By Deb Matsuura

Kyle’s Co-op Memories

After spending 6 months at Fukuji & Lum, I’ve learned a lot and am thankful for everyone who went out of their way to help and teach me. For example, when I started, I was 2 months out of a shoulder surgery and Shaw, Taryn, Mark, and Art all took time to help me through and make sure I was on track.

Every day after work, Lynn would drive me to the bus stop so I could make the early bus home and not have to wait another hour. If I was a little overwhelmed on a busy shift Mike or Jenny would help me out with a patient or two. Everyone helped each other out, and it made me want to do the same. This is the Fukuji & Lum culture that took me a few months to really get a grasp of, but looking back I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

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[two_third_last]In what other company could you be wrapped up in toilet paper and made to look like a bride for a game at a wedding shower? Where else could a student attend a continuing education course? Or how about play pickup basketball with other employees every Tuesday night?

Is it crazy to go all the way to a clinic on the Windward side, from the Honolulu clinic, just to take part in the katsu curry lunch on Fridays? What about dressing up every single day of October for PT month?

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While there may be a company where you can say yes to a few of these, at F&L I did all of those things and much more. I had the experience of doing much more than going and applying what I’ve learned in class on real patients. I had the experience of being a part of something greater than myself. It wasn’t just about treating patients, it was about loving & growing together as a family, and we sure did.

On top of all the work-related memories, the other Co-ops and I ventured far and wide intra-island and inter-island. We explored mountains, valleys, and beaches. In between we explored sandwich shops, waterfalls, shave-ice stands, and our favorite poke places. The best part of these adventures was never the location or the food, but rather getting to know each other better.

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Words can’t fully express my 6-months in Hawaii, but they don’t need to. The employees of F&L, including the other students, Matt, Stevie, Liz, and Grace, share our memories and I find peace in knowing they will live on for the rest of our lives.

A hui hou Hawaii.

By Deb Matsuura

Special Thanks to Fukuji & Lum

Entering the New Year, I look back at my 2017 accomplishments. As many others strive for when creating their list of resolutions, I had hoped for positive change and personal growth. With the bittersweet end to my time in Hawaii, I reflect on how it has helped me to reach my goals. Surrounded by clear blue waters, soaring mountain ranges, and a unique Ohana; I had the opportunity to take a step away from the hustle of Boston and learn more about myself and the therapist I want to be one day.

After receiving word of my position in Hawaii, I was both excited and nervous for this new adventure. Weeks leading up to my arrival I had many friends and family, some more jealous than others, sending me good wishes on this next chapter in my life.

[two_third] Previous co-ops spoke so highly of their coworkers and experiences, so I knew I would be greeted with open arms. This made leaving home and coming to an unfamiliar place a little less daunting.

Within hours of landing, I was receiving welcome hugs from people I had never met – I already felt a part of the Ohana. With any new job, the first few months are a transition period. Learning to embody the values of a company and collaborate closely with colleagues you know little about, can be difficult. Although it was overwhelming at times and my supervisors received many of my dumbfounded looks, I felt every coworker I encountered was willing and able to help me make this transition seamless.

I am grateful to have worked with so many accomplished and intelligent therapists. I learned that each therapist has something different to bring to the table, whether it be a skill or a thought process. I watched as they worked as a team of many backgrounds to provide the best care possible for our patients. Looking back at my experiences with each therapist, I have confirmed that I want to be a physical therapist. I learned something from each and every one of them that I will someday have the opportunity to apply in my practice.

I also had the chance to work closely with many determined, caring patients, who constantly embodied the aloha spirit. From my patients I learned the power of perseverance. Watching them maintain determination over the course of a few weeks, a few months, or even the entirety of my time at F&L to reach their goals, was an enlightening experience. I truly realized the importance of teamwork in this field, where healthcare providers should work closely with their patients. This unique team is what makes our jobs worth it each and every day.

