A Santa Barbara-based physical therapist has founded the Research Institute of Human Movement, a nonprofit focused on promoting the role of movement in human performance and quality of life.
Dr. Maury Hayashida, who owns Hayashida & Associates Physical Therapy, said his experience as a physical therapist convinced him that the South Coast needed an organization that could serve as a platform for academics, students and clinicians to collaborate on research and solutions to movement-related pain and disability.
“As a physical therapist working in this community for the past 13 years, I have seen how movement-related pain and an impaired quality of life and performance threaten everyone,” Hayashida said. “Most of the conditions I am used to seeing in the clinic came about from gradual adaptations the body made, which slowly but surely altered the way it moves. When human movement deviates from normal, it’s only a matter of time until something begins to hurt or performance begins to decline.”
Hayashida, who serves as executive director of RIHM, said the institute will aim to be the leader in producing original research in maximizing human movement. But its work won’t be purely academic. As part of RIHM’s effort to create a platform for local communities to support the partnership of professors, students and clinicians, it also has a public education and health-care service component.
“It is RIHM’s intent to provide a platform for local movement-health clinicians to apply the research back into clinical settings and support the provision of care to the working poor in our communities who typically do not have the means to access this care,” he said. “Our third objective is to be a source for everyone to attain quality and practical information on how they can take care of themselves and/or access the right providers for care when it is necessary.”
Helping people move without pain, Hayashida said, is a significant first step toward better living and containing soaring health-care costs.
“Quality human movement is a fundamental precursor to quality human living, and it is our vision that every person may know and experience this first hand,” Hayashida said. “We are passionate about helping people move better, and believe that as movement health professionals, it is our job to use scientific evidence to lead communities in attaining optimal movement health.”
The Research Institute of Human Movement, whose staff also includes project managers Andrea Trader and Jacob Goodin and administrative specialist Jasmine Stellar, is already preparing a pair of studies for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Both studies were conducted jointly by undergraduate kinesiology students at Westmont College and local physical therapists from Hayashida & Associates.
The institute, which is funded by donations and grants, is also conducting a study comparing traditional exercise treatment for low back pain and a new product called Core Laser, a device that gives users direct visual feedback on how their bodies are moving. Hayashida & Associates has incorporated the Core Laser in its treatment regimen at its three Santa Barbara-area offices.
For Hayashida, the Research Institute of Human Movement is the perfect complement to his work as a physical therapist.
“Every patient deserves to have access to current, best-evidenced treatment approaches,” he said. “In turn, movement health professionals such as physical therapists should be evidence-informed and seek to apply evidence-based treatments in order to provide the highest standard of care for their patients. I believe RIHM will facilitate both the public and the clinician in achieving both of these objectives while at the same time providing undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to participate in both research and practical applications of the research.”
— Jennifer Goddard is a publicist representing the Research Institute of Human Movement.