Critical Alignment Therapy is a logical and highly effective way of working with any back/shoulder/hip pain, injury, or poor movement pattern. An excellent option for repetitive strain injuries, lower back injuries, postural (i.e. 'sitting at a desk') pain, and as a way to increase your sports performance.
Using a process that incorporates movement towards active exercises, C.A.T. creates a release from the tension and strain caused by injury or stress held in our muscles. This release can then travel through into our spine where the postural muscles are activated and reinvigorated, bringing ease and lightness into our movements and lives.
Critical Alignment Therapy was created and researched through Gert van Leeuwen over the last 30 years at his Bharata Yoga Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Click here to read an article written up at the European School of Physiotherapy regarding Critical Alignment Therapy vs. Physiotherapy when working with chronic non-specific lower back pain.
Joelle has created CAT therapy sessions level 1 to 4. Session 1 is a 5 week program, session 2-4 are 4 week programs. These programs generally run all throughout the year. Joelle has also developed Yoga 4 Backs classes which are based off the teachings of Critical Alignment Therapy, Restorative Yoga, Ball Therapy and more.
"I am an active sixty year old woman. In 2017 I suffered a left shoulder strain which developed into a frozen shoulder in early 2018. This injury forced me to suspend virtually all physical exercise including my long-standing yoga practice at Inner Peace Yoga.
Routine physiotherapy sessions improved the range of motion and diminished the pain in my shoulder, allowing me to return to a modified yoga practice. With a goal to learning how to accommodate the limited range of motion in my shoulder, I attended three private therapy sessions with Joelle McDonald at Inner Peace Yoga over a five week period. Working with Joelle was a game-changer for my recovery. In addition to facilitating a return to yoga, Joelle was able to guide me through a routine of exercises that have painlessly strengthened my shoulder and achieved a complete recovery.
Joelle is knowledgeable, respectful, compassionate, well humored and completely non-judgemental. She encouraged me to be patient with my healing process and I am very grateful for her guidance. I wholeheartedly endorse Joelle McDonald’s therapy services"
“I have had several C.A.T. sessions and continue to on a regular basis as it gives me much needed relief in my neck and shoulders. I have also noticed a huge improvement in my core strength and no longer suffer with lower back pain. I have had all kinds of treatments/therapy and none have been as effective as the C.A.T. sessions have been for me. Having suffered through pain for so many years I now am living a happier life pain free” ~Anonymous~ Saskatoon
Lorne Cooper Testimonial for Joelle McDonald, Yoga Therapist- Inner Peace Yoga
In June, 2016, after an 11 day golf holiday &14 hr. car ride home, the following day I bent over to pull a tree root from the ground and Pop! A sharp pain in my lower right back…no more work that day. I got temporary chiropractic relief the next day, but thru a summer of occasional furniture moving, lifting docks and normal acreage living, my back was a wreck! Gym exercise, massage therapy, chiropractors, & physiotherapy couldn’t fix it ultimately leaving me with a crooked back, chronic sciatic pain and by May 2017, unable to walk more than 50 feet!
Desperate, I finally agreed to go a Yoga for Backs Session at Inner Peace Yoga with my wife Alvena, who had been going there and getting back relief for some time. Something I should have done in the very beginning! I was fiercely independent, but not real smart…
After one session I got some relief, and with continued regular sessions felt gradually better with slow improvements. Meanwhile, X-rays, followed by an MRI confirmed my L4-L5 disc had ruptured. Surgery was recommended.
At that point I booked some private sessions with Joelle. After 90 minutes of assessment… moving, bending, twisting… and copious note taking, Joelle had a plan for me. Through several private sessions, prescribed home exercises with a few props and continued group sessions, I hurt less, straightened up, moved easier and felt generally better as Joelle and I executed our plan. Joelle reassessed and modified procedures as I progressed, always careful to match exercises to my rate of progression. Warning me about the dangers of Ego. By July I could walk 2 km daily. By August, 4 to 5 km, and with no pain aside from some residual numbness in my toes. I joked with Joelle that if she published the book of notes from my assessments, I wanted half the profits!
My surgery was finally scheduled by April, for May 15, 2018. When I first met with the Surgeon in September 2017, he asked “If 10 is “feeling wonderful”, and 1 is “can’t stand the pain”, how are you feeling today?I said 1 to 2. He said he felt surgery in my case would provide a 6 to 7 comfort level. After “completion” of my Yoga Therapy program, I have been in the 8 to 10 range for months, and the more I do, the better I feel.
I cancelled the surgery in April, and did a little happy dance the next time Joelle saw me.
I still do daily exercises, I go to group sessions, try to walk daily, and now do normal physical work, to the great relief of my wife! I live a normal life. Whatever that is…
I owe that journey from pain and misery back to “life as usual” to Joelle McDonald. I recommend Joelle and Yoga for Backs to anyone who mentions their “back problem”, with full confidence. I do the same for anyone who reads this testimonial!