About Dr. Rivi

Dr. Rivi Belach Har-El has over 32 years of experience treating people with chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders. She graduated as a registered physical therapist from the internationally renowned Wingate Institute in 1983. In 1991, she received her Master’s Degree in Dance/Movement Therapy from Hunter College. In 2000, Dr. Rivi received her PhD in Physical Therapy from New York University.

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Dr. Rivi Belach Har-El, PT, PhD

While pursuing her academic education she worked in both Israel and the US. Her extensive work background included acute care, rehabilitation and outpatient department in hospital settings. She treated people who suffered from various orthopedic and neurological conditions (e.g., low back pain, neck pain, scoliosis, and frozen shoulder), repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, poor posture) and various chronic orthopedic conditions.

Throughout her career she enhanced her knowledge of pain in all its manifestations by studying psychology and dance/movement therapy, and by exposing herself to various integrated forms of chronic pain treatment. She then came to understand that health caregivers need to be able to relate a patient’s symptoms to what is happening simultaneously in their body and mind. This realisation led her to develop the RiVision® method.

Dr. Rivi is a Clinical Assistant Professor at State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center, where she teaches future therapists how to utilize body-mind awareness and the RiVision method.

Dr. Rivi has authored a book entitled Moving Pain Away - RiVision: An Innovative Physical Therapy Method. She is the founder of RiVision Healing Center in New York.

Philosophy

Patients may develop body misalignment, pain and discomfort for various reasons. When they seek help from a physical therapist they expect to receive traditional therapy involving physical modalities such as massage and therapeutic exercises to treat the injured area. However, when Dr. Rivi observed her patients’ movement patterns and postures it became obvious to her that she should consider their movement behavior and general well-being as part of their treatment as well as their physical complain. She realized, based on her patients’ personal verbal and nonverbal communication with her, that the patients’ movement patterns/movement characteristics may reveal further information leading to the source of the pain. Therefore, she developed an innovative physical therapy method that integrates physical therapy, dance/movement therapy and guided imagery tailored to a patient’s specific complaints.

The ability to change a pattern and find a new form of moving and feeling comes once you have developed enough awareness of where you are “stuck,” or what your particular patterns are. The attachments you develop toward your movement patterns have a significant meaning: they serve to protect you. Your movement patterns can be present for many years without being changed. Many people may live well using the same, idiosyncratic patterns without being motivated to change it. Several reasons can explain why we do not have the motivation to change. People may have lived in peace with their movement patterns and themselves or may not have been aware of their specific movement style. Others may not be conscious of the fact that the body and mind can strongly impact each other and that change in one aspect can affect the other in a positive manner.

Our style of movement can serve us well, as long as we do not suffer physically and/or emotionally from our body. However, once our body is compromised we start considering treatment and modifications of our old negative habits.

The process of going through these renovations requires a state of readiness and openness. It requires a clear intention regarding what needs to be altered in order to function better in everyday life. It goes hand-in-hand with feeling and negotiating life better.

Workshops

RiVision Workshops for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Enjoy moving to the sound of music, in a small group setting, and experiencing changes in the way you feel and move. Relaxation exercises and guided imagery will enhance the experience.

Therapeutic Exercises for Musculoskeletal Disorders

We practice gentle therapeutic exercises done to music in a small group setting. In this workshop we educate and train participants in gentle and safe exercises done in prone, supine, sitting and standing positions.

The positive effects of therapeutic exercises include developing, improving and maintaining flexibility, strength, coordination and endurance. This workshop is geared toward people who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders such as neck and back pain as well as shoulder, hands, knees and ankle strains.

Body Awareness, Self-Image and Self-Perception Workshop

In the RiVision method, we address stress conditions such as Repetitive Stress Injury (cumulative trauma syndrome that can affect tendons, nerves and soft tissues), and Repetitive Stress Pattern (prolonged, repetitive and negative event/interaction that affects you emotionally and physically).

In this workshop, we help participants explore their pattern of movement and how it affects their every day function, and their feeling about themselves.

For example, one patient recognized the cause-effect relation between the way she felt around her demanding mother and her tense/painful back. Being aware of this relation and addressing it resulted in her back pain subsiding.

This workshop is done in a small group setting which provides a protective environment for people who are under stress and tension.

Posture and Body Alignment Workshop

Posture plays a significant role in the way we feel and move our body. Posture imbalance can cause improper joint alignment, soft tissue imbalance or even noticeable deformity.

In this workshop, we will practice posture awareness as well as stretching and strengthening exercises that are designed to improve posture. You will learn and practice appropriate body alignment during sitting, walking and transferring between positions. This workshop helps us with educating and training in techniques that enhance body mechanics, thus achieving smooth and efficient movement patterns.

Using Movement Therapy Techniques to Treat Pain in Fibromyalgia and Musculoskeletal Disorders - A Workshop

October 29, 2004 – Baltimore, MD

Using Movement Therapy Techniques to Treat Chronic Pain - A Workshop

June 3, 2005 – Baltimore, MD

Movement Therapy Workshop for Pain and Body Image Issues

Yeshiva University, 2008 and OIOC Hospital for Joint Diseases, 2015

Dance/Movement Therapy Sessions in Body Tuning Physical Therapy Clinic

Carnegie Hall, NYC. 1992-2000

Regular courses taught at State University of New York - Downstate Medical Center, 2008 to present:

The use of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Physical Therapy

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