By Deb Matsuura

My Co-op Experience in Hawaii – by Sarah B.

Sarah learns how PT is about trust and the willingness to take a chance.

Describe a favorite highlight or memory of your experiences in the clinic and outside of work? 

There were so many big and small moments during my six months in Hawaii with Fukuji and Lum that make picking just one favorite moment challenging in the best way. In the clinic, I would say my favorite memory in the clinic was when I was working at the pool. One of the patients was working with a PT in the water and the patient was working on gait training and walking. I am not exactly sure how it started but the forward, backward, and sideways walking transitioned into the patient and the PT doing the cha-cha slide in the water. The patient was still targeting the same muscles and completing the same exercises just in a way to keep the patient engaged and involved in the session. This was one of my favorite memories because whenever I think about it I can’t help but smile and it serves as a good reminder to not take everything so seriously and that gait training/PT can be made fun.

My favorite memory outside of work would be skydiving on Christmas eve (in our matching pajamas). From coming to Hawaii not really knowing the classmates I was with that well, to jumping out of a plane with them wearing the same outfits, I cannot think of a better way to wrap up the end of our crazy adventures together.


From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?

Everyone at Fukuji and Lum cares and strives to know their patients and it is evident the patients feel heard and cared for. Going forward I want to be able to take what I have seen here and get to know my patients to help build trust.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?

I believe everyone you cross paths and interact with has an impact on you and your journey in some way, shape, or form, and I am very thankful for everyone I was able to meet during my time here! I have been able to meet such good people who are great PTs and PTAs who have all taught me so much in terms of patient interaction and the field as a whole.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?

Willingness. My biggest take away from my time at Fukuji and Lum and Hawaii would be willingness to take a chance. Whether that was in a clinic where I was asked to take ROM measurements, or to describe gait deviations I was seeing, or help with an intervention I’ve only practiced in the lab, I learned throughout my time to trust in my skills and become more comfortable and confident in my abilities. Outside of the clinic, being willing to take a chance looked like adventures such as hiking trails, swimming with sharks, and jumping out of a plane. I have learned and grown so much throughout these past six months and am forever thankful for this experience!

By Deb Matsuura

Reflecting on the Co-Op Experience

Megumi describes her Co-op experience as GRATEFUL

What was the one experience that you think was the highlight of the experience? One in the clinic and one outside the clinic. 
Completing my second coop at Fukuji and Lum in Hawaii was an experience that I will be forever grateful for. I would also say it has been the best experience during my time at Northeastern. Taking time away from Boston and having a completely different environment for 6 months allowed me to grow and make great memories. In the clinic, I enjoyed working on my communication skills when getting to know the patients and teaching them exercises. The patients were very welcoming and it was fun to chat with them about their local recommendations of favorite food places and hikes. Getting to talk about Japan with them and talking to some in Japanese was also memorable and fulfilling. 

Outside of the clinic, I remember some crazy adventures like climbing Koko Head before work, skydiving and shark diving on the same day, getting lost on hikes, swimming to the middle of the ocean to see dolphins, and when would underestimate the difficulty of the trails which put me in some rather dangerous situations than I would have preferred. Crossing off my Hawaii bucket list activities regularly was very exciting and made me appreciate each day of my long but short visit. 

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
One word I would use to describe my experience would be grateful. As much as I was excited to have the opportunity to live in Hawaii, moving to Hawaii for 6 months sounded risky. However, getting out of my comfort zone with new adventures outside of the clinic and in the clinic, I feel grateful for the people that made this the amazing opportunity that it was. There were many moving parts to make this experience possible starting with my family and the welcoming people that I met and got close to, so I will remember to appreciate how this was possible. The result of taking these risks and trying new things brought me to Hawaii and Fukuji and Lum which will boost my confidence to challenge myself in the future as well.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
Everyone I got to work with impacted me in many ways, especially those at the Honolulu clinic. I got to learn from a diverse range of treatment styles and personalities through each PT and PTA. This helped me begin navigating my interests and style on how to treat and interact with patients. I appreciated the time devoted by the therapists to teach and explain their logic and tips for their treatments which I hope to be able to do for other students in the future as well. They encouraged me to ask more questions, provided opportunities to learn, and let me practice hands-on techniques. Being a clinical student next year, the open environment here has prepared me to be more involved and proactive with my learning. In addition, being back in classes now, I have especially been grateful for the learning experience in the clinic because I now have some familiarity with concepts and techniques has been very helpful.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
With my career, I hope to integrate the welcoming and family culture from Fukuji and Lum and Hawaii in my practice. Going forward, I know I have made many life-long relationships that I can reach out to for anything which I am very thankful for. Although I miss everyone and life in Hawaii, I am motivated to get back in the classroom to learn more and become a PT myself. 

