Allison Suran, PT, GCFP, TPS

 Therapeutic Pain Specialist

My Story:

Pre-College:

I was fortunate to be raised by open-minded parents in the 70’s. I was exposed to many non-traditional and progressive ideas about health, holistic medicine and the mind-body connection. I attended yoga classes with my mom, was introduced to meditation, Native American ceremonies, energy healing, kinesiology and other alternative approaches that influenced the direction I wanted to take for my future career.

As I began considering college, physical therapy seemed like a profession where I would be able blend western medicine with holistic healing. I was blessed to have had this insight at such a young age. When I applied to PT school, I recall answering an essay question that asked, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” I responded that I hoped to own a holistic physical therapy clinic. I had little idea then what a journey that vision would lead me on.

Post-College:

Once I had completed my physical therapy education in 1987 I was hungry to learn more. I took numerous classes to improve my PT skills as well as broaden my approach by learning about Cranio-Sacral Therapy, energy medicine, Therapeutic Touch, and more. I also found that the journey to learning about holistic healing includes being willing to dive deep into my own body-mind for my own self-exploration and healing. This is a journey that I believe has deeply informed how I care for the wholeness of each person I meet.

By the late 1980’s I learned about The Feldenkrais Method®. After my first 3 day workshop I was hooked!  In 1996 I completed my 800+ hour Feldenkrais training which required 8 weeks a year for 4 years. This intensive emersion in how to think, feel and move has impacted how I experience everything in life. (Learn more about The Feldenkrais Method here).

I have always loved to learn, so my education did not stop there. (See Educational Bio here). From 1988 – 1998 I managed the therapy department in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) in Bend helping mostly geriatric patients heal from hip fractures, knee replacements, strokes and many other conditions so that they could return home again. It was a wonderful opportunity to work with a medical team (nurses, social work, occupational and speech therapists) to help people with complex medical conditions. The people who end up in a SNF are there because they were unable to go home from the hospital and needed more time to heal – usually because they had more complications with their health. This exposure to the complexity required to provide quality healthcare influenced my developing passion for helping people with chronic pain.

The Holistic Dream beginsHealing Bridge Physical Therapy:

In 1998 I found the courage to leave that job and start my dream of being a holistic PT in the community. When I initially talked to physicians about my practice I would often state, “If your patients are getting better with physical therapy – GREAT! But if they have plateaued and still have pain, let me try The Feldenkrais Method with them.” This became the early stages of my specializing in helping people with chronic pain. I quickly learned that I preferred the complexity of helping people whose condition required more than just exercises and “quick fix” techniques, ultimately leading me to develop my own mind-body approach.

As Healing Bridge Physical Therapy grew with staff and a feng shui inspired building, I continued my path of learning. In addition to on-going PT courses, I took classes for mindfulness, psychology, neurobiology, spirituality, compassionate communication, business and many others. (See Educational Bio here).  In 2008 I took my first Explain Pain course. This is when I was exposed to the science of pain which affirms the science of body-mind and much of what has been missing in western medicine. Since then I’ve continued to study everything I can about the brain, pain and how to help people through the challenges they face with a nervous system that is involved with their body’s chronic pain. This included taking an intensive 6-month training to become a Certified Therapeutic Pain Specialist in 2016.

2018 – Back to Basics:

After 20 years of running a business, the challenges of providing quality jobs and physical therapy began to require more of my time and I was spending less time on my passion of caring for people. In 2018 I made a huge transition and returned to solo-practice. I now get to spend my time focusing on each individual and how to help them find fulfillment in life. I still bill insurance for people which requires the overhead of compliance, charting and billing codes but it allows people who do not have the resources to pay privately to access quality, holistic, care that incorporates how their thinking is influencing and exacerbating their pain.  

My Own Journey:

Part of the journey has been exploring my own physical and emotional challenges. I believe that it takes great courage to face and find love for our personal difficulties. By learning to be with and find compassion for the parts of myself that cause me to struggle, I hope to help others discover the freedom that comes from caring for themselves.  The self-judgment and abasement that comes from feeling like we’re not good enough because our bodies or minds to not live up to ours or others expectations can be detrimental to healing. I hope to be a guide to help people calm their body and mind and find joy and pleasure in life again.

“We work on ourselves in order to help others, but we also help others in order to work on ourselves.” Pema Chodron

"Life is not about perfection, it is about progression."