By Deb Matsuura

Jamie & Tiffany

Throughout the ten years that Fukuji & Lum has been partners with Northeastern University, there have been a total of 35 PT students come to the islands to work for our company. As we grow as an organization, the need for more Co-op students increases. This semester we are so fortunate to have five students, Tim, Dan, Rose, Tiffany and Jamie. We already introduced Dan and now would like you to meet Jamie and Tiffany.

Jamie is from Rhode Island and is currently a fourth-year in the physical therapy program at Northeastern University in Boston.


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What drew you to physical therapy? 
I knew that I wanted to do something in the health field, but I wasn’t sure specifically what I wanted to go into. As I explored my options, PT seemed like a great profession! I went to physical therapy for a sports injury, which initially sparked my interest. I ended up working at a clinic near my house in high school and it really solidified that I was heading in the right direction.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I went to Maui with my family two years ago and coming back to Hawaii  has always been in the back of my mind. I love the ocean and so being in a place with such beautiful beaches for 6 months was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Also escaping the winter in Boston isn’t too bad. [/one_half_last]

What has been your experience like so far?
I’ve been having a great time in Hawaii so far, the time is flying by though! We have done some great hikes and eaten a lot of food, both of which I’ve really enjoyed. Everyone here is so welcoming, both the staff and patients are so friendly and it has really made such a positive impact on my experience here.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I had a pork lau lau which was very different from what I typically eat. Also spam musubi, which was my first spam experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the spam!


What is on your to do list while here?
My to do list is constantly growing! I just want to keep hiking, going to new beaches and eating endless amounts of food. I also think it would be awesome to learn to surf and to travel to the Big Island.

What are your outside interests?
I like to run and eat! I’m also a huge fan of anything involving animals, especially dogs.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to be open minded as therapist and be supportive and effective in helping patients reach their goals. I want to continue learning the best ways to treat patients throughout my career.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family is probably the biggest influence on my life. Family is very important to me and my family has continued to be so supportive of me in whatever I do. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for them.



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Let’s meet Tiffany!

Tiffany attended Holliston High School in Massachusetts and is currently at Northeastern University in Boston.
What drew you to physical therapy?
I have always wanted to work within the medical profession, but wanted to find a path that incorporated athletics. Physical therapy perfectly combines healthcare and athletics in order to help people return to their daily life. It is a profession that allowed me to spend time with patients and make a tangible impact on their lives.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I have spent my whole life in Massachusetts and have not been far from family. Traveling across the country and part of the pacific will definitely challenge my independence and adaptability. I wanted to challenge myself and experience a new part of the world. Learning about physical therapy here really emphasizes the compassion and empathy of the Hawaiian culture. [/one_half]


What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?I have not eaten a lot of strange things, but my favorite thing to eat is poke! I love that I can go into the seafood section of Foodland and grab a poke bowl! I look forward to trying poi at a luau!

What is on your to do list while here?
I definitely want to try surfing, complete more hikes like three peaks and coco head! I recently heard of a site that has horseback riding, so I want to try that too! There are so many things that I want to do, and everyday the list keeps growing!



What are your outside interests?
I love swimming and it has been great being able to swim in the ocean! Recently, I started helping out at the pool and love that I get to combine PT with aquatics! I also love languages and a lot of people have been teaching me some Hawaiian! Recently, I learned that toes are called mana mana wawae!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to be a therapist that makes my patients laugh, feel comfortable and well cared for. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum has definitely set a great example for me to follow. They are all so passionate about the field and care so deeply about each patient!

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have met many inspirational and wonderful people in my life. However, my parents have given me everything I need to pursue my ambitions. Their support and love has helped me get to where I am today.

By Mark Yanai

Justin S: A Hui Hou

coop 2016

In this week’s blog, Justin reflects on his new experiences at F&L while living and learning about the Hawaiian culture.

Reflections of a Co-Op

by Justin S.