By Hillary Lau

Welcoming our Fall NEU PT Students!

Hello, Becky!

Becky tells us about how she became interested in physical therapy, what she's most excited for with the co-op experience, and who inspires her the most.

What school did you attend in high school and what's your current college?

I’m originally from New Jersey and I attended Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan. I continued my education and earned my undergraduate degree at Trinity College in Hartford, CT where I majored in Biology and minored in Religious studies. I also played DIII collegiate volleyball. Now I’m currently a post-baccalaureate student in the DPT program at Northeastern University.

What drew you to physical therapy?

My first exposure to physical therapy was when I was 16 years old and had a high ankle sprain injury. I was trying to return to sport in the best possible shape to prevent re-injury. I had a first-hand experience with the healing and strengthening process where I really felt the benefits of PT. I then wanted to gain more experience in the field, so I started to shadow multiple outpatient PTs where I saw other patients experience improvements in quality of life. From experiencing PT as a patient and working as an aide, I liked how the profession could help people feel better. I was also able to make personal connections with patients and I enjoyed hearing individual stories.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?

I wanted to do my co-op in Hawaii because I wanted to experience learning is a different environment. I have lived and completed my education on the East coast all my life, so given this chance I wanted to travel away from home. I also heard many great things from past co-ops about having personal growth and thought a change of scenery and new exposures would be an amazing way to do the same. 

What has been your experience like so far?

My experience in Hawaii so far has been exciting and adventurous! We have done many hikes which include Manoa falls, Lulumahu falls, Maunawili falls, Kuliouou ridge, and Olomana first peak! I have seen some spectacular views of the island! We have also done some kayaking and relaxing at the beach to get as much sun as possible! I would say so far, the North Shore is my favorite part of the island with the beautiful beaches, food trucks, and the drive along the water!

What's the strangest thing that you've eaten since arriving?

The new food I’ve had since arriving is poi which is grounded taro root. I tried it from the Waiahole Poi Factory and the consistency was interesting, but the taste was not bad. It was not my favorite thing I’ve ever eaten, but I will try anything twice. 

What is on your to-do list while here?

There are many other hikes and adventures on my to-do list while in Hawaii. The activity I’m most looking forward to is checking out the food scene in Oahu! I have not been able to do much of that, but I want to try all the local foods and some good restaurants! I am also looking forward to exploring Kualoa Ranch because I love the Jurassic Park movies and want to see where they filmed. I also plan on skydiving, swimming with sharks/turtles, and maybe take a surf lesson!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?

I hope to be a therapist who is empathetic, dedicated, and creative! With patient care, I think it’s important to show the patient you are listening and that you care. Going the extra mile for a patient and/or even coworker can go a long way. Also making exercises meaningful and relatable are key for successful outcomes. I have been enjoying the holistic approach that Fukuji & Lum follows and hope to carry that into my own future practice as well.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

The greatest influences in my life are my parents. My mom has the biggest heart and will go the extra mile for people. She has shown me that being kind to others makes a difference. My dad is hard working and intelligent, but also very funny. He has taught me working smart, showing humility, and not taking life to seriously are ways to be successful in the future. My parents have so many great qualities and have raised me to strive to be the best I can be while also being responsible, empathetic, and able to persevere. I’m grateful to have them in my life as such amazing role models. 

By Hillary Lau

A Reflection on the Co-Op Experience


Six months flew by and Olivia tells us how her experience in Hawaii will impact her long-term career in physical therapy. 

