Three Decisions that Changed My Life as a Therapist

By Dan Hellman

I made three decisions in my life that profoundly affected me personally and professionally. In fact, they are the guideposts of my professional journey as a physical therapist. The first was deciding to pursue a master’s degree in physical therapy at Des Moines University, an institution with an osteopathic-based philosophy and curriculum.

This opened my eyes to the profound interrelationship among the systems of the body, and even in the first years of my career as a physical therapist, I was never satisfied with the idea of treating parts of the body in isolation. It also planted in me a seed of doubt about how we traditionally approach health and healing. I’ve always had a natural curiosity and desire to learn, and so that seed of doubt found fertile ground in which to grow.

My First Great Mentor: Paul Chek

As I struggled through my early days as a therapist—commuting between two cities in the Deep South and trying not to be perpetually broke—I looked for more. I eventually found it later in my career, after I had established a physical therapy and fitness practice in Fort Lauderdale—with Paul Chek, the famous teacher and practitioner of holistic health and healing.

I witnessed Paul’s integrated approach to treatment and education changed the lives of his clients and his students. So I made my second big decision. I studied with him, learned a great deal from him, and became one of his top instructors. His philosophy of treating the body as a whole system and finding the root cause of a problem meshed with the osteopathic approach I had learned in grad school, and his teachings guide me still in helping my clients achieve a healthy balance in their lives.

“My God, I am so stupid.”

The third life-changing decision I made was to study under Guy VOYER, the groundbreaking French osteopath. A friend had recommended him to me, but I never thought I had the time. Then I attended one of his classes, and I thought, “My God, I am so stupid. There is so much I don’t know.” I have done three cadaver dissections, and when I first met VOYER, I suddenly was disappointed with my education. 

VOYER doesn’t care if you have memorized a muscle, ligament, vessel, or nerve.  What he cares about is what parts of the body are “in link” with each other (more on this in my next blog post). Right then and there, I set my sights on learning everything he could teach me, and I never looked back. Today, H3 by Dan Hellman is one of seven centers in the world authorized to issue certificates in VOYER’s methods. I host him and assist him—and I learn something new every time I am with him.

dan hellman develops tailored therapies for patients
Dan Hellman incorporates different methodologies in the tailored therapies he develops for his patients and clients, especially osteopathic-based techniques like Soma Therapy and Soma Training

I’m not broke anymore.

This brings me to a thought I want to share with other physical therapists and trainers: I’m not broke any more. I don’t have to live struggle financially to do what I love and help people.

We trainers and therapists can spend a fortune on continuing education and not see any real financial return. The new knowledge is great, but it doesn’t usually pay us back for the time and money invested. Wejust apply it to what we are already doing. But VOYER’s techniques are so powerful and the VOYER community has grown so much around the world that there are plenty of referrals for trainers and therapists. My studies with VOYER—and also with Paul Chek—have repaid me many times over, in income and professional fulfillment. They were truly life-changing experiences.

Do it. Please.

If this seems like a plug for therapists to enroll in courses in Soma Training and Soma Therapy at The VOYER School at H3 by Dan Hellman–well, I guess it is. But it is also sincere advice to my colleagues from my own personal experience. Do it. Please. Start with Myofascial Stretching May 10-12. Seize the opportunity to learn a completely new methodology, to gain greater professional fulfillment and freedom, and to chart a new professional future. And it won’t hurt if you earn a little more money in the process.