To say I enjoyed my 6 months in Hawaii would be an understatement. I worked with amazing patients and coworkers, learned more than I could have ever expected, and thoroughly enjoyed living in the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
Justin S hike

I felt like a valuable part of a team while working at Fukuji & Lum. Even though it was my first time working in a physical therapy setting, I was trusted and given many responsibilities. It was an incredibly welcoming place to work. While searching for a co-op, the biggest thing I took from the Fukuji & Lum website was being part of their ohana. Family day, potlucks, and the Christmas party were great ways to get to know everybody. I think Art and I combined for about 10 plates of crab legs. Rachel happily invited the co-ops to her house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was such a kind gesture and we had a very fun time! This is just one example, but everybody that I worked with went out of their way to make sure my experience was fun and educational.

Justin S pool

The patients I worked with were fantastic. They taught me a lot about life in Hawaii, looked to me for help with exercises, and were great to talk story with. I will always remember these relationships that helped make my experience so great. I was so fortunate to be presented with t-shirts, poke bowls, and homemade foods from these great people.
Justin S Tri

There were many firsts for me in Hawaii. I completed my first triathlon in September. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t have done it without the swimming help from my coworkers at the pool. I had my first poke bowl my first day on Oahu, and it became a staple in my diet ever since. When working in Kailua, I would always pop over to Foodland for lunch to grab a spicy ahi bowl. I still crave them every day. I surfed for the first time in Waikiki about a week into my stay. Thereafter, I practiced when I could and steadily improved over the 6 months. I’m no Kelly Slater, but I have a lot of fun trying.
Justin S surfing

Everyone always asked if the four co-ops knew each other before arriving in Hawaii. We met up for dinner once, but honestly had no clue who the other three were. Within a week, we bought a car together and were hanging out at the beach and watching Hawaii Five-O every day. Every weekend was filled with fun trips to town, Hawaii Kai, or the North Shore. It made all of us happy to hear that we were the closest group of co-ops that has come through. Ashley, Colby, Leila and I will always have oodles of awesome memories together that we will never forget. Even with our busy schedules, we are still able to see each other occasionally, most recently with a trip to Pokeworks, Boston’s attempt at replicating the divine Hawaiian dish. It wasn’t as good as the ones made in Hawaii, and it was really cold outside, but we still had fun.
Justin S boston

I will always be grateful for this experience, which has undoubtedly been the best 6 months of my life. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who made this experience so awesome.


A hui hou,


By Mark Yanai

Appreciating the Past and Embracing the Future

Reflections of the Co-Op Program

It has been ten years since we began our relationship with Northeastern University‘s Physical Therapy Department and introduced the Cooperative Program at F&L. Looking back at our journey with this exceptional educational partnership has allowed me to recognize how much our relationship with NEU has grown in step with our company’s growth.

In 2007, we took in our first two NEU students, Brittany Giles and Renee Noel. It was a learning experience for all of us, as expectations of our roles were undefined. But as the years passed on, we grew in diligently and developed a program that has now has a history of 32 students over the past ten years.

Personally, I’ve gained so much appreciation for the program and our growing relationship with NEU. I’ve interviewed and hired all of the students that have come into the program and continue to remain in contact with each of them. My recent trip to Boston was a great way to reconnect with some of them and foster new relationships with the staff that sends them our way.


The Co-Op program has provided the students a great way to experience the culture of our island and learn first hand what it’s like to work for a Values-Based Organization. Physical therapy is a profession that requires a high level of emotional intelligence and compassion and we hope that when the students leave, they’ve improved these qualities in themselves.

With that reflection, we look back at one of our students, Colby, who completed his stay with us last fall. Colby shares his experience working and living in Hawaii and compares it to his life back at school in Boston. We also look to the present and future with the introduction of Dan, one of the newest co-ops this current semester. Dan has been here for a couple of months now and tells us a little about himself and why he chose to do his Co-op in Hawaii.