Aloha 🙂 I’m back on the blog, but from halfway across the globe. It has been a month and a few days since I left the best place on earth... and I miss it so, so much. Six months flew by incredibly fast, but I will remember my time with so much love and gratitude.

Who had the most impact on you during your time here?
I can’t pick one person. To say that I was impacted by every single person I met here, would be an understatement. First, I’ll start with my Kailua and Aqua crew. The clinicians and staff I worked with had an amazing depth of knowledge they shared with me, and I learned so much not only about physical therapy, but about life, relationships, confidence, spirituality, and connection.

I am so thankful to have learned from people I look up to, and now call them 'ohana. I learned a lot from the patients I worked with here too. They gave me great recommendations on how to have fun in Hawaii and what foods to try (shoutout Redfish poke bar). More importantly, they showed me that however big or small you help someone doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are trying to give to something bigger than you. So, I can make a mosaic from what I’ve learned from everyone that I met here and make a beautiful piece of art with it.

If you had to choose one word about your experience, what word would you choose?
Presence. There’s so much depth in this word for me. First, living on aloha time speaks for itself. Not that life is slower in Hawaii, but everyone is more ~present~, and they are deliberate with how they spend their time. One of my favorite things about Hawaii was that the people won’t avoid eye contact with you when you pass them on the street, they will smile and wave. Just a mere five seconds of human connection made such a difference in my day. Second, the environment brings you down to earth and makes you see life in abundance. From sunrise to sunset and everything in between, there were so
many creations to be grateful to witness. My favorite memories were made with my friends as we chased the sun and made it out to China Walls to spend the last few minutes with the sun that day, and so many people had the same idea. It was like we were in an outdoor movie theatre that played a golden sun set, and everyone felt present in it. So, not only does your presence matter to those around you, but you feel present in what’s happening around you.

From this experience, what intentions will you have going forward with your career?
I intend to take a whole body, and whole person approach going forward with my physical therapy career. I think this makes a huge difference in practice, as it allows you to evaluate a bigger picture and give rise to all the parts of someone that make them, them. This was my favorite foundational belief of F&L, and I will take it with me in my soon to be physical therapy career.

Best six months ever!!

Mahalo nui loa,

By Hillary Lau

Aloha to Our Spring NEU Co-Op Students!

Hi to Julia!

Julia shares her experience in Hawaii thus far and how excited she is for this opportunity. 

Hi everyone!! I’m Julia, I’m from Andover, MA and I’m currently in my fourth year in Northeastern's six-year DPT program. I am beyond excited to be completing my second co-op here at Fukuji and Lum and cannot wait to see what the next six months will have in store!

After doing my first co-op in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, I was eager to experience the outpatient side of physical therapy. I couldn't think of a better place to grow both professionally and personally than here in Hawaii! Not only was I drawn to Fukuji & Lum by the thought of escaping Boston winters, but also because I knew F&L would challenge me to apply what I've been learning in classes and advance my knowledge further. From moving 5,000 miles away, to living with new roommates and starting a new job, I know this opportunity will challenge me in a lot of new ways. However, everyone here has been so welcoming that I already feel like I have a home away from home. I look forward to being able to look back on this experience six months from now and see how much I've grown and all the new relationships I’ve formed.

I am grateful to be receiving my DPT education from Northeastern, where I know experiences such as this one will help to shape me into the type of therapist I hope to be. Having grown up with both myself and family members receiving PT, I got to see how much of a positive impact physical therapy can have on people's lives. I love how personal physical therapy is, and the connections you get to make with patients as you watch them grow, strengthen and get back to doing what they love. I look forward to being a well educated, compassionate,and personable physical therapist that can provide patients with the highest quality of care.

So far, Hawaii has been nothing short of amazing. Every day I'm still in awe of all the beauty this island has to offer, and I look forward to getting to see and do as much as possible in my time here. I hope to get out of my comfort zone and try things that may scare me, like skydiving, ridge hikes, and swimming with sharks. Other than that, I can't wait to soak up the sun, snorkel, relax, make new friends, meet new people and try new foods. So far, I have enjoyed trying musubi, poi donuts and ube hot bread. In just the short time I’ve been here, I've already compiled a long list of food recs from both patients and coworkers, and I can't wait to make my way through them and experience some of the unique foods Hawaii has to offer.

