Our bodies are made to move
Welcome… I am glad you are here! I am Michelle…
As a Physical Therapist working in the world of eating disorders, I often hear the phrase “food is medicine”.
In a similar framework, movement is the medicine that I prescribe for my patients.
Movement is the language that I speak. I appreciate that our bodies are diverse and believe in inclusivity. Every BODY should have access to "safe and healthy movement" as a part of their lifestyle.
Regardless of body size, our bodies are made to move…
The desire for movement that many individuals express does not go away when we hit the pause button for treatment…
and it should not.
Instead of shying from those difficult conversations, let’s lean in and get uncomfortable.
Let’s empower individuals to feel their bodies evolve in a positive way through treatment as they head toward recovery.
Our bodies are made to move…and movement is my medicine.
Perhaps your journey is toward recovery from an eating disorder, or you are a female athlete working through injury, or you are a new momma trying to return to exercise safely… allow me to empower you to reclaim, become strong and live in your body.
As a physical therapist, I am uniquely positioned to partner with my clients to meet their goals directed toward long-term health benefits. Not only am I able to restore function, promote the ability to move, and reduce pain; but I have the knowledge to develop personalized wellness- and fitness-oriented programs to promote a healthy lifestyle… regardless of the presence of eating disorder or muscular/pelvic floor dysfunction AND regardless of body size.
Let me just start by saying that if you’re ever having one of those days where it’s tough to crack a smile, Michelle Laging has one of those smiles that can easily turn your frown upside down. She has an amazing spirit about her. She has an enormous amount of passion for her field and her clients are always front and center. Michelle is not only intelligent, unique, beautiful inside and out, she is also not afraid to be vulnerable with her practice and her clients. When you have the opportunity to work with this woman you will want to soak up all encouragement and support she lends and continue chasing the zest of life.
Why physical therapy?
Physical Therapists prescribe movement as their medicine… with the goal to assist clients in prevention or management of their condition for long-term health benefits. Various treatment techniques may reduce pain (if present), promote and enhance movement ability, restore function, and prevent disability.
Additionally, Physical Therapists may assist in the development of wellness- and fitness- oriented programs for a healthier lifestyle.
The path to recovery is different for everyBODY. Your story might include recovery from an eating disorder, management of a sprained ankle or pelvic floor dysfunction, or integration of meaningful/safe movement in an evolving pre & postpartum body… or, perhaps, all of the above!
Regardless of your story, Dr. Michelle at Strength Within can assist you with achieving YOUR goals.
How Strength Within supports you
Physical Therapy services are a vital component of the care team during hospital-based medical stabilization and treatment for eating disorders. Key members of the team typically include medical doctor, therapist, and dietitian. However, after medical stabilization, physical therapy services are not yet considered standard of care. Impairments to the musculoskeletal system, including the pelvic floor, do not disappear upon discharge to the next level of care. These individuals could benefit from effective coaching on the re-integration of safe movement within a recovery-focus. This conversation may begin in the early phases of treatment and needs to be present through the continuum . . . this is where Strength Within can assist.
Michelle specializes in...
Integration of movement in alliance with Body Positive and HAES® eating disorder & disordered eating treatment (AN-R, AN-BP, BED, ARFID, dysfunctional exercise, safe return to exercise)
Pre & postpartum safe return to exercise & sport, with specific support to assist with re-connection with body and management of potential body dysmorphia
Optimizing the potential of the Female Athlete through the lifespan, with a focus on the core and pelvic floor
Diagnosis & treatment of dysfunctional movement patterns associated with pain (low back, hip, knee, etc.)
Progressive, evidence-based, and individualized strengthening & stretching programs
Experiential movement support
Pelvic floor rehabilitation
Functional dry needling & Kinesiology taping
Mobilization (joint & soft tissue)
About Strength Within
Strength Within was founded by Michelle Laging PT, DPT, CPPC, CEDS-S… a physical therapist with 13-years of experience in physical therapy specific to individuals with eating disorders.
As the thought leader and architect for the physical therapy mobility program at the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health, Michelle utilized her clinical skills to devise a program to best serve this delicate patient population.
She developed and wrote a physical therapy specific treatment protocol, initiated and revised movement protocols in coordination with an interdisciplinary team (typically consisting of medical doctors, therapists, dietitians, etc.), participated in research, provided outreach to local universities, shared the unit with job shadows and students, and continues to explore appropriate interventions to provide the most robust evidence-based care possible. Most importantly, however, Michelle has been the vessel in assisting patients in the restoration of their function and directing them toward the reclamation of their quality of life.
Recently, Michelle earned the designation of Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) through iaedp™. She was recognized as the first physical therapist to earn this designation and is hopeful to become one of many in the near future. Furthermore, she has since advanced her designation to become an iaedp™ Approved Supervisor (CEDS-S).
Throughout her hospital-based experience and now coupled with her outpatient encounters, Michelle recognizes the need for greater pelvic floor literacy. She has noticed the parallel between individuals with eating disorders and women pre-/postpartum in regard to decreased body awareness along with potential pelvic floor dysfunction. Through her movement-based interventions, Michelle offers creative solutions to individuals experiencing a negative connection with their body (typically known as body dysmorphia) AND actively invites her clients to reclaim and live in their bodies. Michelle has done extensive training to become a pelvic floor physical therapist and can provide both external and internal evaluation and assessment to treat known or suspected pelvic floor dysfunction.
As a weight-inclusive and HAES® informed practitioner, Michelle is excited to partner with clients that are ready to connect with their bodies and instill movement as a positive component to their lifestyle… regardless of the presence of an eating disorder pathology or pelvic floor dysfunction AND regardless of body size.
Michelle is a rare find – with her passion and expertise, she addresses an area all too often neglected in the recovery process, yet one which brings great reward and a sense of ‘whole person’ care. She is hugely motivated and driven to keep refining and tuning her programs, to ensure optimal results for both body and mind. How joyful, uplifting and enabling to have her specialist knowledge and care...and to be with her, a real delight!’