Colby: The Best Six Months of my HI Life

[one_half] It’s been a little over a month since I’ve left the beautiful island of Oahu and I can one hundred percent say I miss it.  Without a doubt I spent the best and happiest six months of my life in Hawaii.  As I write this, my headphones are playing Island 93.1 Da Paina.  After being back in the cold, treacherous, concrete jungle of Boston I’ve been able to narrow down what it is about Hawaii that I especially miss.  And the answer is simple: everything.  Here’s a little look at my Monday-Friday Schedule… and the one that I can’t wait to get back to. [/one_half]



  • Class from 8:00AM-5:30PM.  I have frequent breaks but am studying Gross Anatomy in the library during those breaks.  After 5:30PM I will usually do more homework in the library for Gross Anatomy until about 8PM then grab dinner.  Afterwards, I will finish my week’s assignments and go home.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • Going to work, seeing all the awesome patients in the pool in the morning.  Going up to WORC or to LA in the afternoon and learn something new every single day.  After, I’d even have the option of grabbing dinner at Kim Chee 1!  Every lunch has to be a poke bowl of course, maybe spicy kine, maybe wasabi mayo kine, but definitely a poke bowl.


  • Tuesdays are my relaxation days; I only have one class: Healthcare Research.  But as usual, I have 3 other classes and have to continue studying for those classes too afterwards.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • This is my half day, working 7:30-12:30.  After work I will usually take a drive to Sandy Beach and body surf, body board or take some Clark Little-esque pictures.  Some sort of injury, big or small, will occur at some point during the escapades.

Wednesday & Thursday

  • I have my Gross Anatomy lecture today and cadaver/palpation lab.  In cadaver lab I look at dead people and learn the internal anatomy including organs, muscles, arteries, bones, veins, nerves and everything else.  Palpation lab is learning how to identify all the muscles and bony landmarks of the body on a living person.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • See Monday or Tuesday


  • I have my Tuesday class again with recitation after.  After I will probably head to the library and in the evening I will finally be able to unwind before the weekend when I have to learn everything I accomplished during the week.
  • What I would like to be doing:
    • Literally anything else, I miss you Hawai’i and all of the wonderful people!

Mahalo nui loa to my Fukuji & Lum Family.  A hui hou!
As many may know, I enjoy taking pictures… here are a few of my favorites!

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We are so appreciative of Colby for sharing his experience with us as well as some of his favorites photos of the islands. As Colby transitions back to Boston life, Dan is here to soak up the sun and gain some PT knowledge “Hawaiian Style”!

Let’s Meet Dan!


What school did you attend and what’s your current college?
The University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. After receiving a bachelors degree in exercise science, I was accepted into the DPT program at Northeastern University where I am currently studying.


What drew you to physical therapy?
In high school I played soccer and lacrosse where I accumulated numerous injuries which first allowed me to see the patient side of physical therapy. When I started at UNE, I was not set on physical therapy; however the classes, faculty, and internship experience I underwent quickly showed me this was the work field I desired. The feeling of helping patients achieve their goals and helping them return to a high quality of life drives me to become a PT.
Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
During my undergrad, I was fortunate enough to spend a semester internship at an out-patient orthopedic clinic. I immediately gravitated to this environment as it provides a laid-back, friendly atmosphere of rehabilitation.

What has been your experience like so far?
The atmosphere at Fukuji & Lum along with their therapist’s has been everything I expected and hoped. When arriving at either the W.O.R.C or the pool (the two clinics I work at) you are immediately greeted by the friendly staff, which creates a fun, engaging atmosphere allowing for a more successful treatment session.[/one_half]




What is on your to do list while here?
I tried to limit the list of things to do before arriving at Hawaii as I wanted to talk to therapists and patients to discover the best activities to try from those who live on the island. I am a big hiker and avid scuba diver, but I also wanted to try new things such as surfing.

What is your favorite thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I want to be a therapist that sees patients for the individuals that they are, one who engages and develops lasting relationships with patients that show I care about their recovery and is glad to see them.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
This is an impossible question for me as I have been greatly influenced by so many wonderful people. I expect by the end of these six months there will be several more people who I can add to this list. My family is one influence that has always pushed me to discover new experiences and continue along my dream of becoming a physical therapist.


