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Park North Physical Therapy Marries Traditional Hands-On Therapy with Cutting-Edge Technology

Walk into one of Park North’s Harlem physical therapy location or Morningside Heights physical therapy location and you’ll be greeted with a warm community feel. In addition to the scenic views of Central Park, Park North PT also boasts some of the most innovative technology in the field.

While the majority of the healthcare sector is often slow to adopt technology, Park North stands out in the industry because they have put positive patient outcomes at the forefront by blending traditional hands-on care with next-gen physical therapy technology. From their virtual front desk to their cutting-edge PT treatment devices, Park North PT has made it their mission to revolutionize the way people view recovery. 

However the owner, Dr. Sam Morjaria, says that Park North PT hasn’t always been a haven for technology. Sam candidly admits that he was once hesitant about incorporating new technologies into his clinic, 

“I’m the least tech savvy person, so I was nervous about adding new technology up until about five years ago.”

We sat down with Sam in an interview to discuss how his philosophy has changed over the course of his 25 years as a physical therapist and how he’s handled the latest technological shifts in his clinic.

Shifting Toward Technology

Park North’s turning point with technology occurred when Sam discovered the NEUBIE, a neuromuscular stimulation device. 

Immediately, Sam was skeptical, “Like a lot of other physical therapists when they hear ‘stim’, I automatically shut down.”

However, Sam eventually overcame his initial skepticism after he personally experienced the power of the NEUBIE after it helped him relieve a nagging shoulder knot.

“I realized I was being close minded about new technology,” Sam explained. “Bringing on the NEUBIE was a real personal growth moment for me.” 

Once Sam brought on the NEUBIE, he found that his patients also benefited from the new device and actually enjoyed using it. The NEUBIE became the tipping point for Park North.

The Technology Arsenal at Park North PT 

For the past 5 years, Park North PT has been slowly incorporating other innovative technologies and devices. While some PT technologies have been less successful than others, the clinic continues to stay committed to exploring innovative tools that complement the hands-on expertise of their physical therapists. Besides the NEUBIE, here are a few other popular technologies Park North has been incorporating into their treatment plans:

  1. Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures the variations in time intervals between successive heartbeats. By analyzing these fluctuations, HRV provides valuable insights into an individual's autonomic nervous system function and overall health. At Park North PT, HRV analysis plays a crucial role in tailoring personalized treatment plans for patients. The data gathered from HRV assessments helps therapists gauge a patient's stress levels, recovery capacity and overall physiological resilience. With this information, therapists can optimize the timing and intensity of treatments, ensuring that each patient receives the most effective and efficient care. 

  1. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

LLLT is a non-invasive therapeutic technique that utilizes low-power lasers or light-emitting diodes to stimulate healing and reduce pain. At Park North PT, LLLT is employed to address a wide range of conditions, from soft tissue injuries and inflammation to chronic pain management. During LLLT sessions, specific wavelengths of light penetrate the targeted tissues, triggering biological responses at the cellular level. These responses promote tissue repair, increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, facilitating faster recovery and pain relief.

  1. Digisole Technology

Digisole represents the fusion of technology and biomechanics, offering a revolutionary way to analyze movement patterns and prevent injury. This innovative device allows therapists to assess patients' natural running or walking gait. Digisole measures pressure distribution, foot strike patterns and other relevant biomechanical data in real-time. By analyzing this information, therapists can identify inefficiencies or potential injury risks in a patient's gait, providing valuable feedback for personalized corrective exercises and gait retraining.

The Balancing Act of Physical Therapy Technology and Hands-On Care

Despite all of the technology, both of Park North’s physical therapy locations in New York City still remain a very personable and intimate atmosphere. The reason Sam has been able to maintain this culture at Park North is mostly because hands-on therapy remains at the heart of his clinic's approach.

One common misconception is that PT technology replaces hands-on therapy. Sam stresses that while technology is an additional asset, it’s not a replacement for human touch,

“We are not replacing traditional therapy with technology. We are just enhancing the quality of the care.”

The devices are meant to accelerate the patient's recovery and become an extra bonus for the patients. Nevertheless, high-touch approaches like active release and mobilization techniques are still regarded as standard practices at Park North. Sam explained his stance,

“Human touch really helps with healing. If you use your hands to feel out a knot, you can gain a lot of nonverbal cues just by observing the patient. Touch requires you to be receptive to the needs of the patient.”

Since every person has different needs, each plan will also look different. When it comes to blending the modern technologies and traditional therapies, Sam likes to think of it as a balancing act.

“I always say if we try the technology and it works, we do it. If it doesn’t work, then we won’t do it again.”

He always gives the patients an opportunity to opt out of using devices if they aren’t open to it.

Example Physical Therapy Treatment Plan

At Park North PT, hands-on therapy remains foundational since PTs have a profound knowledge of anatomy and a skilled ability to use their hands to diagnose and treat patients. Sam described what a typical patient may experience when coming to his clinic for a muscular imbalance,

“First, we would do hands-on work. This way, we get to know your muscles. Then, we can apply a little creativity. Maybe the NEUBIE for 15 -20 mins, isolated strength training after that and we might end with some functional movement.”

Park North’s holistic approach combines the benefits of technology with a traditional approach to maximize the benefits for each patient.

The Pitfalls of Improper Technology Usage

Sam acknowledges that some PT clinics may misuse technology, leading to a negative perspective on physical therapy. The one-size-fits-all approach, with minimal personal attention and an over-reliance on gadgets, can undermine the true potential of PT. 

“When clinics just do stim, a few exercises and send people home, patients aren’t going to get much out of the treatment,” Sam explained.

Because of bad experiences or lack of knowledge some people don’t recognize the value of a PT, so they decide to live with their pain or ignore their doctor's PT recommendation. However at Park North PT, Sam wants to deconstruct these beliefs by prioritizing tailored, hands-on care while incorporating technology judiciously.

Park North PT Pioneers the Fusion of Tradition and Technology

Park North PT and its owner, Dr. Sam Morjaria, exemplify the harmonious blend of traditional PT practices and cutting-edge technology. By adopting this integrated approach, the clinic works to dispel misconceptions, eliminate stigmas surrounding PT and empower patients to take charge of their well-being. 

If you're seeking personalized, effective and innovative physical therapy, don't hesitate to reach out to Park North PT in Harlem or Morningside, New York City. Contact them today and embark on a journey to feel and move better, armed with the best of both worlds - human touch and the power of PT technology.