Tessa moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2019 after graduating from the University of Southern California with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She spent one year in Portland completing an orthopedic residency at OHSU before moving to Eugene in 2020. She is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and has undergone further training in treating women’s and men’s pelvic health conditions.
Tessa became interested in physical therapy after going through treatment for her own injuries from being a ballet dancer for 18 years. Beyond pelvic health, she enjoys treating hypermobility spectrum disorders, performing arts-related injuries, and chronic pain conditions. She has a passion for finding each person’s “why” for rehabilitating their injury and helping them get back to a higher level than they were before.
Originally from Montana, Tessa loves the outdoors, including camping, paddle boarding, and hiking. When the Oregon weather keeps her inside, she likes to read fantasy novels, binge Netflix, and pretend she has a green thumb.
Leslie earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Ithaca College in 2014, majored in Clinical Health Studies, and completed additional training in pain management, manual therapy, and evidence-based practice. He has ample experience with conservative and post-surgical management of low back, neck, and sports injuries. By integrating a variety of rehabilitation philosophies, he provides an individualized treatment plan to help you reach your goals!
He is also a USA Track & Field Certified Coach serving the South Eugene High School Axe and he is a candidate for the NASM Strength & Conditioning Specialist Certification.
Leslie is a Costa Rican sports fan, former collegiate athlete, amateur musician, and lifelong learner. In his free time, you can find him experimenting in the kitchen, singing karaoke by himself, and spending quality time with friends & family.
Audrey grew up in sunny Southern California where she spent her days at the beach surfing, hiking in the foothills, and cooking with her family. From the age of 3, she had a passion for dance in all forms which she pursued until she was 19. From studying with American Ballet Theater and Backhaus Dance Company, to dancing around her kitchen, Audrey has always loved movement. During her time as a dancer, she sustained multiple ankle injuries. From these experiences, she came to a knowledge of the good that can come from consistent, quality physical therapy treatment.
As she went on to college, Audrey stayed fascinated with movement and how the body works. This eventually lead her to obtain her PTA degree from Provo College in Utah. After she graduated and began practicing, she wanted to further her education by becoming a Pilates instructor.
She is currently in the process of become STOTT Pilates certified and she loves training others. Audrey believes that physical therapy coupled with Pilates can enhance the way that our bodies recover and function. She is passionate about body positivity, lessening pain, improving daily functionality, and improving the overall quality of life of her patients.
Audrey moved to Eugene in 2022 while her husband is attending law school. She is grateful to be part of the Staszak family and loves collaborating with her coworkers to empower and help patients.
When she is not working, you can find Audrey at the farmers market planning her next meal, hiking, taking local art classes, traveling with her husband, visiting her family, or trying a new restaurant.
Brina earned her Physical Therapy degree from University of Santo Tomas in 2011. Before migrating to the US, she worked as an Orthopedic Sports Therapist for 7 years treating professional athletes. This is where she got most of her trainings, collaborating with doctors and coaches. She combines exercise, manual techniques, and movement education to help patients achieve their maximum potential and prevent re-injury. She recently moved to Eugene from the Oregon Coast where she helped grow the PT program for an outpatient clinic. She treated patients ranging from pediatric to geriatric. And to better serve her patients, Brina is currently pursuing Board Certification for Orthopedic Specialist. On her free time Brina enjoys traveling, skiing, paddle boarding, and freediving.
Eric became a physical therapist to help others overcome injuries and daily obstacles. After a shoulder injury threatened his collegiate baseball career, Eric learned the importance of physical therapy. Today, he enjoys helping patients identify and work to achieve their own goals by guiding patients through strength training, movement based exercise, wellness education, and hands-on therapy.
In addition to general orthopedics, Eric has a special interest in working with athletes, having grown up playing sports (and later working as a coach, referee, and personal trainer). Eric currently holds his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification through the NSCA and is completing coursework towards a certification in the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT).
A native of San Francisco, but recent transplant from Chicago, Eric is looking forward to experiencing all the natural beauty that Eugene has to offer. When not in the clinic you can find him enjoying time with his wife and young daughter.
Christi Van Deusen recently moved to Springfield after marrying her longtime best friend who is an Oregon native. She earned her Physical Therapy degree from the University of Washington in 1998, and is passionate about helping and empowering patients to optimize their physical function and comfort.
Christi’s treatment approach is a combination of patient education, targeted exercises, and hands-on techniques. She has over 20 years of clinical experience, and tailors meaningful exercise and movement programs for her patients that can be readily incorporated into daily life. In addition to a wide variety of orthopedic issues, Christi enjoys treating vestibular and balance deficits.
