injections that all the doctors that she was seeing were recommending and she had imaging that supported that.
Interviewer: Wow! You said there was another story!
Dr. Latino-Feliz: There was another story! An older gentleman who was in his eighties who had a stroke a long time ago. Typically I don't see neurological cases, but I took this case on and it was really amazing to see how quickly he progressed. This was three years ago. The last two years, I've actually changed the way I implement my work since I started working with my coach.
The older man had issues with his breathing, issues with being able to walk; fear of falling - you know all these things that you can encounter as you start to age and then let alone having had a stroke. This individual has also gone through some other stuff that I'd rather not discuss, but the reason I mention this story is because he tells me, "you know, you saved my life" I really do feel that together we've been able to create some amazing work and I am not going to take the credit for that but I really do feel that I definitely supported his process. He was able to see the value and be able to put himself first and take care of himself, by understanding what was driving some of the ailments that were happening - it wasn't just orthopedic medical issues but really how he was coping with stress, how he was breathing, what position he was sleeping. He wasn't drinking enough water! You know all these type of things we think are trivial but that really make such a big difference.
Interviewer: Do you also ask them about their bowel moments?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: I see myself continuing to do work here with my patients and being more in the clinic. I also teach for the University of St. Augustine. I taught a professionalism course and assist with the Gross Anatomy Lab and Neuroanatomy lab. Being able to continue with that but more time in the clinic. Also, potentially growing my business by bringing in another partner and be able to expand it that way. Then going out into the community doing seminars as well as continuing education courses for providers.
Interviewer: Do you travel all the way to St. Augustine?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: No I don't. They have a Miami campus.
Interviewer: I was going to say! I was thinking "Wow, what a busy life if you had to drive all the way there".
Dr. Latino-Feliz: I go anywhere between three times a week, but in six months I'm probably going to be going just twice a week and seeing more clients here. I see myself connecting more with the community here. We moved here about three years ago and I still feel like there are so many people to meet that I haven't met so I want to be able to continue to expand my practice and be able to spread the word and meet other clinicians - other businesses and be able to support them as well. I'm big on supporting my small business owners.
Interviewer: Awesome. Is there anything you would like your community to know about you?
Dr. Latino-Feliz: I would love my community to know that I am here! I'm in Dania Beach and it is a private pay practice, and the quality of what I offer is exceptional. I want people to know that we only have one body. There is support in order to be able to take care of it and to have the guidance and the education that's needed to preserve our bodies and be able to age without breaking down. To be able to age gracefully.
You can find out more information on
The Best Physical Therapist, Dania Beach here:
The Movement Therapy Institute
714 South Federal Hwy.
Dania Beach, FL 33004
PHONE: (305) 788-9532
FAX: (954) 951-1341
EMAIL: [email protected]
Located inside ATP Performance Facility
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