Newsletter Articles

Try Qigong

Qigong integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intentions. The gentle, rhythmic movements of qigong reduces stress, builds stamina and increases vitality.

A personal story by Carolyn – who lives with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

“Several years ago I went to a Qigong class hoping to find a way to manage my pain, by working on building energy, balance and stamina.

At the beginning, I could barely walk and sat on a stool trying to learn the graceful movements I was seeing performed around me.

During the next several months, I learned a way to see within, moving what energy I had evenly throughout my body. With practice I learned to relax. In time I got rid of my stool and found myself focusing on what I could do and not lamenting on what I couldn’t do. My world changed.

I live with pain. It is my constant companion. I am also able to do things I want to do, respecting my need to rest and take care of myself.

After years of learning and practicing medical Qigong, I now teach others this wonderful alternative health method hoping they to will find a way to do the things they want to do as they live with their illness.”

Carolyn teaches at the Stow COA, and the Emerson Wellness Center.

Once Upon A Boy

Reel Abilities Film Festival

I have enjoyed online Reel Abilities Film Festival from my home this year. I have always wanted to attend many of the films they offered, and this year I was able to. I posted it on my facebook Facebook page for Diamond Physical therapy Associates, PC.
If you missed the line-up, I am including the link to one of the films that inspired me. It reminds me of a couple of kids and their amazing families with whom I work.

Once Upon A Boy, Documentary 65 min DocAviv2019

No Pool, No Problem

No pool, no problem. (Well, sort of.)
I am here for you and I miss you! How can I help you?

Dear Patients, Parents, Friends, and Family,

I hope you are safe and well wherever you are. I am reaching out to you during this unimaginable time in our community and the world. Covid-19 has swept across the planet like a wildfire and we are all reeling trying to find new ways of living and working.

We are collectively and individually doing all we can to be safe, stay connected, and practice the distancing and hygiene that will keep us going and hopefully protect us. I hope that includes doing things that nurture your soul and keep your heart happy.

I miss each and every one of you and hope you and your friends and families are doing well. I am well, and my family and friends are also well. My deepest sympathies go out to those of you who have ill family members and perhaps loved ones in the hospital or in hospice who you can’t visit personally.

What do you need? If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. I’d be so happy to help.

I would like to offer you and your children a FREE 15-30 minute connection via Zoom or FaceTime. I am happy just say hi or to discuss options for land based exercises, meditation, relaxation, stress management. If that works well for you, we can discuss telehealth visits during this time when we are apart.

I have included exercise links below that I have vetted. I hesitated to do this, as I know your inboxes are filled with this stuff. Please, ignore it if you have a program that is working for you and makes you happy. Of course, as always, don’t do what hurts. Understand the difference between good pain and bad pain. Warm up with a walk in the neighborhood or go up and down your stairs. Pace yourself – start out slowly. There is always tomorrow. Definitely check out the links if you are looking for things to do with your kids.

Speaking of kids and parents, my heart goes out to those parents who are working from home, and wearing the hat of their children’s teacher, therapist, and/or behaviorist. I am always in awe of the parents of the special kids with whom I work. Don’t forget to sprinkle each day with a lot of love, fun and outdoor activities! Emotional resilience and gratitude may perhaps be the most important life lessons learned during this time.

Until we are clearer about when we can cautiously resume physical therapy and aquatic physical therapy, I am continuing to suspend all sessions. We look forward to Beede opening up it’s doors again. I can’t wait to see you again!

In the meantime, be well and feel free to drop me a note to share what you’re doing to stay sane, inspired and active.

With best wishes and virtual hugs,

Resources for Parents and Kids

Yoga For Kids

Many of you may know about the fabulous folks at the Boston Ability Center. Arielle Rose live streams yoga for kids. If you use this link to go to her You Tube channel she has a Rainbow Kids Yoga glass you can view anytime. Thanks Arielle! The YMCA also does a wonderful Yoga class for kids. There are 2 on the YMCA page, so be sure you take a look at both.

