Fitness Center Therapists
Therapists Sica Nielsen, Dr. Michelle Witkowski and Dr. Kathryn Paine bring a wealth of experience, education and training to assist Wiesbaden community members at the Wiesbaden Sports and Fitness Center. (Photo Credit: Karl Weisel) VIEW ORIGINAL

WIESBADEN, Germany - Striking the right balance when approaching fitness goes a long way to ensuring a healthy, holistic, workout routine and lifestyle, according to the Wiesbaden Sports and Fitness Center’s new physical and occupational therapists.

“We (community members) all know a little bit about what we should be doing,” said Occupational Therapist Sica Nielsen, who joins the Wiesbaden Fitness Center staff after having worked at the University of Miami Hospital. She explained that she envisions her job as helping community members “learn to stick to good habits and to make positive changes in their lives … really learning lifestyle balance.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the community to share my unique perspective on health and health coaching,” Nielsen said, “to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle.”

The three new Fitness Center therapists – Nielsen and Physical Therapists Dr. Michelle Witkowski and Dr. Kathryn Paine – bring a wealth of experience, education and training support, said Installation Fitness Coordinator Maria Diaz.

“This is a new feature at the Fitness Center,” Diaz said, adding, “they are here to help people who want to get back into training, but who may have some physical limitations or challenges. They can help build that relationship and progression.

“We have a dedicated room for them,” said Diaz, explaining that the separate space within the Fitness Center provides privacy for anyone why might be reluctant to seek help and advice. Having the three experts onboard at the center also provides quality on-post services for community members -- removing the barriers of having to go off post. And all three are English-speaking community spouses, she added.

“I’m a very active person myself,” said Nielsen. “I know how little changes in your life can make a big difference.”

With a military population that may have unique physical challenges to overcome, the trained professionals said they are looking forward to serving community members.

“Being able to practice physical therapy within the gym setting rather than a clinic -- I can see exactly what people may need … to provide a fitness forward approach,” said Dr. Witkowski. Recognizing that people in general tend to suffer from similar injuries, she added that within an active duty population there are “definitely patterns of injury.”

The therapists can “see how you are moving and help you to get the most out of your routine and not suffer an injury,” Dr. Witkowski said, adding, “I’d much rather work with a patient with a barbell than a therapy band.”

“Wellness is a model that physical and occupational therapists are moving forward,” said Dr. Paine, who comes to Wiesbaden after having served military communities in Okinawa, Colorado Springs and Fort Irwin. “It’s important to see how you are doing, to look at body mechanics and to look at your goals to see what you are doing to reach them.”

Helping manage chronic health issues and being able to target specific physical challenges are all part of the therapeutic approach.

“We’re trying to reframe what people think about therapists,” said Dr. Witkowski, adding that they are “experts on movement. It’s a good idea to see a therapist to evaluate how you are moving rather than waiting until you are injured. We want you to be moving optimally. Physical therapists understand every muscle movement in the body.”

Helping military members to avoid injuries and improve their physical training scores are equally important, said Dr. Paine, as well as helping “make mom’s time count” – demonstrating how to be really efficient with their time to give them the most benefit from their training routine.

Dr. Witkowski said she is looking forward to starting a post-partum exercise program. “That’s a specialty of mine and I want to assist this “under-served population in the community.”

Whether or not one is experiencing physical issues, consulting a therapist can help improve one’s overall training approach, the therapists added.

“All consultations are free whether you need a personal trainer or therapist,” said Diaz, explaining that if it determined a person needs physical or occupational therapy versus personal training a one time assessment will be scheduled for $50.

The following is the fee schedule for Physical Therapy sessions:

·        $60 for one Physical Therapy session

·        $275 for five sessions

·        $500 for 10 sessions

For more information and to schedule a consultation, stop by the Wiesbaden Sports and Fitness Center or call civ (0611) 143-548-9830.