JOANNA HERMANO, PHYSIOTHERAPIST
Treating Persistent Pain with a Holistic, Trauma-Informed Approach
As a physiotherapist with a background in counselling, Joanna offers a multifaceted, patient-centred approach. She combines traditional physiotherapy techniques and complimentary methods that address the effects of unresolved stress and trauma showing up in the body as physical symptoms.
YOU MAY BENEFIT FROM THIS APPROACH IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING...
Unexplained physical symptoms
Physical symptoms that have not responded well to previous treatment
Fibromyalgia, migraines, frozen shoulder, jaw pain/tension, long-term symptoms from an accident or injury, or other chronic pain conditions
Body pain accompanied by stress, emotional distress or a history of trauma
Sensitized nervous system or increased pain sensitivity
Difficulty being active for fear of pain or injury
WHY IS THIS MULTIFACETED APPROACH MORE EFFECTIVE
FOR TREATING PERSISTENT PAIN?
As we go through life, we sometimes have overwhelming experiences that send our nervous system into the fight, flight or freeze modes. These responses are a normal and necessary survival mechanism. Once the danger has passed and we return to safety, our nervous system is meant to return to a calm, balanced state again.
But when that cannot happen, either because a feeling of safety is not achieved, or we don't get the opportunity to fully process what happened to us, or the stressors continue to occur, our nervous system remains in an activated state, ready for the next sign of danger. And while in this state, some of our other body systems cannot function optimally, such as the digestive and immune systems. Our heart rate and blood pressure stay elevated and our muscles are tense, stress hormones continue to circulate through our body, and we live in a hypervigilant state. Or conversely, we may live in a state of numbness, disconnected from our bodies and unable to fully feel our feelings or enjoy life. Both are reactions to trauma.
All of this can have a detrimental effect on our mental and physical health over time. Muscle tension and pain, headaches and other painful conditions are common presentations when the nervous system has become stuck in stress response mode and is constantly responding to an environment that does not feel safe. Often, our bodies provide information that our conscious minds do not have access to, and when we explore this in a safe and gentle manner, we can help bring the nervous system into a more regulated state so that the body can focus on healing.
Combining nervous system regulation with physical therapy can help to address the pain
from multiple angles, thereby optimizing results.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM A SESSION?
Joanna will provide a full 60-min physiotherapy assessment, and with your input, she will create an individualized treatment plan tailored to your goals. During treatment sessions, which are also 60-mins in length, you may be offered any combination of traditional physiotherapy interventions, such as manual therapy, exercise prescription, education, acupuncture or taping.
Plus, Joanna weaves in complementary techniques, such as Somatic Experiencing®, that address the effects of unresolved stress or trauma in the body by bringing the nervous system into more balanced, regulated state.
Joanna listens with a curious, non-judgmental and empathetic ear. She creates a safe environment for healing, and provides care through a trauma-informed lens.
Sessions can be provided either in-person or virtually. Most insurance benefit plans provide coverage for physiotherapy.
Joanna (she/her) is a physiotherapist with over 15 years of experience in health care. She holds a Master of Science in Physiotherapy, a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Therapy and a Diploma in Transpersonal Counselling Psychology. She has worked as both a physiotherapist and a counsellor. In her younger years, she was a competitive athlete and earned a scholarship to a US university for rowing.
For the past two years, Joanna has been training in Somatic Experiencing® (SE®), which is a body-focused therapy that addresses unresolved trauma manifested as bodily symptoms, by helping to restore the nervous system to a more balanced, regulated state. She is currently completing her Advanced SE® levels.
Joanna brings these skills into her practice along with traditional physiotherapy interventions to create her own unique style of care that nurtures the whole person; body, mind and spirit. Her approach is gentle and supportive, and she listens to her clients with curiosity and empathy. She believes that everyone has the ability to heal, and enjoys helping her clients break through barriers to realize this potential.
A proud mom of two boys, Joanna enjoys playing piano and singing, growing veggies in her garden, hiking with her labradoodle Ziggy, and camping with her husband and kids.
I chose to seek out Joanna's services because I was looking for a therapist who connected both the body and the mind. I found Joanna's bio online and immediately started researching somatic experiencing. It really blew my mind and I decided that it would be worth a shot to book an appointment with her.
At the time of our appointment, I had been struggling with debilitating anxiety, and panic attacks and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I had been doing regular CBT therapy for over a year, seeing physiotherapists, rheumatologists, naturopaths, etc and nothing was working. I knew I needed to connect more to my body to address the symptoms I was feeling in my panic attacks.
Joanna has used somatic experiencing with acupuncture during our sessions, and since we have been working together I no longer have panic attacks and I have many more tools to deal with the body pain I experience. Joanna is an incredible listener, and will really curate her services for you to ensure that you're healing. I would recommend anyone living with trauma, or chronic pain to book her services! She is truly amazing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CAN THESE VISITS BE COVERED BY MY INSURANCE?
Most insurance benefit plans provide coverage for physiotherapy. Please check with your insurance provider for specifics about your plan, because coverage can vary widely from plan to plan. Joanna is not able to provide physiotherapy services covered by OHIP, WSIB or motor vehicle insurance policies.
DO I NEED A DOCTOR’S REFERRAL?
WHAT ARE YOUR COVID-19 PROTOCOLS?
Blueberry Therapy follows all recommended health and safety protocols to keep clients and practitioners safe, including screening, hand washing, and thorough disinfecting of surfaces between clients. Also, Joanna continues to wear a N-95 mask during sessions and is up to date with Covid-19 vaccinations. Please contact Blueberry Therapy for more details.
No, a doctor's referral is not required to access physiotherapy services. However, some insurance companies may require one in order for sessions to be covered, so please check your plan.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY FIRST SESSION?
ARE VIRTUAL SESSIONS AVAILABLE?
It is helpful to complete the intake form in advance of your session (once your session is booked, the intake form will be e-mailed to you and you can submit it electronically). Bring along any relevant physician reports/recommendations or imaging results, as well as your insurance information if you have it. And please wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move easily.
Yes, Joanna is pleased to offer both in-person and virtual sessions, both for assessments and follow-up visits.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Joanna would be happy to connect with you.