There are many people who have influenced and shaped me to be who I am today, but I am especially grateful to have such amazing parents to look up to. My mom is strong, selfless and caring. My dad is unbelievably hard working, wise and generous beyond belief. They are both incredibly supportive and the two of them have taught me the importance of working for what I want, never quitting and looking out for others. I hope to one day embody all of these traits, both as a person and as a therapist. I can't wait for them and my three sisters to come and visit me in March!!

Here's to learning, growing and living life to the fullest over the next six months!

By Hillary Lau

Meet Myra, one of our physical therapists!

Meet Myra, one of our new Physical Therapists. We are so happy that she decided to join our family in December. Myra was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and has since made Hawaii her home.

Myra graduated with a Bachelors in Public Health from UC Irvine in 2010 and earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of St. Augustine in Northern San Diego in 2016. She works out of the Kaneohe clinic at the Kokokahi YWCA, doing both physical therapy in the clinic and aquatic physical therapy in the pool.

What is your specialty?
I enjoy working with all types of orthopedic conditions, especially those originating from the spine. I also have a background in treating patients with neurological conditions including post-stroke and spinal cord injuries. More recently, I’ve taken an interest in women’s health.

What made you decide to become a physical therapist?
Being physically active was always a big part of my lifestyle. I grew up bike riding and rollerblading around my neighborhood, ran cross country and played tennis in high school, and found a love for hiking and stand up paddling as I got older. These were the things in life that kept me healthy and happy. In college, I wanted to choose a career path that involved helping others. Physical Therapy sparked my interest after I began volunteering at a local PT clinic during my junior year. I loved how involved PT’s were with their patient’s care, their role as a coach/teacher during the road to recovery, and their advocacy for health and wellness. Most importantly, PT’s cared about their patients' goals, whether it be returning to gardening or running a marathon. I wanted to become a PT to help people get back to the things they love doing; the things that kept them happy and healthy.

Who was your biggest influence?
My parents and husband are my biggest influence. My parents have always been supportive of my choices in life and have never doubted me. My husband motivates me to strive for my goals and always makes me feel like anything is possible.

What is your first memory of Fukuji & Lum?
I remember thinking how friendly everyone was when I first met the staff, and how easy it felt to fit in with the F&L ohana. I also remember saying “wow, I get to work here every day” when I saw the bay view from the Kaneohe clinic!

Not only does F&L care about helping others, but this organization also values its employees’ happiness, health, and wellbeing.

What's your "Why"?
I love helping others help themselves. Getting patients to understand their pain and giving them the tools they need to alleviate their symptoms is my goal as a PT. If I can make a small difference in someone's life, then I know I’ve accomplished some good on this earth!

By Deb Matsuura

We Welcome Liz to the Fukuji and Lum Ohana!

Fukuji & Lum welcomes our fourth Co-op this semester, Liz, to our Ohana. She will be working with our aquatic therapists in the pool and at our outpatient physical therapy clinic in Kaneohe.

Liz is our guest blogger this week and shares a little introduction about why she got into physical therapy and her experience so far in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college? I went to Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Maine and I am now in the DPT program at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? I grew up playing sports year-round so I was constantly focused on the way my body moved. I went to physical therapy for my own sports-related injuries in early high school and it opened my eyes to how amazing the human body is. I decided to do a job shadow with a couple of physical therapists in my area and that’s when I knew I wanted to be an expert on the way the body moved and pursue a career in physical therapy.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? The ocean and mountains of Hawaii are what initially grabbed my attention when I began my coop search. After I heard previous coop’s descriptions of the Fukuji and Lum culture, and saw the mission and values highlighted on the F&L website I knew I wanted to be a part of the fun, happy, and compassionate family I had heard about.

What has your experience been like so far? I’ve had an amazing experience so far. Rather than dreading going to work in the morning and counting the hours until the end of each work day, as I have found myself doing with previous jobs that I’ve had, I look forward to going to work and I find that the days fly by. I have learned a lot from my co-workers and patients, and I have become more excited for my future as a physical therapist.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Spam.