By Deb Matsuura

Happy 2017!

Bringing in the New Year!


With the start of 2017, we can look forward with renewed hope that this year will be as great as last year. In thinking about this blog, I looked back at 2016 and reflected with gratitude of the blessings that were bestowed on the company and the tremendous growth of our staff and clinics.

Personally, it was a one of the most challenging years with the organization, one that brought me both personal and professional rewards. I traveled more in one year than I have in my lifetime and was able to form new relationships and memories. I hope to blog about those experiences throughout the year.

[one_half] For F&L, this year started off with the one-year anniversary of our Honolulu clinic. On January 18th, our staff at the Kuakini Medical Center hosted more than 60 attendees to celebrate our first year in the Physician’s Tower. The attendees included staff, colleagues in KMC, and friends and family.

The evening began with a welcome from Shaw Okawara, the clinic director, who spoke of the celebration of first year parties and set the tone for the evening with a little laughter when he spoke of the unexpected attention for such occasions.[/one_half][one_half_last]


[/one_half_last]Like many F&L productions, the celebration was filled with music, videos, shared experiences and recognition of contributions and new relationships. I was fortunate to speak on behalf of the company and gave a short historical look at the journey that we had to get to what will be our home for at least the next ten years.

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Art Lum, owner, capped off the night by surprising everyone with his solo performance of playing the ukulele and singing “Ka Makani Ka’ili Aloha”. In expressing his choice of a song about love and home, he said, “The Hawaiian words are magical and loving; going beyond our wisdom and comprehension.”

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Art and Shaw believe that it is in this new place where we can not only treat patients, but to share in spirit of ‘Aloha’, allowing it to flow, reach and touch each and every one of us. It was a great blessing to have all of you share in our celebration. We can’t wait for what’s in store for this wonderful clinic! Happy 2017!

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By Deb Matsuura

To Dream the Impossible Dream: My Journey to Japan

Lifelong Learning Hawaii-Japan Oct 2016

Guest Blogger: Art Lum, P.T., co-owner of Fukuji & Lum




[two_third_last] Lifelong Learning Hawaii-Japan logo: The symbol marking the beginning of this Hawaii-Japan relationship was the Enso – a hand drawn open circle allowing for movement and development. [/two_third_last]

The recent historic visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with President Barack Obama to Pearl Harbor on December 27, 2016 brought back memories of an extraordinary work experience I had in Japan. Following three years of planning, the Fukuji & Lum team and fellow physical therapy colleagues from Japan created a series of courses titled ‘Best Physical Therapy Practice’.

The first of a four part series of courses was conducted, on October 22nd and 23rd, 2016 at Kuwana East Medical Center, Mie prefecture, Japan. The course introduced an integration of the respiratory, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems for lifelong physical therapy care.

On October 22nd, at 9 a.m., my heart beat began to rise as the first slide presented the Hawaiian flag alongside the Japan flag – the Rising Sun. Pictures of my professional membership cards, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Hawaii Physical Therapy Association (HAPTA) were shared along with my Master of Arts degree diploma in Physical Therapy from Stanford University ’84. The journey had begun.

The objectives of the course were:

  1. To introduce the Annual Musculoskeletal Examination
  2. To teach manual assessment and treatment techniques integrating the system approach
  3. To teach postural and neuromuscular rehabilitation techniques
  4. To introduce a unique physical therapy model
  5. To build a relationship between physical therapists from Hawaii and Japan

[one_half] Bringing unity to this special grouping was the donning of the lime-green colored class t-shirt. The made-only-in-Hawaii sky blue colored wording and the white-brushed Enso brought smiles, enthusiasm, and cheer. We were now ready to begin our journey together, open for learning and sharing; as professionals, classmates, and friends. [/one_half]




There were two staff therapists from the Kuwana East Medical Center who played a pivotal role in making the course a tremendous success. Rie Takakura, P.T., who works part time at the medical center and is on-call with us at Fukuji & Lum was instrumental in ‘making it happen’. She designed the manual, translating every page and served as the course assistant. Her dream of advancing physical therapy in her hometown and community in Japan had begun and was now in process.