Yoga for kids from the Boston Ability Center

YMCA Kids Yoga

Longfellow Whales Tales presented by the American Red Cross is a great resource to teach your kids about water safety. The videos are made for kids and are short and sweet. I’ve provided the link for not only the videos but with lesson plans for educators and I’m sure you can easily follow along. We all know that Mom’s and Dad’s are teachers these days – always, but even more so now.

Longfellow Whales Tales videos and resources

The American Physical Therapy Association offers great tips for the whole family:

Health & Wellness Tips
Ttips For Older Adults and Caregivers
Activities For Kids of All Abilities
Motivation: Move More, Feel Better

Find these great activities and tips here.

Resources for Adults

There are a ton of online resources for exercises, core, weight training, etc.

I found this link on the Beede website and I’ve looked at many of the videos on the Facebook page. They look like comprehensive, worthwhile programs.

Swimming Hole Facebook page- exercises for dry land

Here are a few more ideas from the YMCA.

They also look like good choices for movement and resistive exercises.

A quick warm up and stretch to help you loosen up so you can start your day with a smile

Great workout for Active Older Adults utilizing both a chair and weights

Great workout for Active Older Adults utilizing both a chair and resistance tubes

YMCA exercise videos. Click on new releases for more.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Against the Tide

For the 28th year, I will be participating in Against the Tide with The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition on June 20th in Hopkinton, MA. I was one of the founders of this spirited event and I swim for the many people in my life have been impacted by breast cancer – this is for you!

For the third year, I will have a team. As an aquatic physical therapist, I work with special kids and adults individuals who have disabilities. Many learn to swim and use the water in therapeutic and recreational ways. I would like to bring people together – my patients, friends and family, to join in and support this worthy cause. Here is a link to my team – Making Waves. Last year we were the top fundraising team! Please join us!

There are many ways to participate. Swimming (competitive/Aquathon and recreational), kayaking, walking, and running (ASATF certified 5K and 10K). Participants can enter up to 3 events. Swimmers in the recreational event can use fins and supports. The 3-mile fitness walk is a paved bike path and I am told that it is appropriate for wheelchair users. I will swim in the competitive swim, and I will likely join some of my patients in the recreational swim.

Please join our team today,

If you are unable to join our team, please consider making a donation to my swim.

And please, pass this along to your friends and family!

I hope you will join us!

A Note from MBCC about COVID-19

At this time, it is Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition’s (MBCC) intent to proceed with the Against the Tide events as scheduled. If the events must be cancelled due to continued COVID-19 health concerns, MBCC is rolling out a virtual participant option for both the Hopkinton and Cape Cod events to provide participants with an alternative way to be a part of the Against the Tide events and to continue their support of MBCC’s mission of cancer prevention. In addition, they will plan an alternative dates in September at which time they will have both in person and virtual event options. MBCC is currently in communication with state officials to secure alternative dates for both locations in September. SO, you will still be able to participate in and support MBCC’s Against the Tide events either in person or virtually!

Lighten Up

The nights are getting longer, which translates into more opportunities to stumble in the dark.

Laura does not want you to have a fall, especially if it can be prevented with a simple and affordable appliance. She recommends the LED Smart Light Plus by LIGHT IT.

This is an approximately $25 insurance policy that’s compact, lightweight, portable, easy to use and will protect you from missing a step or stepping on something that could cause long-term injury.

Laura uses the Smart Light Plus in her home. As you see here, it blends right into the household decor while providing valuable safety.

Order yours today.

High Note for Jazzy

We are beyond thrilled to share Jazzy’s big accomplishment this summer – she earned her Green Swim Band at the Beede Center.

For the uninitiated, earning a Green Band is no small feat. Jazzy, who is 6 ½, flawlessly swam the front crawl, complete with rhythmic breathing, NONSTOP for 25 yards. Then – as if that’s not impressive enough – she swam the backstroke another 25 yards, again NONSTOP! And without even taking a split second break from swimming half the length of a football field, Jazzy treaded water for 30 seconds then floated on her back for 30 more!!