Christi was a varsity rower for the UW Women’s crew team back in her college days. Although her competitive rowing days are long over, she loves floating the McKenzie River with her husband and spending time with their combined family. She also enjoys recreational archery, hiking, gardening, art and photography.
By: Mike Staszak, PT
Recent research shows that an unhealthy digestive system (gut) is linked to several different disease states. Maintaining a healthy gut is one of the best ways to stay healthier and can potentially help people to live longer. A healthy diet is important to maintaining a good functioning gut, but getting daily probiotics through certain foods and supplementation is also very important. Below are some common questions and answers that many people have when it comes to Probiotics and gut health.
What causes so many people to have an unhealthy digestive system?
First, having a poor diet is the biggest culprit to an unhealthy digestive system. Overeating, a diet high in sugar and grains, preservatives, alcohol, processed foods, inadequate fiber, and overcompensation of animal-based protein, especially hard processed like lunch meats all contribute to bad gut health. Antibiotics can also cause our digestive system to weaken. We take antibiotics to kill infections, but it also kills the good bacteria in our gut. Finally, Cancer treatment therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy can lead to an unhealthy digestive system.
What are some of the signs of having a poor functioning digestive system?
Excessive gas, constipation, diarrhea, the infrequency of bowel movements (everyone should poop at least one time per day), and a frequent upset stomach.
What does having a poorly functioning digestive system do to us?
A poorly functioning digestive system can cause the leaky gut syndrome. This is where the intestinal lining develops perforations and causes toxins to leak out of your intestines into your body.
Other diseases that are linked to a poor functioning gut are, Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Multiple Sclerosis, general body inflammation as well as obesity.
What can we do to improve our gut health?
Over the past several years there has been a significant amount of research done on the digestive system and the positive effects of probiotics. The results of this research are definitive and clearly show that probiotics are more likely to act to produce substances that inhibit the bad bacteria that contribute to diseases. Probiotics have been shown to enhance GI mobility and function, strengthen your immune system, help digestion and nutrient absorption, help with cellular signaling (function), reduce Ulcerative Colitis and IBS, prevention of infection, reduce or eliminate atopic eczema, some liver disease, help assist in the reduction of cholesterol and improve behavior in individuals with Autism.
What is the best way to get probiotics, supplementation, or through diet?
To maintain optimal digestive health, we need to consume probiotics on a regular basis as research shows that if you stop taking them the benefits decrease. Probiotics are found in a limited amount of foods, so unless you eat these specific foods on a daily basis, supplementation is necessary.
Foods with probiotics:
This can be a bit challenging to know what is the best type of probiotic, partly because the supplement industry is unregulated.
Things to look for when purchasing probiotics
Like everything, not every brand of probiotics is right for everybody. If the probiotics you’re taking give you side effects, such as gas, simply try another brand. Another thing to look for in probiotics is prebiotics. Some probiotics contain these which is a good thing. Prebiotics feed the probiotics, so they are beneficial.
To conclude, Probiotics are a crucial part of having a healthy digestive system. By adding in a supplement or eating more of the foods listed above consistently, you are more likely to have a healthy gut and less chance of diseases.
About Mike Staszak
Michael Staszak has been an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist for the past 27 years. He is the owner of Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center in Eugene. He and his staff believe that the more people understand how their bodies work and learn proper body mechanics, the less likely they are to become injured again. With this commitment to patient education, Michael provides wellness articles and presentations for businesses and community members. He also has a passion for nutrition and how it affects our physical health.
Photos from Nuliv Science
By: Mike Staszak, PT
Fasting and intermittent fasting (IF) have been around for a long time for weight loss and have been shown to aid in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and improvement in blood glucose and insulin levels. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and incredibly effective. However, many people find it difficult to fast. A growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as a number of other health-related benefits.
Extensive research has been done on animals so far with a more limited amount of human trials, but all of the resulting information points to definite health benefits. Human trials show definitive weight loss, with a loss of body fat, but no loss of lean body mass. Preliminary studies show a reduction of inflammatory markers, leading to a general decrease in inflammation and a reduction in digestive inflammation, equating to improved digestive health and a stronger immune system.
It has also been shown to help with reduced fatigue, improved focus, increased stress resistance, type 2 diabetes, and potentially with autoimmune disorders and even preventing cancer.
So how do we make something that seems so extreme work in our lives?
