Kimberly Burnham, IMTC, PhD Candidate

Essays and articles written by Kimberly Burnham, whose interests include Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), CenterIMT, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Parkinson's Disease, Vision, VisionIMT, Eye Disorders, Travel, Languages, PhD Candidate, Westbrook University, Connecticut School of Integrative Manual Therapy.

Name:
Location: Bloomfield, Connecticut, United States

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Overview - What I have been doing since High School in Brussels

Kimberly Burnham 1957 -

First the travelog.

I finished 5th grade at ISB in Brussels, Belgium and was there through 11th grade. That summer (1974) we moved to Ohio and I was mad at my Dad for a year for moving us just before my last year in high school. Living in Belgium was an wonderful life. I had friends from every English speaking country and many non-English speaking countries. Summer meant vacations to the U.S. for several months, staying mostly with my grandparent or aunts and uncles. Or it meant a couple of weeks on the beach in Spain, or traveling in Italy, once a safari in Kenya and Tanzania. Winter meant ski holidays to Austria, Switzerland, and France.

I had a remarkable education both because of the school and because of the international environment I grew up in. I had letters in Swimming, Basketball, Volleyball, and Track when I left Belgium. In Ohio, I was one credit short of graduating at the beginning of my senior year in high school and so took things like drafting, computers, cooking and art just to keep my sanity in the repressive atmosphere of an American suburban high school after growing up in Europe.

One time after we moved back to Ohio, a woman asked me where we moved from and I said Belgium, she said, "you speak English, very well". I thought she was an idiot. That year in Ohio, was hard, despite being named Miss Wolverine, the best female athlete in the school. It wasn’t comforting to me, I didn’t want to be the best, I wanted to be playing ball with my friends in Belgium.

The day after I finished high school in 1975, I went out to Utah where I had a summer job working at a family camp before attending Brigham Young University. My grandfather had donated land to the university, ensuring that all of his grandchildren received full paid scholarships. I graduated in 1982 with a degree in Zoology with a teaching emphasis and a focus on marine biology and entomology. Upon graduating I moved back to Japan to teach English.

When I was 21 year old, which feels like literally a lifetime ago, I went on a Mormon mission. Predictably because of my previous language experience, I scored well on the language aptitude test and was sent to Japan. It was a surprise because given my fluency in both Spanish and French, I expected to be sent somewhere to use those languages. I loved learning Japanese and living in Japan for that year and a half, the rest was a once in a lifetime experience, because you wouldn’t want to do it twice.

It was also at that time that I started to really develop my knowledge of who I am and what I want. I am not the person in a restaurant who can’t decide between the salmon and the pasta. I know what I want in virtually all aspects of my life. I know quickly what I want, I just don’t fully know, how I know, but I know what works for me and what is right for me. I have a very low threshold for doing things that I don’t like doing, which is a mixed blessing, but overall it means I do what makes me happy most of the time.

After university I moved back to Japan and taught English as a foreign language to Japanese businessmen for three years. Living in Japan was great fun. Things to do and see every weekend. I already knew Japanese so getting around was easy.

From Japan in 1985, my girlfriend and I moved to Toronto, Canada where I worked for 10 years as a freelance journalist. No, you probably haven’t read my writing. I worked mostly for agricultural trade publications. Then I switched careers and went to massage therapy school at Sutherland-Chan in Toronto. I owned and worked in a private clinic in Toronto for 5 years. Then I started studying Integrative Manual Therapy, developed by Sharon Weiselfish-Giammatteo.

After 13 years in Toronto and having acquired Canadian citizenship, I moved to West Hartford, Connecticut to work with Sharon. I worked for CenterIMT for four years before transferring to Boulder, Colorado, where I currently live and work.

I moved to Boulder and opened the office in Jan 2001. At CenterIMT Boulder, I am the clinical manager as well as the director of knowledge management and the VisionIMT program for the corporation.

I am currently in the process of moving back to Connecticut to continue my work for CenterIMT at our headquarters.

Then for the current interests:

My Work: I have worked for four years in the head office in Bloomfield Connecticut for an organization which has several divisions. I worked for Regional Physical Therapy and Desert Light Health Associates in Connecticut as a practitioner of Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT).
In January 2002, I transferred to Boulder, Colorado to open CenterIMT Boulder. I oversee the day to day clinical needs of the practice along with the practice manager, Karen Drucker, Psy.D.. Minimal amounts of my time is spent on administrative duties, with the bulk of my time in Boulder spent in direct client care doing Integrative Manual Therapy. In addition to working in Boulder, I work from time to time in some of our other clinics. Most recently, I was teaching and working in Israel for two weeks. I teach about 15 three or four day courses a year for Dialogues in Contemporary Education, our educational arm. The students are primarily physical therapists, massage therapists with a few, chiropractors, occupational therapists and doctors.
For more information see www.CenterIMT.com .