Takashi Maruyama, P.T., Manager of the Rehabilitation Department at the Kuwana East Medical Center was a gracious host and facilitator. Takashi-san went beyond the call to create an optimal learning environment. Arranging the manpower for setup and take down and taking the leadership in accommodating the group needs and wants. He monitored the pulse of the class and acknowledged we were on the right pace. His hospitality went beyond the call in driving the F&L contingent to a nearby famous Garden saving time and ‘stress’ in confronting bus and train schedules.

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The class was made up of a diverse group of professionals. Recent graduates, a professor of Biomechanics, and veteran PTs. Several had been trained in the U.S.A. and were familiar with the Paris and Sahrmann System. The majority enjoyed the ‘active’ learning atmosphere, hands-on manual therapy skill training, and patient demonstrations.IMG_3589

The introduction of the Annual Musculoskeletal Examination served as the blueprint, outlining strategies for clinical decision making in addressing the six major areas:

  1. Breathing – respiratory system.
  2. Posture – attaining a position that allows optimal performance, both static and dynamic. Adding efficiency, balance, and preparedness in anticipation for integrating a purposeful movement.
  3. Locomotion. From walking to striding.
  4. Reaching. The optimal use of the upper quarter, grounded and energized by the lower quarter and trunk, for daily function.
  5. Spine mobility. Turning on the transverse plane; head, neck, torso, pelvis, and hip for safety and energy transfer.
  6. Fulfillment in life. Doing things that you have always enjoyed doing (traveling, gardening, taking long walks, skiing, yoga etc.).

The unique physical therapy model (UPTM) which was also introduced to the group has evolved over my past 32 years in practice, as a clinician. I am grateful for my colleagues and indebted to my mentors. My deceased father, Chew Mung Lum, embraced his physician career of 50 years.  My elder brothers, Steven Lum, MD and David Lum, Esq., and brother-in-law Robert Wo, Jr, are exemplary role models; as business owners serving their respective communities. The faculty members of the Stanford PT School, Professor David Auxter, and Erl Pettman, PT,MCSP,MCPA,FCAMT, one of four founding members of NAIOMT, most influenced my clinician hat, passion for teaching, and lifelong learning.

Referring to the historic visit; Governor David Ige writes, “Hawaii’s relationship with Japan is more than business, more than friendship. It is about family”. Words cannot describe the emotions exchanged at our first meeting on those two days in October of 2016. Rie, Takashi and I believe that we have planted the seed to growing our Hawaii-Japan relationship, building a connection that will help the world of physical therapy prosper. Together, we are committed to lifelong learning; for the goodness and well being of our patients and the lifelong care of our communities.

In awesome wonder and gratitude, I look forward to what’s ahead in 2017. Part Two: Best Physical Therapy Practice. April 15, 16. Osaka Rehabilitation University, Japan.


By Deb Matsuura


Tami Patrick, a Physical Therapy student from Andrews University spent 8 weeks with our therapists in the Kailua clinic learning and working with patients in an orthopedic outpatient setting. While with us, she gave an inservice to the staff on POSTURE. Her presentation definitely reminded us to sit properly and stand correctly as we go about our daily activities.

What is Posture?

  • Posture: a position of a person’s body when standing or sitting.

Who cares?

  • Good posture contributes to good appearance; the person with good posture projects poise, confidence, and dignity.
  • The discs between the spinal segments become less resilient and give in more readily to external forces, such as gravity and body weight. 45 degrees of cervical flexion doubles the weight your neck has to carry!
  • Muscles become less flexible and weaker.
  • In addition, poor posture can affect the position and function of your vital organs, particularly those in the abdominal region. You can imagine as you compress your organs they lose blood flow slowly but over time will give you some organ dysfunction. Constipation anyone?

