Heights clinic uses Budo in rehab and fitness

To clinic founder and physical therapist Bret Paulus, Synergy Rehab and Fitness is in the right place at the right time, and for the right reasons.

He opened the cozy studio and clinic last June, in a newly completed building at the corner of 12th and Pine streets (also home to the new Pine Street Bakery). Since then, clientele has grown steadily, his staff has increased and Budo (a Japanese term for martial art) classes like Aikido, Tai Chi, Jod, Yoga and Ukemi have been added to the clinic’s regular schedule.

For Paulus, a 30-year PT with the last 15 spent at Hood River Physical Therapy, Snyergy’s focus on alternative approaches to rehab and core fitness is a perfect fit for such an active and sports-minded community.

“There are elements of PT that can be fairly boring,” Paulus said. “What sets us apart is that we take the least-ridgid, cookbook approach to rehab and fitness. The five PT clinics in Hood River run the gamut of traditional to progressive; I like to think we are the most progressive.”

Synergy’s philosophy is to blend traditional rehab goals with creative, fun and lifestyle-specific activities and exercises.

“We create real-life simulation drills and exercises to simulate forces and movements that the body is going to be subjected to in people’s individual lifestyles,” Paulus said. “For Gorge athletes, that approach is particularly relevant for getting back into specific sports after an injury.”

Paulus’ treatment mindset is inspired by his personal background in swimming, surfing, windsurfing and telemark skiing. He says these sports embody “core movements,” which are integrated into many of Synergy’s therapy prescriptions.

To supplement the rehab and therapy side of the business, Synergy has added a schedule of regular classes designed to be active enough for anyone, but accommodating enough to be added to a patients’ recovery processes.

Classes include adult and kids’ Aikido — the only of its kind in Hood River — with sensei Neil Lofgren, who brings 15 years of teaching experience to the clinic’s newly named Gorge Budo Raji dojo. The name is in honor of Lofgren’s sensei, Jaff Raji. Lofgren also teaches Jodo, a classical martial art that stemmed from the concept of using a walking stick to defend against an attack from a sword, and Ukemi fitness, which use uses basic movements and concepts from traditional martial arts to help with flexibility, strength, balance and coordination.

The clinic also offers traditional and therapeutic yoga, tai chi yoga, tai chi, personal fitness classes and a blend of strength training and cardio interval workouts called T3 Fitness.

“Our staff is amazing and everyone we have is here for the right reasons,” Paulus said. “We all care deeply about what we do and about helping others live healthy and balanced lives.”


Synergy is located at 1120 Pine Street. For more information or class schedules see synergyrehabfitness.com.

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