Did we mention that she made it look easy?

And did we mention that Jazzy is now a member of the Pre-Otters, a training program for Beede’s youth swim team? Jazzy will learn the fun of being part of a team, as well as instruction in the butterfly, breaststroke, flip turns and competition. If she keeps up her current pace, we’ll be seeing Jazzy standing center podium in no time. Go Jazzy!

Jazzy, who has spastic diplegia, was 3 when she first began aquatic physical therapy with Laura. Spastic diplegia is a form of cerebral palsy that tenses up Jazzy’s feet and legs, creating coordination challenges. But spastic diplegia stands no chance against Jazzy’s blooming self confidence. Since working with Laura, Jazzy keeps up with her peers on land, and now in the water.

Laura’s experience as a physical therapist and as a Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructor enable her to teach kids like Jazzy how to swim with confidence and enjoyment and, as importantly, how to be safe in and around the water.

Great work, Laura! Great work, Jazzy!

Against the Tide

We are beyond thrilled to share Jazzy’s big accomplishment this summer – she earned her

Get Ready for Against the Tide
June 15th 2019 at Hopkinton State Park
In support of the MassachusettsBreast Cancer Coalition

Please join me and our team – Making Waves!
You can swim, walk, run, paddle and/or kayak.

Dear Friends,

This is the 27th anniversary of this inspiring benefit event that I helped to create.

Last yearour team Making Waves had a blast at the benefit for the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition! We were the top fundraising team of the event, raising almost 20% of the total funds raised! And, we did it with your help!

As an aquatic physical therapist, I work with people of all ages who have disabilities and other challenges. Many of the special kids I work with have learned to swim and have become strong, young adults, as a result of our work together. Many of the adults I have worked with have been able to return to fitness and achieve their goals. Some of them participated last year in their first, open water, 1 mile swim. Will you join us this year?

I swim in honor of friends and family members who are living with breast cancer.

Click on the links below if you would like to sponsor me and support the prevention of breast cancer, or join our team. Don’t forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate or join! Please join our team – Making Waves!

Many thanks!


Jane Katz, Zoe Borden and Laura

Marsha and Laura

Annual Beede Luncheoun

Every year, since 2007, during the holidays, I give thanks to the staff of the
Beede Swim & Fitness Center by providing a luncheon – a hearty signature soup, Nashoba sourdough bread, and salad. I am delighted to collaborate with Concord Recreation and the staff at Beede. I know my patients appreciate all the amenities that Beede has to offer. Thank you to my friends at Beede!

Good to Go

Recently, I listened to Christie Ashwanden on NPR talking about her new book – Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery. My ears perked up and I thought you might like to know about it.

Christie Aschwanden, an award winning journalist and a decorated athlete. This book addresses the questions many patients ask me time and time again.

When should I use ice?
Should I take ibuprofen?
How much hydration is needed?
Are energy bars and electrolyte drinks good for me?
How often should I exercise?

Christie Aschwanden’s website

Guidelines from the Osteoporosis Foundation

Do you have osteoporosis?
This is an excellent resource.

Have you always wondered about which exercises are the best for increasing your bone density?

Email Laura
if you would like a program to help you increase your bone density.

  • Postural exercises
  • Hip and back (spine) strengthening exercises
  • Balance exercises
  • Functional exercises
Do you have osteoporosis?
This is an excellent resource.
Have you always wondered about which exercises are the best for increasing your bone density?
Email Laura 
if you would like a program to help you increase your bone density.
Postural exercises
Hip and back (spine) strengthening exercises
Balance exercises
Functional exercises

5 Reasons to See a Physical Therapist

Not just for injuries or accidents!

1.Improve mobility, balance and strength
2. Avoid surgery
3. Prevent injury
4. Manage aging
5.Help control a disease or condition

Schools are Replacing Detention with Meditation

When kids are misbehaving they are sent to the “Mindful Moment Room” where they practice deep breathing, meditation, reflection, and they are encouraged to talk through what happened. The results are remarkable.

