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Animal Chiropractor? Yes!

Did you know, Wyoming’s only board-certified animal chiropractor is at Medicine Wheel Wellness? (And she works on humans too.) 

Once a dog owner brought their 15-year-old German Shepherd in to see Josie Wittner. The dog couldn’t walk and had not been able to go to the bathroom for three days. Josie is a chiropractor who has worked on humans for a decade. Recently she has expanded her practice to include animals. “I have five malamutes and I love ani- mals, so I decided to get a national board exam and do a six-month course,” she says.

Because there weren’t any other options, the German Shepherd’s owner thought they’d try Josie. “Some people completely believe in it,” Josie says. “But some people don’t think it works at all ... until they get their animal adjusted.”

Still, the Shepherd was an extreme case.

“As a healer you always question your ability as to what you can do, and I was really questioning myself with this one,” Josie says. “I told the own- er I’d try, but I really didn’t know if there was anything I could do.”

Josie did one treatment and asked the owner to bring the dog back the following day. Josie adjusted the dog a second time and, by the third time the dog was walking. “I was like, ‘What the heck?!’ This kind of stuff really happens!,” Josie says. “It was one of those weird, crazy things. I had talked to friends who had seen something this remarkable, but I hadn’t ever experienced it before. I wish it could be that dramatic with humans too.”

Excel Physical Therapy

"We strive for quality care at Excel Physical Therapy, a modern facility, full of light and smiling faces, where 
licensed PTs give full hour sessions. And now with a full line of comprehensive services offered through Med- icine Wheel, there is something for everyone no matter what phase of rehab they are in." –Maria Lofgren, PT, Co-owner, Excel Physical Therapy

Maria has been treating patients for almost 20 years. She earned a B.S. degree in Kinesiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her M.S. degree in Physical Therapy from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. Prior to join- ing Francine, who had founded Excel PT as a side job to treat the un-insured, Maria was director of rehab at St. John’s Medical Center. The two met at SJMC and soon after became partners at Excel. Nearly 10 years later, and now with a team of seven licensed physical therapists, Excel PT is a thriving practice dedicated to quality patient care.

Francine earned a B.S in Sports Medicine in 1995, is a NATA certified athletic trainer, and registered yoga teacher. She earned her M.S. in Physical Therapy in 2001 and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy specializing in Healthcare Administration and Practice Management in 2014. She serves as the Medical Education Director for Opedix Kinet- ic Health Gear, a recovery and performance apparel brand sold online and at Medicine Wheel’s Wellness Boutique.

“We want our profession and certainly our clinic to have a top-notch reputation,” she says. “If we don’t give patients the quality care they deserve or have a plan in place for them when their insurance runs out, they’ll turn to others for assistance, or, even worse, stay injured.”
At Excel PT, patients are scheduled in full one-hour blocks and are always with a licensed therapist. You won’t find rehab aides or techs at Excel, however you may see patients working with experienced massage thera- pists, or yoga and pilates instructors, utilized for their specialized skills that benefit the overall recovery process. Excel  78

“It’s been great to see orthopedic surgeons writing prescriptions for yoga, pilates, and even Ope- dix. It’s
even better to see insurance companies covering these things.” Francine says. “Integrat- ed healthcare and preventative medicine is our future. There are too many people in need and too many people left without proper care; in the long run this increases costs for the entire system.”

Excel PT also has a satellite clinic at Wright Training and works in conjunction with strength coach and profressional skier Crystal Wright and pilates instructor and professional skier Jess McMillan.

“There are very reputable trainers, practitioners, and rehab therapies like The Alexander Tech- nique, NeuroMovement, and Rolfing/Structural Integration available alongside the physical thera- py Excel offers.” says Francine. “We see being a part of Medicine Wheel Wellness as an opportuni- ty to offer our patients the best care possible. If someone doesn’t have health insurance but has a need for knowledgable body work or specialized care to tackle bigger issues like depression we now have the help in-house.”


Meet Medicine Wheel Wellness

Before there was Medicine Wheel Wellness, there was The Medicine Wheel. There have been about 100 medicine wheels found in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, but it is the one in the Bighorn National Forest in eastern Wyoming that is The Medicine Wheel. Native American cultures built medicine wheels to symbolize dimensions of health and life. Seventy-five feet in diameter and at an elevation of 9,642-feet, the Bighorn Medicine wheel is a national historic landmark; it is the best-preserved and most complete medicine wheel yet discovered. Francine’s connection to the Medicine Wheel started in 2008, during a Lakota sweat lodge ceremony. “To create Medicine Wheel Well- ness, I looked to traditional Medicine Wheel teachings and how I could integrate them into the health care system I must work within to make it better. We can have integrated, accessible, and effective care that is less expensive,” says Francine.

“I have personally and professionally expanded from exposure to the healing methods of other cultures. Kauai, for me, is the mothership of healing. While finishing yoga teacher training there I saw wheels everywhere. I couldn’t ignore this sign. I asked my mentors —Chief “Sweet” William, a Lakota Chief, and Jules, a Buffalo Valley native who first invited me into the sweat lodge— for permission to use the wheel in my practice; they immediately granted support. I started gathering up practitioners like a sheep dog, each with a similar vision of health and healing as mine. Medicine Wheel Wellness opened January 1, 2015.

Medicine Wheel’s home is a 5,000-square foot building in downtown Jackson that includes a 2,500-square foot physical therapy clinic (Excel Physical Therapy), a group fitness studio, a private yoga studio, a handful of private practitioner offices, and a retail boutique, all overlooking the ski runs of Snow King Mountain Resort.

“When recovering from injury, illness, dis-ease or looking to improve fitness or sports performance, Medicine Wheel Wellness gives people options that fit their budget and healthcare needs,” says Francine, who teaches yoga, knee rehab, and SURFSET Fitness classes. Medicine Wheel Wellness offers services from rehab to sports performance and numerous modalities addressing the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing. Francine says, “You don’t have to use the whole wheel, but when you are ready to work on your overall well- being—that includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—we’re ready.” 


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