Even though I have been performing vestibular rehabilitation therapy for over 20 years, I am always on a quest to learn more about vestibular disorders and stay on top of advancements in this field. Earlier this year, I decided to attend a certification course in Atlanta, taught by renowned leaders who are instrumental in developing therapies to treat symptoms caused by vestibular disorders.

Never heard of vestibular disorders? Concussions, inner ear disorders, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, or other movement-related diseases are considered vestibular disorders. These disorders, affecting approximately 69 million Americans, can cause symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance.

The course not only taught me new skills and techniques, it allowed me to join a small group of professionals here on the New Hampshire seacoast who are also certified in vestibular rehabilitation.

The following is the press release announcing my certification. If you know someone who suffers from a vestibular disorder, please share this with them. We are ready to help!

Greenland, NH, June 14, 2016— Melissa Hanson Gahr, MSPT, owner and founder of Seacoast Body Balance in Greenland, NH, recently earned a Certificate in Vestibular Rehabilitation after attending an intensive course sponsored by Emory University and the American Physical Therapy Association in Atlanta, GA.

Taught by highly-acclaimed researchers and pioneers in vestibular physical therapy techniques, the six-day evidence-based course uses lecture and laboratory sessions to teach assessment skills and appropriate treatment procedures for those affected. At the end of the course, students must successfully pass written, video, and practical examinations in order to obtain certification.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based program designed to target the central nervous system to treat symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance caused by inner ear disorders, concussion, traumatic brain injury, stroke or other movement disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis. It can also be helpful in both long-term, unresolved inner ear disorders, as well as acute or abrupt loss of function. Vestibular disorders affect over 35% of US adults aged 40 years and older (69 million Americans), according to medical experts. Left untreated, symptoms can cause depression, anxiety, isolation, and financial difficulties.

After graduating from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, Gahr obtained an advanced master’s degree in adult neurological rehabilitation from Long Island University. She started her clinical training in vestibular rehabilitation at the New York University Medical Center’s vestibular department working under some of the acclaimed practitioners who taught the Emory course. She has treated patients with vestibular and musculoskeletal (orthopedic) disorders for over 20 years, and joins a small niche of professionals in the area who are certified in vestibular rehabilitation.
“Many people who suffer from vestibular disorders believe they just have to live with their symptoms, when, in fact, an effective treatment exists,” says Gahr. “I find VRT very rewarding and desperately needed in the Seacoast area. Even though I have been treating vestibular disorders for many years, I gained valuable knowledge during the certification course, and am anxious to increase awareness of this therapy and broaden my reach to help more people in the area.”