Why am I like this??

  • Ligaments: We hang out on our ligaments when our muscles get tired, putting us in a “slouched” position.
  • Lifestyles usually become more sedentary. Sitting at work or school for long periods of time shortens various muscles, which results in the body being pulled into poor postural positions, and stretches and weakens other muscles, which allows the body to slump.

What is ideal posture?

  • Ideal standing plumb line posture: bisects the ear, bisects the shoulder joint, runs down the bodies of the lumbar vertebrae, bisects the greater trochanter of the femur, runs just behind the center of the knee, runs just in front of the center of the ankle.
  • In this alignment the abdominal and hip extensors and the lumbar and hip flexor muscles are in perfect opposition to one another. The former group tilting the pelvis posteriorly (to the back) and the latter tilting it anteriorly (to the the front) resulting in a neutral pelvic position. According to Kendall and Kendall, muscles are most relaxed and less contracted in the ideal posture.


  • Stand with back against a wall, heels about 3” from the wall and feet about 6” apart weight evenly distributed.
  • Place arms at sides, palms forward
  • Keep ankles straight and knees facing forward
  • Keep low back close to the wall
  • Straighten the upper back, lifting the chest and bringing shoulders back against the wall
  • Bring head back to touch the wall while keeping the chin tucked in
  • Pull up and in with the muscles in the lower abdomen, trying to flatten the abdomen
  • Hold for 10 seconds breathing normally
  • Relax and repeat 3 to 4 times
  • Perform 3 times a day for optimum results


  • Sit in a straight back armless chair, with both feet flat on the floor and back resting against the chair
  • Place arms at your sides, palms forward
  • Straighten the upper back, lifting the chest
  • Bring shoulders back against the chair
  • Hold the head erect
  • Pull up and in with the muscles in the lower abdomen, trying to flatten the abdomen
  • Hold position for about 10 seconds, breathing normally and keeping the rest of the body relaxed
  • Relax your abdominal muscles and repeat 3 to 4 times
  • Repeat entire exercise at least 3 times a day



  • Sit with back firmly against chair, with chair low enough so feet are on the floor with knees slightly higher than hips
  • Keep your head up and avoid leaning forward: by keeping your chair close in to the desk you can help maintain this position.
  • Sleep on a firm mattress and use a pillow under your head just big enough to maintain the normal cervical—neck—curve. Avoid use of over- sized or several pillows.
  • Exercise regularly; exercise promotes strong and flexible muscles that keep you upright in a proper postural position.
By Deb Matsuura

Performance Plus Program

At Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy Associates, we challenge ourselves to deliver fun, happiness, and compassion in serving our patients and the community. In doing so, we strive to support those in need of a higher quality of life, as a family. For 20 years, we have served the community in need of physical therapy, but have also branched out to address another need: maintenance after physical therapy. Thus, the Performance Plus Program (PPP) was created to help patients maintain and improve upon their levels of fitness after physical therapy is completed, and no prescription is necessary. The program is also offered to community members that want to improve on their fitness levels and achieve goals they never thought possible. 

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Here is a testimonial from one of our regular PPP clients at our WORC clinic who asked to remain anonymous.

    “I was in a fitness quandary. I quit the fitness club after 5 years. I was tired of fighting for the treadmill and bikes and didn’t want to compete with the jocks for the other machines. Everyone there seemed to have his or her own fitness agenda. My hairdresser spoke of the Fukuji & Lum YWCA location. She raved about the physical therapy she received there, and had continued with an exercise program after being discharged.

    I was not in need of physical therapy, but Fukuji & Lum did offer a Performance Plus Program, primarily for PT clients interested in continuing their therapy with an exercise regimen. So, I signed up for my first 8 sessions. My goals were to improve my strength and improve my conditioning. I was told I was in poor to fair condition; so much for the fitness club routine.