What is on your to-do list while here? I want to take advantage of the mountains and the ocean by hiking and swimming regularly and hopefully learning how to surf. I also hope to create lasting relationships with people that I meet, and learn as much as I can about PT from my co-workers and my experience.

Redsox Katherine&I

What kind of therapist do you hope to be? I hope to be a therapist who can help my patients understand how amazing their bodies are and show them how to manipulate the way they move so that they are confident in taking control of their own recoveries.

Who is your greatest influence in your life? As the youngest of five kids in my family, I have always had a lot of people to look up to. My parents, sisters, and brothers have showed me how to think critically, how to study, how to be considerate of others, how to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and much much more. I continue to learn from each of them every day.

I have also met some pretty great people in my past two years at Northeastern. I constantly find myself describing my classmates and friends as some of the smartest, kindest and most hardworking people I know. I have met so many people worthy of raving about, and being around them has made me want to push myself harder in all aspects of my life.

NUGreecePT  Family

By Mark Yanai

The Hi Life of the Supposed



This past semester, Natalia, one of the five Northeastern University Co-ops worked with me at our W.O.R.C. site and with Randy at our Kailua clinic. She was one of the PT students that was exposed to and later immersed in Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) techniques, something exciting and new to F&L. Natalia has since returned to Boston to resume classes and continue her pursuit of her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

She spent her last weekend in Hawaii attending F&L’s closed course on PRI, which I wrote about in my last blog. I had just returned from my trip to Boston where I commented to everyone that “no one has heard of any student named Natalia”.  She was then given the name “Supposed” by James Anderson, our course instructor.

I don’t always get to work closely with the Co-Ops as they are assigned to our various clinics, but when I do, I get very attached to them. Natalia was no different and we got to know each other well. She was a terrific student of the craft and I know she’ll become an excellent clinician. We will definitely miss her presence at the clinics and wish her the best in her future endeavors. We are so grateful to Natalia for writing about her experience working with F&L and the fun she had living on the island for six months.


My Co-Op Experience: Natalia

Upon my return to Boston, I’ve heard the same question over and over from my classmates and friends: “How was Hawaii?” This is a surprisingly difficult question for me. I usually answer with some variation on the words “spectacular”, “completely amazing”, or perhaps a succinct “epic”, but no matter what I say, the words seem lacking to describe how much the experience truly meant to me.

Living in Kailua and working at Fukuji & Lum has without a doubt been the best six months of my life to date. I got to work with such amazing, compassionate, intelligent people who provided me a real life example of what culture- and value-oriented health care is all about. I got to learn from uniquely skilled, experienced, and dedicated physical therapists who were incredibly generous in sharing their knowledge and went out of their way to give me an educational experience I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else. I got to become familiar with types of treatments not all practitioners learn even after graduation, such as PRI, Strain-Counterstrain, and NAIOMT.


Over the past six months, I have grown so much and become more confident in myself as an individual, a healthcare professional, and a future physical therapist. And of course, I got to do all this in between weekends spent exploring sheer clifftops, cascading waterfalls, colorful pillboxes, jungle forests, ancient ruins, hidden treehouses, vibrant reefs, and white-sand beaches; eating amazingly ono grinds from all around the island, from the food trucks in Haleiwa to ramen in Honolulu; and visiting unique cultural places like the city graffiti of Kaka’ako or the tranquil beauty of the Byodo-in Temple, among so many others.

Along the way, I got to forge incredible friendships with my coworkers, roommates, patients and more. Living in Hawaii taught me to open up so much more than I ever used to and showed me just how easy it is to make friends, be it with someone I met on the top of the Makapu’u lighthouse hike, in downtown Honolulu, at the beach playing volleyball, or even in the clinic. I’m so grateful that I got to share some pretty awesome island experiences with such a large variety of people. No matter where I was or how much of a stranger I felt at first, I was always welcomed and treated like ohana. From my experience, the “aloha spirit” is very much a real and tangible thing; the islands really bring people together.

