Apr 30 2016

Garner, Ginger

-Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity, (1)Professional History & Goals

1996 and prior – ATC/LAT, yoga and yoga therapy education

1996-1998 – MPT from UNC

1998-2003 – Outpatient orthopaedic, inpatient general, sports medicine, home health, women’s health, and both insurance-based and cash-based practice

2000 – Founded Professional Yoga Therapy Institute (PYTI) and began writing and teaching approved CE for yoga in rehabilitation (interdisciplinary)

2003 to present – Executive Director, PYTI; Owner and Therapist, Crystal Coast Integrative Medicine & Physical Therapy – Cash-based private practice – chronic pain with emphasis in orthopaedics and women’s health; Lecturer/Educator/Course Developer – Multiple CE organizations and universities worldwide

2013-2016 – tDPT from UNC

2013-2016 – writing my first book on yoga in rehabilitation


Teaching at MISTY in Montreal, Canada earlier in 2016

I have been a practicing physical therapist since 1998 and athletic trainer since 1995, with my greatest emphasis on chronic pain management for women using complementary and integrative medicine blended with physical therapy. From 2005, I have also been a mother. This means I have both seen and experienced the inequities that exist against women in the workplace – in both healthcare and corporate sectors.

I have also spent the last 18 years in proximity to two of the biggest military bases in the world. Interestingly, mothers and veterans present with some of the same problems, physically and socially. They are isolated, oftentimes the product of fractured care, and have similar issues with chronic pain, oftentimes including PTSD, trauma, and sleep problems. This was the original impetus which drove me to write CE, practice creatively as a therapist, and ultimately, pursue my tDPT back at my “home base” of UNC.

Lauren Kramer Review

A quote from one of my students in the PYTI program.

My professional goals for the tDPT program were (and still are) to support the profession and APTA’s vision statement by earning the DPT, expand my knowledge in areas of advocacy for access to PT, troubleshoot ways to better serve the public and the profession through collaboration and development of interprofessional dialogue and education, and to pursue research and public health promotion in the use of yoga in healthcare. Quite honestly, starting out I was not sure how I was going to do that while also having just signed a contract to write my first book in addition to maintaining the helm and direction of my own work, coupled with the work/life demands of raising a family with three boys ages 7 and under.

My history in PT practice has led to my persistent work in the use of yoga, founding Professional Yoga Therapy Institute, and now publishing my first textbook on medical yoga methodology this summer, Medical Therapeutic Yoga, which I wrote during my work here at UNC toward my tDPT. My professional goals remain constant as I hope to continue my work in yoga clinical work with research and teaching here at UNC. Some of the projects I am currently working on and will continue to work on in the future include:

  • Applying for a grant and leadership fellowship in the Clinical Scholars Program with Karen McCulloch and colleagues here at UNC through the Robert Wood Foundation to address suicide in the military through yoga as an antidote.
  • Continuing to work toward researching mTBI and PTSD and the systems-based effects of medical yoga methodology with Karen McCulloch, UNC, and the US military.
  • Hopefully joining the faculty at UNC to assist with teaching coursework in the DPT program.
  • Plans to formally expand the PYTI program for study of medical therapeutic yoga into Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Vietnam, and Canada. Plans are already underway for expansions in each country, which is a lifetime dream realized.
  • Publication of my first textbook in June/July 2016 through Handspring Pub, Ltd., Scotland.
  • Working toward having my book translated into Chinese.
  • Shooting companion videos as part of the multi-media interactivity of the book.
  • Write a new 16-hour post-operative rehabilitation course on hip labral and femoracetabular repair, due to launch February 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Travel to Australia to teach medical therapeutic yoga to PT’s – May, 2017
  • Travel to China to teach perinatal medical therapeutic yoga to PT’s in a fledgling PT industry – TBD
  • MichaelGreenPhotography.ca_10

    Speaking at the Montreal Symposium on Therapeutic Yoga, March 2016. Pictured with my assistant, Naomi, at our PYTI table. Photo courtesy of Michael Green Photography.

    Travel to Vietnam to teach pediatric-oriented medical therapeutic yoga for addressing children’s needs with autism spectrum disorder – TBD (humanitarian aide trip)

  • Travel to Canada to teach medical therapeutic yoga to interprofessional health care professionals Fall, 2017; for yoga professionals October, 2017
  • Travel to UK and Ireland to teach medical therapeutic yoga Fall, 2017.
  • Finish and submit a paper for publication on Diastasis Rectus Abdominis: A Narrative Review.
  • Submit proposals to speak at World Congress (PT) 2017 in South Africa, and NATA (athletic training annual meeting) and CSM for 2018.
  • Continue to work toward formalizing an organization to recognize interprofessional’s right to use medical use of yoga in healthcare within their scope of practice.
  • Continue to work with lay yoga organizations to teach proper scope of practice and referral to PT for yoga injury prevention and education (YogaMate, Yoga University, Yoga Alliance Registry, International Assocation of Yoga Therapists).
  • Continue teaching for Herman and Wallace Rehabilitation Institute, MedBridge, and Allied Health Education.