    Today, 2 years later and starting my third year, I have completed 200 visits; my health profile has improved and I am able to do exercises I never thought possible. The staff teaches me the correct way to do the exercises; always offering helpful tips to improve my technique and correcting my mistakes. The staff pushes me to do more so I can continue to improve.

    My overall health has improved; my doctor is happy; I’ve lost weight; gained muscle and toned my body. I’d say that I fixed my fitness quandary.”

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That testimonial is typical of a lot of our PPP clientele. No more fighting over equipment, as everyone is scheduled at flexible times to accommodate for overcrowding. Our land-based Performance Plus Programs are offered at our Honolulu clinic located in the Kuakini Physician’s Tower and WORC location in Kaneohe, and is also open to high school students with parental consent. We have also expanded our program to include an Aquatic Therapy Performance Plus Program, located at the Kokokahi YWCA. For questions or more information about our programs, please call our Honolulu Clinic at (808)521-4922 or our WORC clinic at (808)234-5353.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Justin

Our Northeastern Co-ops have been with our organization since July, working diligently in our clinics while supporting our therapists in treating our patients. Since being exposed to the “island-style” life, they have been going on different adventures every weekend and are really making the most of their stay here. Of the four Co-ops this fall semester, we have one more student to introduce. Let’s meet Justin and find out why he wants to become a physical therapist, because we know he’ll make a great one in the near future!

Meet Justin

justin-s [/one_third]

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to The Morgan School in Clinton, CT. I currently go to Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

What drew you to PT?
I’ve always wanted to have a career that combined my love of sports with helping other people. PT is also a job where there is plenty of room for progression. Treatment techniques are always evolving, which gives us something to look forward to. [/two_third_last]

Why did you want to do your coop in Hawaii?
I want to travel to every part of the world and this is just the first step. I’ve been on one Caribbean cruise but that is the farthest I had been from home. Experiencing different ways of life is a great opportunity and I couldn’t pass it up. The aquatic program also drew my interest to Fukuji & Lum. I have already seen first hand the benefits of being in the pool compared to dry land.

What is the strangest thing you have eaten since arriving?
I wouldn’t call them strange, but I’ve had many poke bowls and musubis already. I’d eat a poke bowl every day if I could.

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What is on your to do list while here?
I want to learn a lot- about both physical therapy and Hawaiian culture. I also would like to spend as much time at the beach as possible and do all the best hikes the island has to offer.


What are your outside interests?
I like to watch and play many different sports. I’m a huge Boston sports fan- Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox all the way! I enjoy playing basketball and ultimate frisbee and recently got into triathlons. [/one_half]




What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a successful and effective therapist. The dream job would be working for a professional sports team. I’m also interested in owning my own place someday. I want to provide all types of alternative treatments that may not be available at other physical therapy places. Incorporating physical therapists, athletic trainers, and nutritionists into one team-oriented area seems like the best environment for maximizing the body’s potential. 

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
Everyone we meet somehow becomes an influence in our lives, so it would be impossible to choose one. My parents have to be at the top of the list for how hard they work and how much they push me to be my best. I’ve had lots of great teachers and friends that keep me on the right track and I’m thankful for all of them.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Leila

From Boston to Hawaii

5,027 miles. That’s how far our Northeastern University students travel from Boston to Hawaii to be a part of our ohana for the next six months. They put a pause on their school life and travel all this way, not knowing what is in store for them here in the islands. Four of them arrived for the fall semester, all with big smiles and feelings of excitement and adventure. We’ve already introduced two of them, Colby and Ashley, who work at our Kokokahi sites in Kaneohe. We have another student, Leila who works there as well and is enjoying working with patients at the pool and W.O.R.C. 

Let’s meet Leila!


What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Middlebury Union High School in Middlebury, VT. I am currently a student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.