As a result of my studies I am recognized as an Integrative Manual Therapist, Certified (I.M.T.,C.). In addition to being a therapist and the Clinical Director of CenterIMT Boulder, I am also the Director of Knowledge Management for CenterIMT headquartered in Bloomfield, CT as well as the Director of our VisionIMT Department at the Connecticut School for Integrative Manual Therapy.

Integrative Manual Therapy is a hands on way of working with the body’s ability to regain health and function. I work with people with such varied conditions as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, autism, Down’s syndrome, macular degeneration, strokes, high blood pressure, spinal cord injuries, lymphedema as well as low back pain, torn knee ligaments and headaches.

Neurologic Conditions: Recently a 71 year old woman came for 80 hours of treatment over a 3 week period. She has mild Parkinson’s. In a three week period she was able to decrease her Parkinson’s medication by half, while reporting a considerable decrease in her pain and stiffness. Her tremors decreased significantly and there was an improvement in her facial expression, the use of her hand for writing and her ability to walk up and down stairs. I had the privilege of being part of the team that helped her make significant gains in the quality of her life.

There are far too many people in this country and in the world who as they age are developing degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, I want to be part of the solution. I feel that by doing doctoral research into neurodegenerative disease, I will be on my way to achieving that goal.

I have already done significant studies and work in the field of neurology, such as developing a NeuroAnatomy course for Integrative Manual Therapy Practitioners. My objective is to complete a doctorate as a part of the research and program development I am already committed to doing.

Language and Speech: I have studied extensively in the field of linguistics, languages and linguistic acquisition. My experience with language has been from a personal perspective of learning a first, then second, third and fourth languages. I have also studied how our ability to hear influences our ability to speak, I would now like to focus more on the deterioration of speech and how improvements can be made in a person’s ability to communicate when the cause for the degeneration is neurological.

SCUBA Diving: In addition to languages, sciences, and photography, my interests include SCUBA diving and quantum physics. My most amazing dive trip was last fall when I spent 3 days diving in the Red Sea out from Dahab, Egypt. I was working in Israel for three weeks in our clinic there, when I had the opportunity to fulfil one of my life time dreams. The insights I gained on the nature of conflict, hate and safety as well as the joy of diving in the Red Sea and traveling, made for an amazing 3 weeks in the Middle East. Additionally, I was there September 11, 2001, which intensified the experience. How safe you perceive yourself to be is influenced by many factors, including how much information you have and how well you are able to respond to your environment. I believe that control of our environment is only an illusion but one that many of us cling to.

Quantum Physics: My interest in quantum physics focuses on a sense that the answer to the question: "How does Integrative Manual Therapy work?" may be found in new approaches to physics and mathematics.

The application of the concepts of fractals and patterned chaos theory to biological or living systems, fascinates me. It seems almost counterintuitive, but has been shown, that an EKG reading of a person’s heart beat is most chaotic in a healthy heart and most predictably patterned in a person soon to have a heart attack. A brain with chaotic brain waves seems healthiest and most conscious while a brain caught in a pattern may be having a seizure. One of my definitions of health would be the ability to meet the environment, whatever it is, take it in and respond appropriately to it in a conscious way. Chaos to me is a place where anything is possible, making it the ultimate place from which to adapt to the world. Obsessive compulsive behavior would be one way to try to control the environment because of a lack of health and an inability to be flexible and adaptable.

Another aspect of quantum physics which influences my ability to participate successfully in a doctoral program is the idea that the world is not necessarily what it seems to be. Since reading material on quantum physics, I am more open to the world as it is, while realizing I may have no idea how the world really is. I believe you can’t be narrow minded or rigid and at the same time seek to understand and be open to the ideas of quantum physics. I love the quantum physics concept that seems to point to the possibility that anything is possible. In a world where anything is possible I can help thousands of people recover from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Travel

I love visiting places for shorter or longer periods of time. I recently came back from a great work related trip to Israel. Now I am studying some Hebrew.

All the travel makes me pretty good at Trivial Pursuit. I am great at geography and science, with significant weakness in sports and entertainment because I have huge pop culture gaps in my education, not having watched much American TV growing up. Once when I was 23, and just back from a year and a half in Japan, someone handed me a can of root beer and I looked at it, not knowing how to open it. The tear off tabs were replaced on pop cans in 1980, a year when
I had virtually no exposure to American culture.

