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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Inner Connections: Bridging Traditional and Complementary Approaches to Physical Therapy

May 31, 2012 08:43PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Frederick Stahlman

When Frederick Stahlman’s research on broadening his approach to traditional manual manipulative therapy led him to the Upledger Institute International in 1986, the owner of Inner Connections Holistic Physical Therapy, in Naples, had already studied with and been mentored by some of the world’s foremost innovators in physical therapy. To keep up with the ever-evolving field as he worked with athletes and individuals with back or neck pain, spinal cord injuries or other physical challenges, Stahlman was influenced by the work of numerous experts. Among them are Robin McKenzie, founder of the McKenzie Institute International, in New Zealand; Dr. Stanley Paris, founding president and chairman of the board of directors at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences; and Norwegian osteopathic physician, chiropractor and physical therapist Freddy Kaltenborn, who helped to create the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy.

“After more than 12 years of conventional practice, a CranioSacral Therapy workshop with John Upledger introduced me to how I could offer a treatment that aided the body in correcting itself from the inside out. My previous education was great, but it never allowed me to get to the root cause of a patient’s problem; it only helped to alleviate their symptoms,” says Stahlman, who was mentored by Upledger and has been teaching his CranioSacral Therapy techniques for the institute since 1988.

Stahlman felt a deep appreciation for Upledger’s teaching methods, as well as his approach to therapy. “I easily adapted to John’s teaching style, because it resembled the one I had used as an instructor in the pharmacy branch of the Medical Field Service School, in San Antonio, Texas, where I taught during the early days of my career in the Army,” he recalls.

A therapy that could help individuals understand how life choices and circumstances sometimes help to create their physical problems appealed to Stahlman as a fulfilling next step in his career. “As a therapist, I found CranioSacral Therapy empowering, not just for myself, but also for the patient, who is generally relieved to discover that they won’t be in treatment forever,” advises Stahlman. He also embraced Upledger’s integration of a holistic approach that considers the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of an individual’s life. “I like this big-picture perspective that includes an individual’s environment, as well as their intuitive connection to a therapist,” he explains.

According to Stahlman, who has also been trained in energy healing by Robert Jaffe, founder of the School of Energy Mastery, if the environment is right, therapy can be like peeling the layers of an onion, freeing up any blockages in the body where old emotions might be stored. “I create a safe environment and listen well with my hands and ears, but I’m not a psychotherapist, so I refer patients out when necessary,” clarifies the Clarion, Pennsylvania native. “In the meantime, I simply hold what I feel is their perfection, and let them work into it.”

Location: 5633 Strand Blvd., Ste. 310, Naples. For more information call 239-398-3154 or visit

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