One of the things I’m really glad I did was visiting Kauai to take in the views along the steep Na Pali Coast hike and from the top of Waimea Canyon. Each island is so different and offers so many unique experiences, which I didn’t realize until after I had gone to Kauai. I hope to come back to Hawaii and experience more of the adventures each island has to offer. And despite all the hikes and adventures I managed to fit in, there are still things on my Oahu bucket list I have yet to do!


As I return to classes and adjust back to life in Boston (which, right now, is far hotter and stickier than Hawaii was, unfortunately), I am constantly reminded about how lucky and blessed I was to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches, mountains, bays and waterfalls in the world, all within such close reach. I deeply treasure all of the connections and ongoing relationships I made there, and it’s hard to be so far away; the island life already seems so distant. I think warmly of the patients I helped to treat and the amazing people I worked with, and I’m trying to bring some of that aloha spirit they showed me along with me back to Boston. If I’m being honest, I wish I could still be working at Fukuji & Lum – six months seemed too short! But I know that the rest of my education lies in front of me, and the island will always be there to welcome me back. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle to listening to Kolohe Kai and Jack Johnson while studying for midterms in the library, dreaming of Lanikai beaches.

Mahalo and aloha oe to everyone in Fukuji & Lum and anyone who’s touched my life in Hawaii in someway. I hope to be back to say aloha again some day.




By Mark Yanai

Family Fun Day at the Beach

Honeymoon Beach Wide

F&L Summer Fun

F&L celebrated the end of summer with a “Family Fun Day” at Honeymoon Beach located on Hickam Air Force Base. The company shut down production for an entire day so that staff members and their families could gather together on a private beach for some summer fun. We pride ourselves on putting family values at the top of our list of priorities and this was a great example of our company commitment to the staff.

Very few locals know of Honeymoon Beach. It was created in the 1960s when the U.S. Air Force created an ocean recreational complex on the shore of Hickam A.F.B. Completed in 1965, it included a small beach harbor and two beaches which were excavated out of surrounding coral flats. Sand was brought in from other military installations on Oahu and constructed through a self-help program with the assistance of Hickam’s civil engineers and Kaneohe marines.

Use of the beach is restricted to active and retired military personnel, their dependents and guests. It was given it’s name because it is separate from Hickam Beach Park and isolated in a cove. It’s unique in that it is adjacent to the airport runway and commercial planes pass by frequently on their way to the takeoff runway.


Our Culture Club, volunteer staff members from each of our clinics who take on the role of nurturing our company values, organized this year’s first annual Family Fun Day. The club wanted to create an annual event that would give staff members and their families the opportunity to come together as one big ohana.

Honeymoon beach made for a perfect venue as the F&L ohana was able to enjoy, relax and fellowship with one another. It was a beautiful day, filled with good food, lots of sun and fun beach games. Hopefully, Family Fun Day will be an event that we can all look forward to attending each year.

Here are some of the special moments captured at the beach.









By Mark Yanai

F&L’s 4th Annual Free Car Wash

This past Saturday, F&L held it’s 4th Annual Free Car Wash at the Kokokahi YWCA. Each year, F&L offers a FREE car wash as a service to our Windward community. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for supporting our organization. This year is extra special, as we celebrate twenty years of providing physical therapy to our community.

IMG_2016   IMG_2033

The car wash was the perfect event for our patients to watch us sweat as we washed their dirty cars. My favorite moment happened when one of my current patients enjoyed bossing me around by pointing out spots that I missed on her car so she could return the “favor” of working hard in therapy. She was determined to make us feel the wrath of her commands even though her truck was already spotless! We all had a great laugh!

Community events like the car wash are great ways for F&L to express our company values. F&L has always placed our values at the forefront of our commitments. Nurturing relationships is perhaps our greatest value and expressing gratitude toward those that we serve can be a powerful reminder of that value. Seeing our patients arrive at the car wash allowed us to interact with them in a different setting, which often brought on smiles and laughter.


We look forward to continuing our tradition of free car washes for many years to come. The feeling of declining to accept donations was fulfilling and continued to bring disbelief among patrons.  See you all next year with your dirty cars!

Please look for information for next year’s car wash on our website and Facebook page.