The themes in my life: Three themes run through my life: communication, wholism and a quest for knowledge and travel.

First, I have learned four languages (English, Spanish, French and Japanese) well and worked for ten years as a journalist. My interest in communication includes, how people communicate, how people learn to communicate and how people function when communication is difficult. My doctoral focus on Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s will intensify this study of communication and the loss and recovery of the ability to communicate. I started a distance learning PhD program in 2003 through Westbrook University.

Second, I have had a wide variety of educational and life experiences that enable me to look at the big picture and as well as the details from a holistic perspective. My education includes public and private schools in five different countries. I have studied and worked in widely varied fields, including marine biology, entomology, petroleum research, English language learning, journalism, massage therapy and my current profession in Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT). Each has enabled me to look at situations from a unique perspective.

Third is a quest for knowledge and the use of scholarship to carve out a better life for myself, my family and my friends. This is reflected in my extensive educational background as well as the wide reading, I have done since childhood. I learned to love language, reading and the joy of finding answers from my father, who is 72 this year.

My post secondary education started at Brigham Young University in 1975. I started with an open major at the university in Provo, Utah. By my second year I was in the Zoology department with an eye to going into physical education, physical therapy or marine biology. I ended up heavily emphasizing aquatic biology and entomology. Many of the insects I collected during my time at BYU are currently in the Monte L. Bean museum on campus.

I participated in several BYU programs off campus, which allowed for field work. I spent a quarter in Provo Canyon studying wildlife management, ecology and fresh water biology. I spent a quarter at the University of Washington’s marine labs at Friday Harbor, Washington in the Puget Sound. I spent a semester in Laie, Hawaii at BYU’s Hawaii Campus and earned a certificate in Marine Sciences and Oceanography. I worked part-time during my last couple of years at the on campus museum sorting insects and helped with writing publications on entomology related subjects.

I played on the university basketball team my first year and then continued to be active in intramural sports. This was the continuation of athletic endeavors and team participation in junior high and high school. I earned High School letters in swimming, basketball, volleyball and track.

I took a two year break from university to serve as a Mormon missionary in the Tokyo North Mission in Japan. At that time I learned Japanese, which is the fourth language in which I have had fluency.

My first language was English as my parents are Americans and I spent my first 6 years in the U.S. We then moved to Bogota, Colombia, where my father worked for an accounting firm. I learned Spanish in the three and a half years we were there before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where I learned French. I was proficient enough in French to take third year university literature classes in French and continue to have moderate ability in French.

I took several classes in linguistics and teaching English as a foreign language, developing my interest in languages and language acquisition. I also earned several university credits in Japanese while part of a study abroad program in Asia in 1982, the year I graduated from BYU. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology, composite teaching in Biology.

I went back to Japan upon graduating from BYU and spent 3 years teaching English to Japanese business men. While teaching I learned and used a Neuro Linguistic Programming like teaching method called Suggestopedia and helped write several English language learning texts.

In addition to working in an international business environment, I traveled extensively while in Japan, visiting China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Korea. Upon leaving Japan, I also spent 6 weeks traveling in the former Soviet Union, taking the Trans-Siberia railway from Eastern Soviet Union to Leningrad / St. Petersburg. I visited Tashkent and Samarkand in the South, before traveling into Scandinavia. The most striking thing for me about these trips was the contrast between countries and cultures. For example, meat but few vegetables were available in the Northern Soviet Union while vegetables but little meat were available in the Southern Soviet Union. There were very few fresh fruits and vegetables in Leningrad and mountains of fresh produce in the markets of Helsinki, Finland, a short train ride away. It was as if production was not so much the problem as access, communication and transportation.

When I was in Japan I also pursued my interest in health care with evening classes in Shiatsu and acupressure.

In 1985, on returning to North America, I frequently visited Toronto, Canada while working as a freelance journalist. I eventually moved to Canada and received Canadian citizenship in 1995. I currently have dual citizenship (U.S. and Canada).

The ten year from 1985 to 1995, I worked as a freelance journalist, primarily in the agriculture field. At the height of my journalism career, I wrote 250 + articles a year, primarily for The Produce News, "all the news that’s fresh". I also wrote for Canadian Greenhouse, Canadian Fruit Grower, Flowershop Magazine, The Growing Edge, Quilt World, Sailing and others. My friends thought my best articles were in Onion World, a high gloss monthly magazine for onion growers. One of my favorite articles was about an organic herb grower outside of Detroit, Michigan, who was using hydroponic growing methods over a landfill site, using the methane produced by the landfill to heat the greenhouses.

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