Manual Therapy at Total Potential

What is manual therapy?

Manual therapy is the cornerstone of our hands-on approach to effective physical therapy treatment.  A Certified Functional Manual Therapists (CFMT) can make immediate improvements to your range of motion and reduce your pain. As a result, their treatments can also create an opportunity for greater mobility, strength gains, and healing response.

Definition of Manual Therapy:  The "application of an accurately determined and specifically directed manual force to the body, in order to improve mobility in areas that are are restricted; in joints, in connective tissues or in skeletal muscles.” All our Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs) have manual therapy certifications, extensive training in the nuances of its application, and years of experience in successful patient care and providing tangible treatment results!

How much manual therapy will my condition require?

There is a correlation between the of amount of hands-on manual therapy you will need and the amount of time you have had an injury or pain. The more acute/recent the problem, the quicker we tend to see positive results. Acute injuries can often be resolved in just a few visits to our clinic in City of San Marino, CA. However, more serious or chronic injuries will usually take somewhat longer to effectively treat.

Factors such as age, overall health, and lifestyle definitely also play a role in how much treatment is needed to get you back to doing what you love. With that said, we do occasionally see major changes quite quickly, even if a problem has persisted for many years. It really depends on many things, which we can identify and more clearly determine at your initial evaluation or in a FREE on-site “Discovery Session.”

Take-home point: For most people, the sooner you decide to pursue manual therapy treatments, the fewer treatment sessions you will likely need.

Why shouldn’t I just go to a massage therapist or chiropractor to get “manual therapy” and treat my condition?

While we are big proponents of massage therapy and chiropractic care--and often send our patients to get regular massages and refer to/from chiropractors in our community--our physical therapists are uniquely trained to assess and evaluate not only the musculoskeletal system and injury but as well as the impact of vagus nerve, heart rate variability, dural/neural tension, and CoreFirst® Strategies for posture and motor control as examples.  Many chiropractic adjustments are passive and rotary in nature.  Our manipulations include lateral shearing and sidebending with an active contraction which can achieve similar benefits and is proven to be overall safer--for someone with osteoporosis or an autoimmune condition for example.

From our in-depth evaluation and constant re-assessments at every visit, our manual therapy techniques are not simply aimed at working on an area that hurts, but also directed at resolving the true sources of your pain and injury. Additionally, most injuries and pain need some form of exercise-based treatment, which again, many forms of therapies are not trained or legally allowed to prescribe.

Again, we love massage therapy and chiropractic and are regular clients of great massage therapists and chiropractic here in town.  The benefit and service we provide are from professionals who can evaluate and treat an injury in an extremely detailed manner, picking up on minutia that are often overlooked in tangible ways.

Will I be sore following manual therapy?

It is not uncommon to have some soreness following treatment, and this is nothing to worry about if it happens. This usually subsides within 24-48 hours. If it persists beyond 48 hours, please let us know so we can adjust our future treatments to match your body’s receptivity to hands-on treatment.

Many Physical Therapy Problems Are More Effectively Resolved With A Physical Therapist Who Provides Manual Therapy At An Expert Level

Learn More About Expert Manual Therapy At Total Potential

Functional Manual Therapy®

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CranioSacral Therapy

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Visceral Manipulation

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Our Mission Statement

The mission of Total Potential Physical Therapy: Wellness & Rehabilitation is to treat with highly effective hands-on physical therapy through the "Art of the Hand" in a healing and casual environment in order to provide results at a rate that can meet meaningful expectations that increases happiness and independence.  We value in ultimately building healthy relationships with other people so that they can grow their impact.  We seek the hidden existing potential in every person.
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We specialize in getting to the bottom of difficult to treat issues that often have not found solutions with multiple other solutions to treatment.
— Dr. Joel Kim PT, DPT, CFMT, CSCS,*D


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our problem was taken holistically.

We value being respectful, compassionate, and having fun while empowering others to live to one’s utmost and unique potential.
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Meet Dr. Joel

Dr. Joel Kim PT, DPT, CFMT, CSCS,*D

Dr. Joel is the owner and creator of Total Potential Physical Therapy: Wellness & Rehabilitation, PC.
He completed his undergraduate degree in sociology and history from University of California Irvine.  While completing his 14-year military service, he attended Western University of Health Sciences, College of Allied Health, obtaining his doctorate in physical therapy (DPT).  He had always valued skill and excellence.  He further committed 12 months to reading research in order to gain better knowledge and understanding of diagnosis and prognosis of musculoskeletal conditions while regularly seeing patients.  This was when he discovered the Institute of Physical Art (IPA) and Functional Manual Therapy® (FMT).

Functional Manual Therapy® (FMT) fit his learning style which it further developed his skills of physical therapy diagnosis and prognosis, using his ears, eyes, and hands in order to put the pieces together without the luxury of expensive diagnostic equipment.  While increasing his skill level, he also increasingly grew dissatisfied with the standard of care realizing that his patients could reach goals in a more efficient way.

At the encouragement of his physical therapy mentor, Gregg Johnson, he was challenged to develop the use of his intuition and to treat the dura.  So he serendipitously discovered the Upledger Institute.  And as an act of hope and faith, he dove in to the material, enjoying the work and the lives changed.  And then, like most CFMT'rs, they studied deeply into the material of the Barral Institute, which Dr. Joel wanted to satisfy his curiosity of why and how to make progress stick and be more longer lasting.

Dr. Joel continues his training and to improve his practice by attending many specialty seminars and training sessions throughout the year.  When not running his own private practice, he enjoys being an active member in the life of his wife and 2 boys, travelling, and competing in endurance sports. 

We have the words Total Potential in our name because under our care, we believe that each patient has an existing potential to be more.  We have the words "total" and "wellness" because we don't just treat the medical diagnosis but strive to treat the root cause that is affecting the human movement system instead.

We are serving the City of San Marino.  You won't need a referral to start healing physical therapy.  

Conditions We Successfully Treat

Chronic pain
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel
Weakness in Hands or Feet
Cervical Fusion Recovery
Lumbar Fusion Recovery
Cervical / Lumbar Disc Replacement Recovery
Numbness and/or tingling
Adhesive Capsulitis
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Functional Leg Length Discrepancy
Post-Concussion Symptoms
Poor Posture
Mouth Breathing
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)

Neck pain
Low back pain
Hip pain
Knee pain
Ankle pain
Foot pain
Shoulder pain
Shoulder Impingement
Frozen Shoulder
Shoulder Tendinitis
Tennis Elbow
Golfer's Elbow
Pudendal Neuralgia (pelvic pain)
Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)
Acromioclavicular Joint (AC Jt.) Arthritis
Patellofemoral Pain (PFP)
Osteoarthritis of knees
Shin Splints
Plantar Fasciitis
Achilles Tendinitis
Ankle Sprain
Hallucis Valgus (Bunions)
Chronic cramping
Difficulty Walking
Diastasis Recti
Anxiety Management
Trigeminal Neuralgia
Mouth Balancing after Dental Procedures
Pes Planus (Flat Feet)

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