Take Your “M.E.D.S.”

By: Dr. Laura Wenger, PT, OCS, FAAOMPT

A group of the faculty at South College’s Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, where our current student Holly is completing her doctorate degree, just published a perspective paper regarding M.E.D.S. and why they are important for your health. M.E.D.S. is a useful acronym for essentials of healthy living- Mindfulness, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep.(1) As practitioners that are helping all of you achieve goals of feeling well in your bodies, we would be remiss not to ask about and address all of these aspects of life that contribute to physical and emotional well-being. Though physical therapists are often thought of as movement and exercise specialists, we are at a point in medicine and research where we are further understanding that musculoskeletal health is multifaceted and a siloed approach to healthcare is not always the best solution.(1) This article by Hughey et al highlights that concept and advocates for a holistic approach physical therapy.

Nathan coaching Christine on strength exercises in the clinic

Coming up on my eighth year as a PT here at Tomsic Physical Therapy allows me to reflect upon the thousands of patient encounters I have had over the years. One of the reasons I love being a physical therapist is that I get to spend so much one-on-one time with my patients- arguably more than any other healthcare practitioner. During the many minutes that I get to spend with each patient through their course of rehabilitation, I have the opportunity to ask about, understand the impact of, and give advice on the aspects of Mindfulness, Exercise, Diet, and Sleep in relation to their current issue at hand. This does not mean that I take the place of other healthcare professionals who are specialists in those areas, as I often refer patients out to mental health specialists, nutritionists, and primary care physicians for more in-depth assessment of these areas when needed.

Taking a mid-work meditation break on the lawn outside
Christine on a ridge in Denali National Park, Alaska

We are excited to see our colleagues in DPT education promoting “M.E.D.S.” as an essential part of a physical therapist’s breadth of knowledge and responsibility, and are eager to see more programs and clinics engaging in this holistic approach to musculoskeletal and whole body health.(1) Our patients are no strangers to conversations about all of these aspects of optimal health, and we are excited to support our profession in recognizing the importance to a well-balanced approach to wellness and prevention of disease.

1. Hughey L, Flynn TW, Dunaway J, et al. Mindfulness, exercise, diet, and sleep – A necessary and urgently needed skill set of the musculoskeletal practitioner. Musculoskeletal Care. 2022; 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1002/msc.1686