    My (almost ready) book cover top choice (after 6 tries with 4 different artists).

    Expand medical therapeutic yoga education to offer seminar series through PYTI in clinical specialties ranging from neurology to chronic pain to pediatrics.

  • Continue consulting with, and teaching at, universities in Canada and the US to include medical therapeutic yoga methodology in EB practice and Health Promotion coursework.
  • Grow my work in policy advocacy at the state (NCPTA) and national (APTA) level for use of CIM (complementary and integrative medicine) in the PT scope of practice.
  • Continue blogging (www.gingergarner.com) to increase awareness about CIM in PT scope of practice and for patient advocacy for improving access to PT services


In hindsight, I feel quite privileged to have been able to pen my first book while completing my tDPT at UNC. The timing was exactly as it was supposed to be. My work on the tDPT has enriched both my clinical and writing work, without a doubt, and I hope to remain close to UNC and academics through continuing my work in education and research. My book will be published in June/July of this year, and represents the largest body of my work completed while at UNC.  The book is representative of many courses I took in the tDPT program, including advanced practice (I and II), the summer education class, and the health and wellness course, for starters. One of the notable papers I completed for the advanced practice course was GGarner Vestibular_Case_Study+Algorithm. My book website will be launched soon, www.medicaltherapeuticyoga.com, and news of its release can be found at www.facebook.com/medicaltherapeuticyoga. My capstone also represents some of my work done here at UNC as well, Facilitating Health Promotion in Physical Therapy Using Yoga. Additionally, there is my instructional design project on executive functioning in autism, found below.



Having fun with the spine at the photo shoot for my book.

All of the coursework I completed as a part of my tDPT work at UNC was beneficial, however I think the most important class was Nancy Garland’s Professional Issues course. Without action on our part to secure the future of physical therapy through policy and legislative efforts, there would be no use for, or avenue to use, clinical or evidence-based practice. Second, the flexibility of UNC to allow me to pursue coursework outside of the given electives was also a gift, and very valuable in my professional development. While I spent a good 5 years studying instructional design with a PhD mentor from Duke University, the semester’s work I did at ECU in Instructional Design with Dr. Patricia Slagter van Tryon was immeasurably valuable. My final project, Development of an Operational Executive Functioning Skillset in 4th Grade Children, pushed me beyond my comfort zone by allowing me to creatively delve into a completely different substrate of my work as a physical therapist and educator.


Teaching yoga in rehab at AT Still University during my time at UNC. We are demonstrating partnership theory relationship through shoulder-to-shoulder “ganesha mudra.”

GGarner Teaching Beach Tree copy

A beach break while teaching yoga as medicine for health care pros in Emerald Isle, NC

The program has also provided me with enormous collaborative potential, leading to outside research and community activism with Karen McCulloch, work on my book with Dr. Stephen Porges in the psychology department, and making connections in military populations that will allow for improving delivery of healthcare services through yoga for a long time to come. As a lifelong learner, my education does not end with my tDPT. Thousands of hours logged in writing and teaching continuing education, blogging, advocacy work, not to mention my book, definitely increase my passion for learning and continuing to teach. My oldest son, who is 10 years old, asked me the other day, “Mom, are you still going to get that PhD too?,” to which he followed with, “I don’t know if you need two doctorates Mom.,” with a smirk. I shot back with a laugh, “You are right Michael, but just because I’m no longer in school, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mom won’t keep on learning for the rest of my life.” “Yes, he said, you are right.” Hearing my son respond in the affirmative about lifelong learning, especially my child with autism, who struggles with learning disabilities and self-confidence, was the greatest gift this tDPT program could have given me. Thank you.

Modern Family

Family photo captured during the mid-range of my time at UNC

A big thank you goes to Kmac and my family (what troopers they are to handle my annual teaching schedule, writing requirements, and school demands) – who also well handled and accommodated by need to extend my attendance in the program for a full year – after I had to undergo an unexpected hip reconstruction and my oldest son’s diagnoses with autism spectrum disorder. I could not have done it without faith and hope in you and in the Greater Good that lies beyond the stars.


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