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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

What Is A C.H.E.K Practitioner?

Contributing Author: Chek, Paul H.H.P.

Paul ChekPaul Chek is a world-renowned expert in the fields of corrective and high-performance exercise kinesiology. For over twenty years, Paul’s unique, holistic approach to treatment and education has changed the lives of many of his clients, his students and their clients. By treating the body as a whole system and finding the root cause of a problem, Paul has been successful where traditional approaches have consistently failed. Paul is the founder of the C.H.E.K (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology) Institute, based in California, USA.
» Website: www.paulchek.com 

 

HOW IT BEGAN

I began my career as Trainer of the US Army Boxing Team at Ft. Bragg, NC in 1984. There, it was my job to develop exercise and nutrition programs for 30 of the best boxers in the world, a job offered to me by the team coaches when I was an active member of the team. My job also included caring for sports injuries for Army athletes that trained at Callahan Sports Arena. While I was not well versed in this area when I began as Trainer, I applied my self to the never-ending task of studying all necessary information, while at the same time being tutored by our team Boxing Doctor, Charles Pitluck, D.O.

Upon leaving the Army, I studied sports massage at the “Sports Massage Training Institute” in Encinitas, CA., while at the same time working with a chiropractor that specialized in sports injuries here in San Diego. I was then asked to work at the largest physical therapy clinic in San Diego, “Sports and Orthopedic Physical Therapy”. This was a unique opportunity to learn, as there were 13 orthopedic surgeons and 22 physical therapists and athletic trainers working together in that center. My rapidly expanding practice allowed me to work closely with orthopedic surgeons and to attend many surgical procedures.

In 1989 I completed my training in the St. John method of Neuromuscular Therapy and was asked by the physicians of the center to complete my training to give medical injection as a physician’s assistant, which I did. I did this because the physicians had a hard time accurately injecting trigger points due to lack of fine palpatory skills, which often take years to develop. After giving 100s of injections, I found that dry needling, or needling trigger points with a 30-gage acupuncture needle worked just as well and was less traumatic to the patients. The physicians were happy to allow me to further develop my skills in this area.

All the while I was being referred many very challenging patients, patients that had often failed with traditional approaches, I was finding that a key reason for the results I was able to obtain stemmed from applying strength training exercises as a mandatory part of my therapeutic regimen, something I had learned the value of as an athlete and as Trainer of the Army Boxing Team.

While the doctors and physical therapists I worked closely with could not dispute the results I was able to achieve with their patients (and many of them!), my approach went completely against the grain of their training. For example, on more occasions than I can count, I found myself in a heated debate with a doctor or a physical therapist over the fact that I was teaching people with injuries (particularly back injuries) to perform squats, deadlifts and many other functional free-weight techniques. The doctors and physical therapists expressed great fear that I would hurt someone, yet these interrogations as to my methods most always took place immediately after we had just visited the doctor for the regularly scheduled patient check-up, at which time the physician, PT and myself would all meet with the patient to discuss progress. While the patients were most often elated at the progress they were making with my combinations of stretching, massage, joint mobilizations and exercises, the treating doctors and referring physical therapists seemed to lose all sense of logic in the presence of the fears that emanated from their medical training; it was their training that if you hurt your back squatting or bending, for example, that you must NOT do that movement any more to avoid injury!

Most of these interrogations of my approach, which began by my being told I could not use such methods anymore – ended with my pointing out that the patient was referred to me as a last chance approach before their insurance ran out or before the doctor was to attempt another surgery, and that in as little as four weeks on my program, most had made more progress than they had in all previous attempts at rehabilitation! This fact could not be denied. As medical professionals trained in an academic environment that touted scientific principles, they routinely challenged me to prove beyond the subjective comments of my patients that my methods worked. It was under these pressures, and my own interest to validate the selective prescription of exercises as therapeutic modalities that I began an intensive search for and application of goniometric (calibrated) measurement technologies.

Under pressure to “prove” that my approach worked, I invented calibrated tools for measuring such things as forward head posture, the angle of the first rib (informs about shoulder position and breathing mechanics) pelvic tilt, and applied standard physical therapy goniometry to assess the range of motion of the musculoskeletal system. After collecting data for two years, I began to see a trend developing – the more crunches and sit-ups athletes did, particularly in absence of exercises for the extensor muscles (pulling exercises) the more out of alignment their bodies became. Using my measurements, I could both better select exercises and could prove that my approach worked.

This really attracted the attention of the doctors and physical therapists, who eventually suggested I start teaching these methods to physical therapists. Word of my approach spread through the medical community and resulted in me being asked to contribute a chapter on Posture and Craniofacial Pain to a book directed toward non-surgical approaches to chronic head pain titled Chiropractic Approach To Head Pain" by Williams and Wilkins, which was published in 1994, two years after I completed it.

