Amari joined the UP Clinic team just over a year ago. Previously working in Beijing prior to joining UP, he is originally from Albania, where he went to school at UMT Albania.
He enjoys all kinds of sports: football, volleyball, basketball and pingpong to name a few, and also plays guitar, video and board games. In fact, he competed in the Euro Championship, a Football tournament organized by China in Beijing 2016, where all the contenders of the cup faced each other in a match funded by the Embassies of the respective countries. The Albanian team made it to the finals but got stopped by the Russian team.
“It was quite the experience as I had also just been in China for no more than one year at the time. I have not stopped playing football ever since. Whether with amateur teams or in rather more competitive tournaments.”
His passion for helping others started from a young age. We ask him more about his experience working as a physical therapist in China and how it’s been a field almost ingrained in him since childhood.
“I was brought up in a household of doctors, so taking care of people who needed help was more of a moral responsibility than anything else. The process can be hard but the results or final product makes everything worth it. The joy in the patients eyes when they’re able to do something that they’ve been struggling with for a long time due to a dysfunction is worth all the headaches, research and exercises [we] have to work through.”
What potential do you see for your skills here in Shanghai?
Physical therapy is still a relatively new industry, especially in China given the already well-established presence of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). But we’re seeing change in both the mentality of the people and the mentality of the medical workers, which I think is the most important part. There’s plenty more to learn and plenty of potential for improvement.
Physical Therapy covers a huge range of movement-based rehabilitation. Tell us a little bit about the work that you do:
I do a little bit of everything, but I mostly focus on the functional aspect of the human body. I try to help people not get blinded or sidetracked by the symptoms, but instead look at the potential for movement (or lack thereof). As of recently I’m seeing a lot of knee patients, ACL repairs/reconstructions, meniscus and patellar dislocations. But from a general standpoint of cases I’ve dealt with, low back pain and cervical pain from being idle and sedentary takes the cake.
You are very familiar with both instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) and myofascial decompression techniques (MFD). Can you tell us a little bit about these types of techniques?
IASTM and MFD are types of manual techniques that allows you to treat soft tissue abnormalities very effectively in a relatively short amount of time. They can be used on almost everyone as they have positive effects on both functional and physiological aspects, allowing the body to heal itself and increase the soft tissue extensibility function. From that point, it really just becomes a matter of volume and how well someone can tolerate the treatments to start seeing immediate changes – and relief.
You’ve shared a few case studies with us before, like working with a former professional triathlete to help him continue to pursue the sport he loves. What is some advice you would give to other patients, or even therapists, to get through those more difficult phases of the healing process?A Triathlete’s road to recovery
Maintain a positive spirit and treat the body, but don’t forget about the mind! A patient with hope and determination will recover better and faster than those who are always focusing on the negatives. Those who are afraid of moving will struggle with confidence needed to follow up. We are physical therapists, but part of the work is emotional damage control. When that’s all under control, the body will follow the mind.
That’s pretty powerful – it’s a very holistic approach to wellbeing. What are some final ideas to leave us with about your approach to helping others heal?
Being a therapist is about enabling people to help themselves through healing. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach people the WHY-s and HOW-s of the importance of movement for the body.Therapy is love. Therapy is life.