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Having the opportunity to work in almost all of the clinics, it opened my eyes to how closely the company works in order to carry out F&L’s mission and values in every location. Rather than each being their own separate entity, the clinics worked together to be one, united team. During my 6 months, I also had the unique chance to experience the company go through big changes. One of which, was seeing lots of hard work go into creating a new logo that embodies all that the company is. With such a distinctive model and outlook on physical therapy, F&L stands out and makes me hopeful for further growth in the PT world.

[one_half] Aside from building many close relationships and a strong sense of work identity, I also had the opportunity to explore Oahu, and remind myself to take some time to enjoy the little moments in life. For an island that is only 40 miles long and 30 miles wide, I never thought there would be so much to do. As a co-op group we were able to explore the wonders of Hawaii together, truly making the most of our weekends. From sliding down steep, muddy mountains on my okole (yay Hawaiian words) to maneuvering the paddle out to the mokes, we made endless memories together that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.

A special thank you to Liz, Stevie, Matt and Kyle, my Hawaii family, for making the better half of my 2017, even better. I learned from you guys and our many adventures to take a step back and take in the moment. A little rest and relaxation never hurts.

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From my amazing patients to the special company of Fukuji&Lum, I thank you all for this incredible experience. I will miss each and every one of you very much, and I hope to see you someday soon.

Mahalo Nui Loa,

Grace Taylor

By Deb Matsuura

New Semester, New Co-ops!

Fukuji & Lum’s receives a handful of Northeastern University physical therapy students every semester. For spring semester 2017, we just said mahalo and good-bye to five awesome, enthusiastic and hard-working students who we know will make a great impact in the physical therapy world. We wish them the best!!

This July we welcomed five new students who will be with us till December. We look forward to teaching and nurturing them as well as sharing our island spirit and company culture, which they will be able to take back with them to Boston.

You’ve just met Matt in our previous blog, now here’s Kyle and Grace with a few words about themselves and why chose to study physical therapy.

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 Kyle’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Andover High School in Massachusetts. I now go to Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? 
There have been a few things that have drawn me into the field of physical therapy. In high school I was a rower and our coach focused hundreds of hours on moving correctly and power application. This was the start of my fascination with the body, how it moves, and the quest to perfect movement in sport. From there, I would research different body parts and how to exercise them. Fast forward a few years to 2015 when I injured my shoulder, I researched what I thought was wrong and how to rehab it. The process of troubleshooting the injury and trying to rehab it was really exciting for me. As exciting as it was, it didn’t work so well, so after a few weeks I went to a real PT. When going myself, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the role of a PT in a patient’s recovery. It was a relaxed environment where everyone would chat and joke and I could see myself working in something similar.

Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I used to work with a youth development program called Andover Youth Services and it was a huge influence in my life. One of the most significant values we lived and encouraged in the young people was to get out of your comfort zone. When looking for co-ops I wanted to stay consistent with my values so I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge me and give me a new experience. I’ve found that forcing myself uncomfortable situations is when I learn the most.

What has been your experience like so far?
After 3 weeks on this beautiful island I’m confident coming here was the right decision. Working in Honolulu, I’m exposed to a demographic I wouldn’t otherwise be if I was working in Boston. The clientele is typically on the older side and many are of Asian descent. Occasionally I’m tasked with working with someone who speaks no English. This has been hard for me so far, but it is challenging me to improve my visual cues and other nonverbal communication.

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What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?Being here for about a month I haven’t had a ton of time to really venture into strange cuisine. I’ve tried some local foods like poke and I’m a big fan of the Hawaiian marinade at Fresh Catch. Also our host family makes ahi and ono jerky which is a little unusual. Other than that I think I’ve eaten pretty similarly to back in Boston.

What is on your to do list while here?
I’m a little limited with having shoulder surgery a few months ago but I’d like to hike, surf, explore the islands, jump off some cliffs, and eat some more exotic food.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Of course I want to be the best therapist there can be. I want to be a therapist who deeply understands each treatment and why it works. I want to be up to date with new technologies and methods of treatment to give my patients the most efficacious therapy they can get. I want to learn how to garner my patient’s imagination of who they can become and use it to motivate them to work towards their goals.


Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I’d be lying to say anyone influenced me more than my parents. Simply living with them for the greater part of 20 years I’ve learned an incredible amount. From my dad I’ve learned how to be industrious and how to learn. From my mom I learned how to listen and be empathetic. These traits among others have been super beneficial in my journey through life.

Grace’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Trinity College School in Toronto, Canada. I am now a student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

What drew you to physical therapy? Ever since I was young I knew I was interested in a helping profession. I was interested in a variety of positions such as dentistry, chiropractic care, and Occupational Therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow a few physical therapists and fell in love with the profession. Each and every day I find myself loving it more and more.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
There are many reasons why I was interested in doing my co-op in Hawaii. I have always enjoyed traveling and learning more about the world around me, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. During this last semester, we have also had many discussions on cultural differences and the impacts it can have on physical therapy and other forms of care. This co-op seemed unique in its ability to introduce me to this learning curve. Lastly, Fukuji & Lum has a focus on family culture. I am very close with my family back home, so I was naturally drawn to F&Ls values and overall mission and purpose.

What has been your experience like so far?
Traveling to a new place can sometimes be daunting and with it comes a lot of unknowns. From the get-go I felt nothing but kindness and support through the transition. It’s like a home away from home. I get along so well with the other co-op students and my new coworkers, and I am so excited to see what adventures this journey takes us all on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
We haven’t really explored eating strange things yet. We have tried poke a few times now, and I have yet to be disappointed! Giovanni’s shrimp trunk was also delicious, highly recommend! I’m hoping to try lots of new foods, especially spam musubi, acai bowls, and poi. I’m also looking forward to finding the best shaved ice around!

What is on your to do list while here?
I mainly want to explore the island. I want to go on lots of different hikes and learn about the history of the island and Hawaii as a whole. I am also excited to get to know more about Hawaiian culture by exploring things like a Luau, hula dancing and listening to Hawaiian music. I have been working on Hawaiian Pidgin and I am trying to learn a new word every day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take some of it back and confuse my friends back home!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Physical therapy can be a very rewarding job, because we have the opportunity to help patients reach their personal goals. I think the relationship between therapist and patient is what you choose to make it, and I hope to be a motivational and supporting factor in my patients’ lives. If I am able to positively impact a number of my patients during my time as a therapist I will feel rewarded.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My greatest influence in my life is my older brother Riley. He is my built in best friend and I look up to him in many ways. He pushed me to embrace this opportunity and for that I’m grateful. I can’t wait to continue to grow up and find our way in life together.

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By Deb Matsuura

How was Hawaii?

Guest Blogger Leila K., former NU Co-op PT student writes about her time spent with our Ohana.

People are curious when you have been far away for a long time. “How was Hawaii?” they would ask me over and over again. I had a hard time answering them. How could I describe such an incredible experience without making them listen to me go on for hours? Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. My experience was positive in so many dimensions and I learned so much from it, if I was forced to distill my time in Hawaii at Fukuji and Lum into a considerately short series of phrases, I would say that I found a home there, a place that I hold in my heart, and that I dream of returning.


One thing I tell people when they ask me about my experience is that I never once woke up dreading to go to work. Even though I had to wake up super early every morning (which is not easy for me I am not an early morning person at all), I looked forward to go to work. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum was so positive and fun to work with. There was never a dull moment! I learned something from every person I worked with.

Working at the clinic, pool, and pool front office allowed me to experience so many different aspects of the physical therapy profession. It was amazing to watch people make improvements in the pool and then to watch them continue to improve on land. It was very rewarding. Working at the front desk showed me how complicated patient care can be. I learned a lot about the importance of interdisciplinary communication from working at the front desk. 

When I wrote my first blog post, I wrote down all the things I wanted to do before I left the island. I am glad to say that I did get to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pill Boxes at sunrise and I ate an enormous amount of acai and pitaya bowls that I miss so dearly. I even got to learn how to hula dance! Unfortunately I never got to swim with dolphins but I did get to see both dolphins and whales from shore so I can settle with that!