This school replaced detention with meditation. The results are stunning.

September 22, 2016 | James Gaines

Imagine you’re working at a school and one of the kids is starting to act up. What do you do?

Traditionally, the answer would be to give the unruly kid detention or suspension.

But in my memory, detention tended to involve staring at walls, bored out of my mind, trying to either surreptitiously talk to the kids around me without getting caught or trying to read a book. If it was designed to make me think about my actions, it didn’t really work. It just made everything feel stupid and unfair.

But Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has been doing something different when students act out: offering meditation.

Read More

“How to be Sick” by Toni Bernard

Many of my patients suffer from chronic pain. Some people have been able bodied all their lives and then are suddenly faced with an injury or an illness which is life changing. Accepting and embracing a change in ability or illness can be challenging and requires courage. Mindfullness and wisdom is the key to finding a path to living with greater ease and freedom. This book by Toni Bernard has been a lifesaver to many of my patients and friends.

“You cannot help but come away with a new perspective and a new awareness of life’s beauty despite chronic bodily pain. The choice of inner peace and compassion is available to all of us. There is a lot to embrace in this lovely work of art.” -Chronicle: The Journal of the American Chronic Pain Association

Aquatic Physical Therapy for Chronic Pain

Some people are unable to exercise on land because they have pain and fatigue. The buoyancy of the water provides a supportive environment in which to help you achieve your land based goals. Some people exercise in the water as a way of cross training and some people just exercise in the water. The benefits are numerous!

  • Increase your activity
  • Improve your mood
  • Increase relaxation
  • Decrease spasm and pain
  • Use less medication
  • Achieve your goals faster

Don’t Judge People

Many people have hidden disabilities. Our culture teaches us that appearance is everything, but appearances can be quite deceiving. We can look perfectly “presentable” and be managing a complex problem.
Practice compassion. Don’t make assumptions. Observe. Listen. Take a breath. Enquire about what’s happening without judgement. Perhaps the person is simply tired that day but perhaps there is a deeper, more longer lasting problem – a hidden disability. We cannot know unless we ask.
You may want to consider using open-ended questions without making assumptions. Rather than saying, “Why are you being lazy or obstinate or refusing to do what I asked you to do (you get the idea)?” we can ask, “What do you need to accomplish this task?” We might learn a lot more than we think.

Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice!

Have you been diagnosed with a serious illness or have experienced a significant injury? If so, you may know this is so true! A friend of mine who has breast cancer sent this out to friends and family with a health update.  It may strike a chord with you.
“Please feel free to call us. We know that it might seem hard to know exactly what to say, but please don’t let that stop you. There is no right thing to say! There’s really no wrong thing to say to her either (well – other than sad tales about your other friends, or suggestions for home remedies and trips to Mexican doctors!). You don’t have to plan any special remarks – just call to chat about the weather, or how your summer went. It’s a great help just to have down to earth and normal conversations.”

Aquatic Equipment – Buoyancy Cuffs

Would you like more of a challenge?
By Laura Diamond, MS, PT

Would you like to get more out of your workout? There are a few ways to accomplish this. You can improve your strength by increasing resistance with the use of fins or gloves. Alternatively, you can work against buoyancy, which is the upward pressure from the water.

To increase the effect of buoyancy you can use floatation devices such as hand buoys, therapy bars, or floatation cuffs. These devices increase the upward pressure of the water on your arms or legs, leading to an increased resistance as you push them down into the water. Be sure to control the upward motion of the device by moving slowly.

With the use of this additional aquatic equipment, you will need to work harder to stabilize your posture, which will help you to develop more core strength.

Don’t forget, every time you change positions in the water you are changing which muscles are getting stronger with every movement.

Hydrofit buoyancy cuffs have 6 inserts in each cuff. You can vary the difficulty when you adjust the number of inserts in each cuff.

Here are some pictures which demonstrate the use of buoyancy equipment. You will find these and more in the book. The book will provide step by step instructions on how to perform each exercise.

