KORT therapist teaches in Italy
Until last December, KORT Physical Therapy’s clinic director had never visited the country where, until the age of six, he thought his ancestors hailed from. It was not an unnatural assumption for a child to make, as in America, most people whose names end in vowels are Italian. James Escaloni’s first visit to Italy – a continuing education conference for the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy – came nearly three decades after his father broke the news that he descended from Turks and Spaniards. Perhaps the early confusion over what sort of blood flowed in his veins prepared Escaloni for the addresses he gave in Rome to others in his field from several different nations. Escaloni said he was chosen for the expenses-paid trip after a fellowship at the University of South Carolina. “From my work that I’d done with them, I stood out from … my passion for differential diagnosis as well as certain types of thrust manipulation techniques, so they wanted me to start teaching a little bit more. And those became very popular very quickly …” Escaloni said. The week-long conference that began Dec. 9 involved more than 150 physical therapists, including a doctor from the Paris School of Osteopathy. Fueled by strong coffee, and lots of it, Escaloni and others taught and listened, all day, every day. “Everybody worked in different types of settings, just like I do here in Versailles, but in their towns, within either Italy, or Paris, we had some people from Turkey and Greece, somebody from Iceland – it was all over the place,” Escaloni said. One colleague had extensive knowledge of tension-type headaches and migraines, another had been published around the world on the subject of pinched nerves, while another was a West Point graduate with a Ph.D. in neuroscience. “ He knows more about cervicogenic headaches and neuroscience that’s related to it than probably anybody out there. Brilliant people – I was feeling pretty humbled to be around them,” Escaloni said. An interpreter helped get the ideas of Escaloni and other speakers across, though most of the participants spoke at least a little English, he said. Escaloni’s must have come across well, because he’ll be returning to Rome, perhaps this summer and in December, to further discuss his treatments for certain types of headaches and dizziness related to the cervical spine. “I use a lot of thrust manipulation and dry needling, which is kind of like acupuncture. It doesn’t work for everything, but for some things, it works really well. So we’re trying to harness in on that so we don’t waste time if we kind of identify certain people who have these kind of things …” Escaloni said. “We can use these types of treatments and the techniques to identify that and treat it at the same time.” In Rome, Escaloni said the participants were so busy that there was no time for sight-seeing – unless the sight was of rapidly dwindling cups of coffee. “We wake up, we go have some coffee at the espresso shop, then 15 minutes later, we get to the class, gotta go to this café, get some more coffee. And two hours later, coffee break, then we have a big lunch, and we’d have more coffee, then two hours later, another coffee break,” Escaloni said. “They’re kind of joking, ‘If your hands aren’t shaking after that first day, you’re not doing it right.’” Perhaps his first eye-opening experience came long ago, the day his father finally straightened him out about his heritage. Until then, his parents had neither confirmed nor denied his belief that he was Italian. “They just kinda said, ‘Alright, whatever, kid,’” Escaloni said. When his father, an engineer, broke the news to him, he showed the six-year-old the family tree. “It was definitely funny. He said, ‘No, son, no, we’re not Italian. Where’d you get that?’” Escaloni said with a laugh. “When you’re six, you kind of roll with it,” Escaloni said.