My practice grew to be very large, so large in fact that I was producing ~36 percent of all the business in the largest physical therapy clinic in San Diego, which led me to leave and open my own physical therapy clinic with a partner, Steve Clarke, MHS, PT, OCS, SCS. Steve was an expert at shoulder and knee injuries, while I had developed a reputation as the guy to see when your spine was not responding to conventional approaches. We ran our clinic successfully for three and a half years in La Jolla, Ca before selling it because the insurance game was killing our practice ethics. During nine years that had elapsed since leaving the Army, I had traveled worldwide, spending about 1/2 my annual income taking courses from the best doctors and therapists I could find on topic relevant to my work. My style was to find the best, learn from them and immediately apply what I had learned upon returning to the clinic. My extensive assessment and record keeping allowed me to document what worked and didn’t work, further refining my skills and abilities as a therapist.

After selling my physical therapy clinic and having a challenging time selling my concepts to the American machine based exercise and rehabilitation world, I decided to travel internationally and share my methods. My first stop was Australia, followed by New Zealand. My seminars were well received and well attended, which was exciting for me. The world spread quickly, leading to many successive seminar tours in the South Pacific. It was in 1995 that I had decided to develop an internship program to teach my methods to those that wanted advanced training, an offering that was very well received in the South Pacific.

I developed a four level training program that was designed to be completed in between 2-4 years. My program was very expensive and challenging, specifically designed to produce elite exercise and rehabilitation professionals and was modeled after my training as a paratrooper in the military – the weak at heart who couldn’t or wouldn’t complete the necessary homework and studies were let go and only the best were allowed to progress onward. Today, there are over 500 people in my program spanning the South Pacific, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Ireland, England, South Africa and many other countries including the US. Of the five instructors now qualified to travel the world and teach my system of corrective and performance exercise and holistic health methodologies, four of them come from New Zealand! New Zealand today is home to some of the very best exercise and rehabilitation professionals worldwide! I can attest to that because I travel the world and work for major organizations, sports teams and consult patients, allowing me constant interaction with the international scene.

DEFINING A CHEK PRACTITIONER

My program was specifically designed to be multi-disciplinary. I had learned early in the game that most people were simply too complex to rehabilitate with isolated specialties. I regularly needed the assistance of other expert doctors and therapists, which offered a great learning opportunity. With this in mind, I built the concept of cross-pollination into my program. Today, a CHEK Practitioner is signified by their level of training (Level I-IV) and there are also “Nutrition and Lifestyle Management Coaches” (NLC’s), a certification I developed to teach how to integrate functional eating and lifestyle management practices into and exercise and rehabilitation program for optimum results. There are also “CHEK Certified Golf Biomechanics”, which are people that have completed and passed my testing procedures in the area of scientific golf conditioning. While all CHEK Practitioners come into the program with some professional certification or license, they are all trained to objectively quantify progress through the use of comprehensive evaluation, treatment, coaching and program design technologies and the NLC’s and Level IV practitioners share the ability to carefully assess the relationships between diet, internal organ stress and lifestyle factors and musculoskeletal pain or performance plateau’s. These people have committed to extensive continuing education and are indoctrinated into a multidisciplinary approach to assisting others in achieving their goals.

DEFINING A CHEK PRACTITIONER

My program was specifically designed to be multi-disciplinary. I had learned early in the game that most people were simply too complex to rehabilitate with isolated specialties. I regularly needed the assistance of other expert doctors and therapists, which offered a great learning opportunity. With this in mind, I built the concept of cross-pollination into my program. Today, a CHEK Practitioner is signified by their level of training (Level I-IV) and there are also “Nutrition and Lifestyle Management Coaches” (NLC’s), a certification I developed to teach how to integrate functional eating and lifestyle management practices into and exercise and rehabilitation program for optimum results. There are also “CHEK Certified Golf Biomechanics”, which are people that have completed and passed my testing procedures in the area of scientific golf conditioning.

While all CHEK Practitioners come into the program with some professional certification or license, they are all trained to objectively quantify progress through the use of comprehensive evaluation, treatment, coaching and program design technologies and the NLC’s and Level IV practitioners share the ability to carefully assess the relationships between diet, internal organ stress and lifestyle factors and musculoskeletal pain or performance plateau’s. These people have committed to extensive continuing education and are indoctrinated into a multidisciplinary approach to assisting others in achieving their goals.

While some countries have many skilled exercise and health care professionals, the CHEK Practitioners are surely to be those that have committed to excellence, because the program demands it!

You can Search the Connect directory to find a C.H.E.K Practitioner, Golf Biomechanic or NLC in your area.