The Dynamic Balance Approach
The Dynamic Balance approach to physical training and therapeutics is Therapeutic Physical Care. Therapeutic Physical Care considers both the physical body and the psyche to create a psychephysical approach. Our goal is to overcome and eliminate psychephysical maladaptations within the body.
The tool we use to eliminate maladaptations is the manual therapy triad. The three elements of the Triad are foundational strength training, intensive stretching, and hands-on tissue manipulation. The key ingredient in the success of Therapeutic Physical Care is your commitment to the process.
Our approach can be tailored to all physical needs and goals. Whether you are a performance-focused athlete, have a repetitive stress injury, want to improve your fitness level, or have suffered major trauma or disability, we can help you regain function and improve performance.
Therapeutic Physical Care (TPC) is an evolution in physical training and therapeutics. TPC emphasizes control and awareness of core movement. As opposed to raw core strength, TPC fosters core accuracy - it requires accurate function as a base before fitness training begins. It demands a committed, collaborative approach by both therapeutic care specialist and participant. The goal of TPC is to overcome and eliminate bad habits and dysfunctions within the body.
Practically, TPC involves both dynamic tissue restructuring and dynamic reflex restructuring. These are accomplished through the Manual Therapy Triad™, which consists of foundational strength training, intensive stretching, and hands-on tissue manipulation.
Question: Is Dynamic Balance the only source of Therapeutic Physical Care?
Answer: No. In 1999, Mark St. Peter introduced the term Therapeutic Physical Care to the lexicon to define the space between fitness and physical therapy. This zone, poorly described by other terms and practices, encompasses the challenges that many of us face every day. The concept of TPC centers on purposeful attention to the correction and prevention of physical dysfunction and pain through specific physical conditioning and movement patterns. Although Mark has developed his own approach to such care, there are numerous types of physical and therapeutic disciplines that can be combined into a personal regimen of therapeutic physical care.
The mission of Dynamic Balance is to teach the public a deeper understanding of the body and its regenerative capacity and to help improve physical function and manage or eliminate pain. We accomplish this mission through custom-designed exercise programs, education, and nutritional guidance.
The Dynamic Balance Credo:
- Educate, don't dictate
- Treat each person with respect and genuine concern
- View each person as an individual with unique needs
- Apply focus and attention to the task
- Show each person their unexplored limits
For years Mark St. Peter had no descriptive term for the work he did. After much exploration, he coined the term psychephysical training to describe a small but evolving community within the healing arts.
Psychephysical pertains to the interrelation of mind, soul, and spirit, and the influence of intention on the chemical, electrical, and biological functions of the physical body. The commonality shared by all psychephysical practitioners is that they combine physical movement, hands-on work, and attendance to the conscious and subconscious needs of those seeking their help.
The definition of psychephysical:
- Psyche: n. 1. The human soul, spirit, or mind. 2. the mental or psychological structure of a person, esp. as a motive force.
- Physical: adj. 1. of or pertaining to the body. 2. of or pertaining to that which is material: the physical universe.
- Psychephysical: adj. 1. Pertaining to the interrelation of the metaphysical elements of mind, soul and spirit (one's own or another's) and their direct, but as yet undefined, motive influence on the intentions, actions, capacity, and functions of the physical body. 2. Relating to the observation of the measurable and the as-yet un-measurable physical and metaphysical energies of mind, soul and spirit within and between individuals and their manifestations in the observable living physical matter of a person.
The Foundation Five™ consists of the five active movement exercises that are the essential starting point of Mark St. Peter’s approach to physical training. These five basic exercises – crunch, pelvic tilt, knee rockback, side double-leg raise, and plank – focus on core strengthening and postural correction.
These are the exercises that build foundation strength. Foundation strength is more than just core strength. It is the strength that maintains the integrity of the body’s structural foundation against distorting forces. Foundation strength is concerned with static strength and the endurance of stabilizing musculature. This is the work we must do to maintain kinetic balance, correct maladaptations, and prevent future injuries.
A common conception of “core” training is that it should consist of rapid, dynamic movements. The muscles generally considered to be “core” are those of the trunk. At Dynamic Balance, we believe that one must first, in a controlled manner, employ relatively subtle movements that allow you to develop a deep kinetic re-learning to correct unconscious aberrant patterns. It is also a premise of Foundation Training to include in its concept of “core” the deep muscles that control joint position and posture.
Admit it or not, most of us hold a traditional concept of fitness: the hard-body version. We all want to sport a six-pack, show some bicep, and look buff in a tank top… And the truth is that the Foundation Five is primarily concerned with postural accuracy and control, once this is achieved we can then address muscle mass, wash-board abs, or maximal athletic performance. The ultimate goal of the Foundation exercises is the functional accuracy of your core, creating a “cleanliness” of movement. The Foundation exercises help eliminate bad posture and improve physical hygiene.
But don’t worry: this work will also result in improved the aesthetics of your body and athletic performance. More importantly, though, it will empower you with a deeper, more intimate knowledge of your body movements. Whether you face daily household chores or professional sport, training with the Foundation Five can help eliminate pain and protect against future injuries.
The Foundation Five is just the beginning. The Foundation Series™ represents a family of five progressively more challenging and rewarding exercise lineages that incorporate upper and lower body strength and accuracy of movement. Exercise programs based on these Foundation lineages can be customized for your fitness level and goals.
Mark St. Peter is the founder and principal therapeutic care specialist of Dynamic Balance. He developed the concepts underlying the Dynamic Balance approach through his extensive training and experience as a therapist, participation in sports as a competitive athlete and coach, and his own personal experience of traumatic injury.
"I work to help injured and physically challenged people heal, renew, and discover higher capacity." - Mark St. Peter
Mark has been an independent practitioner since 1990 and has experience treating a wide variety of individuals and injuries. He currently specializes in helping people who face physical challenges and those suffering from chronic pain. His skills include a broad range of movement therapies, forms of bodywork, and coaching strategies. Mark's work aims to restore postural and neuromuscular harmony and to optimize well-being and performance.
"I do not adhere to any single method or system of therapeutic care, as none are universally effective. The ultimate goal of my work is to restructure tissue damage, correct posture, and discover and eliminate the root causes of dysfunction, thereby preventing the future onset of symptoms." - Mark St. Peter
Explore Mark's experience and accomplishments.
Read Mark's personal story of tragedy and recovery from trauma.