[one_half] If I hadn’t co-oped in Hawaii, I may not have the three new sibling-friends that I have now. Ashley, Justin and Colby became my family and I don’t know what I would do without each of them in my life. From sliding down muddy mountains in the dark with Ashley, watching Colby almost die in the ocean multiple times, and watching Justin cook 10 pounds of chicken at a time, I have so many special memories with each of them.

When I completed my co-op I knew that I had learned so much from working at Fukuji and Lum. I had no idea how much I had absorbed until I was sitting in my spring and summer lecture halls and actually making connections from what I saw on co-op in my classes. It was really amazing to realize exactly how much I learned. I feel so much more confident in my skills in school because of what I learned at Fukuji and Lum. 

One of the best parts about my co-op experience was the Fukuji and Lum family. You all accepted us right away and I felt so welcome. You all made being so far from home much easier and I cannot thank you all enough for that. I think about Hawaii every day and I can’t wait until I can go back again.

Love and Aloha,

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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.

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.

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

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.



  • 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.


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


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 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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By Mark Yanai

Introducing Colby

Every six months I interview and hire new Co-op students from Northeastern University to work with our organization as physical therapy students. From their first Skype interview to their last day in clinic, I feel the need to take care of these kids, making sure they are learning about the PT profession and experiencing life here in Hawaii. I always feel a sense of closeness to them and often wonder what it is that draws me so much to these students.

Last week I dropped my son off to college at the University of Washington for his freshman year. The feelings I had as a dad seeing my son leave home and off to a new school was of both elation and sadness. I felt so proud of him that he was taking on a new adventure and yet I was sad that from now on, I wouldn’t get to be a part of it, as I have been. I hope that the new people who become a part of this new chapter will take care of him.

And with those thoughts I realized what draws me so deeply to our Co-op students. While they are not my sons or daughters, the F&L family treats them as such. I feel like a parent watching them grow as students and prosper as employees, while guiding them along the way. I am grateful to be a part of their short stay with us and am happy to say that I had a hand in their learning process so they are able to get the most of out of their experience, whether it be in or outside of the clinical setting.

With that, I am happy to introduce our new student Co-ops this fall semester, starting with Colby.
In a haiku, what school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?

First, Lynnfield High School.

Next, I go to Northeastern

Which is in Boston. [/one_half]




What drew you to PT?
I originally was in school for Mechanical Engineering (at Northeastern University); but after shadowing some engineers the summer before my freshman year of college, I realized I didn’t see myself as an engineer in 20 years.  My mom and dad have been in and out of Physical Therapy for as long as I can remember.  Seeing their progress through and through has inspired me to become a part of this field that can positively affect a patient’s life.

Why did you want to do your coop in Hawaii?
I grew up in a small town right outside of Boston.  If I didn’t experience living in another state outside of New England then I would be doomed to live there for the rest of my life.  Hawaii is a great opportunity to see and learn about a whole new culture.  Now that I’m here I can’t wait to move back.

What is the strangest thing you have eaten since arriving?
Lychee Seeds brah, dey broke da mout’!

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What are your outside interests?

I really enjoy hiking, body surfing, being at the beach, photography, pick-up games of basketball, football and soccer, and playing music.  I’m also involved with the musical theatre company back at school.

What is on your to do list while here?
See the other islands.  Try as many foods as I can.  Take lots of pictures.  Get better at surfing.  Take a Hula Class.  Honestly, the list keeps getting longer every week just by talking to the patients and coworkers.


What is your spirit animal?
The majestic sea cucumber.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I hope that I can be a therapist that not only provides care and therapy to the patient.   But can be a friend if they need it.  I want to foster a relationship with my patients and coworkers that makes choosing to go to work in the morning a very easy decision.  As far as what setting I’d like to work in… honestly I have no idea yet; I would love to have a chance to work at as many different settings as I can.





Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I have many influences in my life, all equally important to me.  I can’t say one is greater than the rest because I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them.  An important influence has been my parents though.  Being able to go home one day and fix them would be one of the most rewarding experiences.  Another influence is seeing a patient’s path to recovery from start to finish.  I’m glad and hope that I will always be able to relish and share the joy of getting a patient back to their “old selves”.