There are several different types of fasting protocols, from long-duration fasts, fasting for 24 hours every other day to reducing the hours of eating on a daily basis. I recommend a type of IF called time-restricted eating. This involves basically increasing your nightly fasting period, eliminating nighttime snacks, and eating your dinner earlier. Eating dinner by 5:00 p.m. will make it easy to go 12-14 hours without eating. Another positive aspect of this that recent research has revealed is that if you do this five days per week there is no reduction in the positive benefits, allowing us to have two days per week that we can shorten the fasting period.
Additionally, animal research shows another potential positive effect of IF is living longer. Mice that have gone through time-restricted eating protocols have lived 15% longer, but we have not yet done human trials long enough to quantify these types of results for us. The preliminary research, however, is encouraging.
The health benefits of the time-restricted eating are unmistakable if you can make it work in your life. One of the big concerns of a lot of people is being hungry, but once you start, it will only take a couple of days before you will not have those hunger cravings later in the evening.
Remember, even when committing to an eating program like this you still need to make healthy food choices. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about adequate hydration. Drinking lots of water is imperative to a healthy lifestyle and while intermittent fasting.
About Mike Staszak
Michael Staszak has been an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist for the past 27 years. He is the owner of Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center in Eugene. He and his staff believe that the more people understand about how their bodies work and learn proper body mechanics, the less likely they are to become injured again. With this commitment to patient education, Michael provides wellness articles and presentations for businesses and community members. He also has a passion for nutrition and how it affects our physical health.
Image from CHSbuffalo.org
By: Mike Staszak
It seems like there is always a new diet trending that claims to be the best, whether it be vegetarian or vegan, keto, paleo, and whole foods. The bottom line is there is no one diet or formula that works for everyone. The diet that works best for me simply will not work the same for very many other people. Not only that, as our bodies change over the years often or dietary needs adjust as well. So, once we think we have it all figured out, we need to make further adjustments.
One of the big questions for a lot of people is should I eat meat or should I be on the vegetarian side? As I stated above, this varies between individuals, some people’s bodies do extremely well with healthy meats incorporated into their diet, other people’s bodies respond better with primarily a plant-based diet. Problems start to arise when somebody’s body does better when consuming meat products regularly and they have other philosophical reasons for their dietary choices and vice versa for non-meat eaters.
Here are some key tips for a healthier diet:
There is no perfect diet. When it comes down to it, everyone has different eating habits that work best for them. Eating what feels best for your body is important and will help you maintain a healthy and balanced life.
About Mike Staszak
Michael Staszak has been an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist for the past 27 years. He is the owner of Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center in Eugene. He and his staff believe that the more people who understand how their bodies work and learn proper body mechanics, the less likely they are to become injured again. With this commitment to patient education, Michael provides wellness articles and presentations for businesses and community members.
By: Michael Staszak, PT
Over the past decade, an increasing percentage of people have transitioned into more sedentary work situations, sitting for up to 40 or 50 hours per week either at a desk or in front of a computer. With the pandemic forcing many people to move from the workplace to work from home, in addition to several social restrictions, this has caused the fastest transformation and decrease in activity level in history. It is critical to make movement throughout the day a priority to avoid the many health risks that come from sitting for too long.
Sitting for long periods of time is bad for our bodies as we are designed to move on a regular basis throughout the day. Research shows that people who sit for long periods of time are linked to a higher rate of developing heart disease, having a stroke, getting diabetes, and having high blood pressure. Sitting also can cause neck and back pain which can lead to long-term degenerative joint disease.
It is important to get yourself moving as much as possible outside of a long workday to ensure you do not develop any health problems related to sitting too long. Some easy examples of this include a short active stretching routine first thing in the morning, getting away from your desk several times throughout the workday, and a walk on your lunch break. More examples include an exercise class after work in the evening and an after-work walk with your friends, partner, or dog. The key is to get into the routine of moving consistently throughout your workday as relying on only moving on the weekend is not enough.
The days are longer and the weather is nicer, so this is the perfect time of year to start moving more to develop lasting healthy habits. The more you move and exercise the better you will feel, the more energy you will have, and the healthier you will become.
About the Author:
Michael Staszak has been an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist for the past 27 years and is the owner of Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center in Eugene. He and his staff believe that the more people understand how their bodies work and learn proper body mechanics, the less likely they are to become injured again. With this commitment to patient education, Michael provides wellness articles and presentations for businesses and community members.
Photos from istockphoto.com
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