Are you walking with crutches due to an injury or surgery?

Get Rid of the Crutches and Walk in the Water!

The percentage of weight bearing you experience in different water depths depend on your height, weight and body type. Generally, deep water exercise is non-weight bearing. Standing in neck deep water, you will be weight bearing about 10% and standing at waist depth, you will be weight bearing about 50%.

If you use crutches or a walker on land to decrease weight bearing, you may be able to walk in waist-deep or chest-deep water with or without one or two therapy bars. Since the water’s buoyancy decreases the demands of weight on your body, you may be able to walk more easily and quickly by doing walking in the water. This will speed up your recovery from injury or surgery!

Do you have back pain? Skip the scan or surgery. Go immediately to physical therapy!


Physical therapy for spinal stenosis is as effective as surgery and should be fully considered as a first-choice treatment option, according to a new study that is the first to directly compare a single, evidence-based physical therapy regimen with decompression surgery among patients who agreed to be randomly assigned to either approach. The lead author is Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA

Click here for more information about the study

In a study published in the Health Services Research , researchers found that people who were initially prescribed advanced imaging, such as MRIs, over physical therapy for management of low back pain ultimately paid more, and they were more likely to have surgery or injections or to visit an emergency room, compared to those who were first sent to physical therapists.

The lead author is Julie M. Fritz P.T., Ph.D., FAPTA

Click here for more information about the study.

Tish Scolnick – leveraged freedom chair

When Tish Scolnick was a freshman at MIT she dreamed of becoming a doctor. She took a class called “Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries” and that changed her career path forever. She is now Chief Executive Officer of her own social enterprise startup. She has engineered a wheelchair that gives people with disabilities freedom to lead independent lives.

Learn more about her remarkable story and her company!

Does your child have sensory integrations challenges?

Hydrostatic pressure of the water helps to reduce tactile defensiveness due to generalized constant sensory input. The water can also be a calming place for kids with sensory challenges.

Contact Laura for more information!

How will water therapy help me?

The properties of the water including neutral warmth, buoyancy, reduction of gravity, hydrostatic pressure, viscosity and resistance provide the following benefits:

  • Accelerated recovery
  • Early weight bearing progression
  • Less pressure on joints
  • Maintenance of fitness
  • Increased cardiovascular fitness and endurance
  • Increased strength
  • Postural stabilization
  • Increased range of motion and flexibility
  • Decreased pain, swelling, and muscle spasm
  • Increased circulation
  • Safe place to train balance, coordination, and agility
  • Increased proprioceptive and kinesthetic input
  • Improved body awareness and body mechanics
  • Increased relaxation, positive self image, and positive attitude

Deep water vs. shallow water

Deep water may be used for people who:
1.    Are non weight-bearing.
2.    Are unable to tolerate weight bearing secondary to pain, inflammation, and swelling.
3.    Need lumbo-pelvic stability exercises in a vertical position.

Shallow water may be used for people who:
1.    Are fearful of deep water.
2.    Can benefit from buoyancy assisted gait training, for decreased weight bearing.
3.    Can tolerate only approximately 50% weight-bearing activities, or have partial weight-bearing restrictions.
4.    Have balance and coordination problems and are unsafe in deep water.

Some people progress from deep water, to shallow water, to land based programs.  Laura says, “I usually recommend an integrated program of land and water exercises.”

Need a tune up?

Why not consider an annual check up with Laura.

Come in for a re-evaluation and a few sessions to make sure you are on track to achieve your physical therapy and fitness goals in time for the holidays.

If you have never scheduled a session with Laura, now is the time.

Remember that Physical Therapists are uniquely qualified to routinely screen members of the public, promote healthy lifestyles, identify patients and clients who would benefit from physical therapy, and triage and refer individuals to appropriate providers beyond the scope of physical therapy.

Unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are the root causes of many of the chronic diseases and conditions. It’s time to figure out what’s dragging you down.

This season, give yourself the gift of health. It’s the best investment you can make!