What drew you to physical therapy?
Both my parents are doctors, so I have always been drawn to the medical field. I became interested in physical therapy when I started seeing physical therapists in middle school and high school due to sports injuries. The therapists were always able to help me recover so that I could get back to doing what I loved to do. I want to be able to do the same for other people. [/one_half]




Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I chose to come to Hawaii because I love to travel. I have always wanted to come to Hawaii and now seemed like the perfect time to go. I was also really interested in the aquatic physical therapy program at Fukuji and Lum, especially because I heard the pool was outside.

What has been your experience like so far? 

My experience here has been beyond amazing. The people of Hawaii have been so kind, welcoming and helpful. I love the island not only because it is so beautiful, but also because there are so many different things to do. I am never bored here! I love working at Fukuji and Lum because I am learning so much everyday in an extremely positive environment.


What is on your to do list while here?
I have so many things I want to do while I am here. I want to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pillboxes at sunrise, swim with dolphins and eat endless acai and pitaya bowls. It’s so hard to narrow it down because the opportunities here are endless.  I also really want to learn how to hula dance!

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
Spam musubi and spam in general. My favorite foods I have had since coming here are acai and pitaya bowls. I’m obsessed with them![/two_third_last]

What are your outside interests? 

I absolutely love to dance. It is my favorite thing to do. I also like to hike, swim, and do yoga. I love to spend time with my friends and family as well. I am happiest when I am outside.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope to be a caring, supportive therapist that helps patients meets their goals. I am keeping my mind open to what exactly I want to do later on in my physical therapy career, but I am currently leaning towards aquatic therapy for both adults and children.


Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My family has been my greatest influence in my life. They have made me into the person I am today. My family is full of the most loving, supportive and kindest people I know and I aspire to be like them in everything I do.

By Mark Yanai

Introducing Ashley

Embracing Change is one of F&L’s core values that we look for in each of our employees. Every six months we get a new set of students from Northeastern University and our entire organization embraces their presence and the responsibility to care for them. This fall semester we have four new students including Colby, which I wrote about in my last blog.

Since my first Co-op blog, I’ve always used the same format when questioning the students about themselves. In trying to keep things fresh and evolving, I gave each of the Co-ops the freedom to write whatever they wanted in introducing themselves as employees of F&L. Today, we get to meet Ashley. [one_third]


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Deciding to spend my first co-op in Hawaii is probably one of the better decisions I have made. From the first time I spotted the Hawaiian site for my Co-op I knew I wanted to apply to Fukuji & Lum. However, never in a million years did I think I would actually get the honor of working with such intelligent and caring people. Being a physical therapy major, there isn’t much time to travel during the six years that I am I student. I am truly lucky to have been given the chance to be able to move to Hawaii and immerse myself in its culture for six months. [/two_third_last]

Working at Fukuji & Lum has given me opportunities that I never imagined were possible. From getting grastoned to actually taking patients through their exercise programs, I have gained so much experience that will help me become a better therapist in the future. Every day I learn something new. The people I get to work with are the best in their field, always making sure they explain things to me and that I understand, and constantly improving themselves as well.

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Having the opportunity to work not only in a clinic, but a pool and front office, also gives me a chance to learn so many different aspects of therapy. Each job that I have is different and teaches me something new.


Working in the office has taught me a lot about the paperwork aspect of therapy. Before this experience, I never knew how complicated insurance was and I have gained a lot of respect for the people who do those jobs. Being in the pool was something that made me very excited to work here. The pool is a very unique setting for therapy and one I always found fascinating. While in the pool I have learned an alternative to land therapy and it has taught me to think out of the box when it comes to coming up with helpful exercises.

So far two months (one-third) of my Hawaiian adventure has gone by and I couldn’t be more shocked. It’s hard to believe I have already spent so long in this incredible place, at a job that makes me excited to wake up every morning. It also scares me that in a few short months I’ll be heading back to freezing cold Boston in the middle of January! At least I’ll have a nice tan… I am so thankful for this experience and can not wait to use all I learned and all I will learn at Fukuji & Lum as a physical therapist one day! [/two_third]



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