When Richard Pearlman, a long-time Northside Chicago native, needed to see a physical therapist after experiencing two life-threatening brain aneurysms two years ago, he did what most people would do: he asked for recommendations. Luckily, both is wife, a retired occupational therapist and daughter, a collegiate basketball player, told him to see Kevin Cronin at ARC Physical Therapy.
Prior to his treatment journey, both his wife and adult daughter had different ailments that needed physical therapy and they were both in agreement that after two months of hospitalization at two different facilities, including the Shirley Ryan Institute, formally the Rehab Institute of Chicago, for both in and out-patient care, Richard’s post-aneurysm care would be an ideal fit or ARC.
In his many years running a child welfare agency, specializing in the field of adoption, and being a licensed clinical social worker, Richard has encountered a lot of different kinds of needs from his clients and their families, ranging from physical, emotional, environmental, and mental. After retiring a few years ago and turning 70 this past year, he’s committed to his own physical and neurological fitness. While his recovery has been a gradual process, he is clear that much of the credit is due to the treatment he’s received at ARC.
“Over time, I gradually regained my function, and at the recommendation of my wife and daughter, who’ve been treated at ARC before, I began to see Kevin, not so much for pain management, but for regaining balance and getting my body back to the best shape it could be,” said Richard. “And after my aneurysms it was my wife Cathy who said, ‘why don’t you see if Kevin can do anything to help you improve or regain your neurological functioning.’”
After an initial assessment, Kevin started his work. Richard said that he’s a “true believer” in the Counterstrain method and after a very short while, so was he, based on how he felt after a few treatments. It addresses underlying issues that affect wellbeing, the way the body works as a whole and issues related to the fascia, which there’s a lot of research that supports the principal physiology theory behind Counterstrain, he said.
“As the need for this kind of care progressed, I trusted my daughter and my wife who always said Kevin was marvelous! And so he began working with me and since then, I’ve experienced steady improvement. It’s been two years now and each time I go to a session, I’ve felt better.”
Richard added that the recovery from a brain aneurysm can often be very slow; it’s not like you wake up one day and you have a scab and it’s healed, it takes a long time to rebuild neural pathways. But he added about Kevin’s work, “I believe Counterstrain helped my body recover from the aneurysm, what I call, the insult to my brain.”
When asked about what it’s like being an ongoing patient of ARC and the recipient of Kevin’s care, he zeroed in on Kevin’s approach to treatment. “I don’t know how to describe this, but Kevin has, what I call them, healing hands and he’s got a sensitivity to what your body is doing and how to fix it. Basically, I say that he’s a natural healer. He’s not just doing rudimentary exercises and saying, ‘do this, do this, do that.’ You just know that he’s treating you like you and no one else. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to his care. I really like that,” said Richard.
When it comes to other people who’ve suffered from ailments like he has, he’s quick to encourage others to get a consultation. Richard went on to describe his care as supportive to his body’s healing and tells prospective patients that the whole experience is overall very gentle and relaxing.
“You know, some physical therapists will put you on a machine and they’ll focus on just the exterior stuff. Kevin’s actually got a hands-on approach where he’s reading your body, reading your fascia, and determining how to proceed. And that’s an approach not a lot of people have heard of, but it really works and doesn’t require you to labor on a gym machine for an hour to get there. Kevin’s treatment is very subtle and impactful,” Richard said.
He went on to say that if somebody is looking for some kind of healing or improvement in their physical functioning, it makes sense to give Kevin and his team a chance to see if it works out, which, based on his experience, is very much worth a try. He also stressed that you can’t decide after one session whether the treatment is working or not working and encouraged people to give it time and give it justice. “After three, four, five times, I’ll bet you’ll notice the changes in your body, your functioning and overall life.”