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Free Physical Therapy Service Relaxes Nosarans

article and photos By Pinar Istek

Betty Noguera Matarrita, 62, got sleepy after receiving a massage from the physical therapists of PTOT Mission service group.  Referring to her arm and back pains, she said, “For 15 years I have been feeling really bad.” After one session, she was able to move her arm now and was hoping to do the exercises at home to maintain the relaxation she got.

From April 19th to April 24th, a group of 12 physical therapy students from Florida and California and four instructors visited Nosara to hold free physical therapy clinics In Nosara town center, Santa Marta and La Esperanza.

Physical therapists evaluate, diagnose and treat muscle, joint, tendon, ligament, bone and nerve problems combining techniques such as stretches, exercises, massage, heat and cold to reduce pain and improve or restore mobility.

According to Todd Bourgeois, an instructor from University of St. Augustine, Florida and one of the leaders of the group, it is a Christian belief-based mission group. However the goal is not to spread the religion but spread the good deeds.

Their visit to Nosara was a result of a community effort thanks to people like Linda Tarlow, Page Sieffert, Richard Burnam and Jay Quinsebery, who helped organize the week-long free clinic service for community members who don’t normally have access to such health services.


The mission group not only provided massages but also brought medical supplies with them.  According to Bourgeois, they gathered the supplies through donations and a fundraising event they organized in the United States.

The visit was a mutually enriching experience for the physical therapists and the community as well. While Nosarans received free healthcare service, the therapists got to enjoy the natural beauty of the town and experience some of the activities offered in the area.

Additionally, it was an opportunity for the students to practice what they learn at school. Amanda Weekes, a University of St. Augustine student, said, “this is one of the first times for us that we have gotten to do manual therapy on real patients. It is just really exciting to see their improvement.”
Members of PTOT Mission service group have been working together for more than two years. On these trips each member is responsible to meet their own expenses. Bourgeois commented that they try to organize trips to places where they can serve but also experience cultural immersion.

Jay Quinsebery, who had a major role in making this visit happen, said, “[The therapists] are giving you a seed of knowledge. But now [the patients] need to continue doing the exercises. They need to plant the seeds, water, and care with the exercises to eat the fruits.”



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