My approach to physical therapy is person-centered and evidence-informed. I listen to my clients and consider not only the nature of their symptoms, but also their concerns, lifestyle, preferences, and habits in order to find the treatments that will have the most impact. Partnering with my clients, we create a plan for both short-term relief of symptoms and long-term support of wellness.
I have found a mindful approach that engages awareness regarding symptoms assists in the process of determining triggers and the effectiveness of treatment strategies. Journaling, meditation, yoga, and or any mindful movement may be helpful toward this end, but I don't require anyone to use these particular mind-body tools. If your favorite way to focus your mind and move your body is gardening, cleaning, or sports, I simply ask my clients to take note of how they are feeling before, during, and after activity in order to determine if bodily sensations or symptoms are providing clues that will guide us to find what it is that your body is asking for-- and ultimately help you reclaim ease and joy in your favorite activities.
I have a variety of tools that I use to help my clients reach their goals. With my training in exercise science, Pilates and Yoga Therapy, I can adapt many forms of exercise, including yoga and Pilates to meet the needs of the individual. For example, Pilates, yoga, and many forms of exercise can be adapted by a trained professional so that:
- a person with a fracture can continue to exercise without bearing weight on the healing bone, keeping up bone density, strength and mobility in other areas.
- someone with orthostatic challenges (dizziness upon standing, dysautonomia/POTS) can appropriately challenge their heart and develop strength in a recumbent position, decreasing the adverse effects of orthostatic stress during exercise and improving their symptoms over time.
- a person with chronic pain or fatigue can move and pace themselves in ways that allow them to gain the many benefits of exercise (including better sleep, less depression/anxiety, and decreased pain and more energy over time) with guidance and decreased fear of flaring up symptoms.
- a person who is hypermobile can improve their sense of proprioception (where the body is in space) and learn to support and control excessive motion to reduce pain and risk of injury.
- someone who thought they would never again be able to garden, pick up their kids/grandkids, attend school, or go for a walk on a nice day can get there in small steps, with the right exercise program expertly chosen, paced, and progressed.
Manual (hands-on) therapy is large component of my Physical Therapy practice, and I am grateful to have training and expert mentoring in a variety of techniques, including joint mobilization/manipulation, soft tissue massage, trigger point release, myofascial release, nerve gliding, and dermoneuromodulation.
I offer PT services in-person, to individuals with medical diagnoses with a medical need for care. This generally makes PT eligible for insurance reimbursement, but each individual policy is unique. For more information, please call your insurance to learn more about your individual policy and contact the clinic where I offer PT services: Chicago Physical Therapists.
Direct Access to Physical Therapy in Illinois means that you can see a Physical Therapist first without getting a referral from a physician. However, some insurance companies require this step in order to cover PT charges, so please check your benefits.
If you are not able to see me in-person, but would like to set up a consult by phone or video session, please see more information about Consulting and Health Coaching.
“After struggling with POTS and feeling limited by pain related to hypermobility, I was able to confidently leave home for my college of choice with no limitations after working with Dr. Cat. She helped me adapt my workouts so that I could resume weightlifting and running.”
I was in a lot of pain with mobility issues. Catherine Lewan, DPT, was very understanding and made me feel comfortable about discussing all the ways that the pain was interfering with my daily activities. Cat employed several modalities to address my pain as well as muscle weaknesses (and areas of tightness!) that I hadn’t noticed before but to which my body was reacting. Cat provided me with options to consider regarding my plan of care and included my goals in each step of the treatment. She listened well and came up with a plan tailored to my needs. I now am more knowledgeable about my body and if my pain returns, I have some tools to use to try to address it. I know too that she is available in case my pain persists, and I need a re-evaluation. Working with Cat has convinced me that physical therapists can address the whole patient, not just a joint or limb that is in pain. Finally, Cat was always positive and encouraging. I could not have achieved my great results without her!
Kim– student PTA and experienced personal trainer and exercise instructor
I have worked with Catherine after each of my vaginal births, and also during one of my pregnancies. Her knowledge of the body’s systems is unparalleled. Each time I met with Catherine, I had multiple new tools and realizations about myself to work with on my own. She helped me heal from a mild bladder prolapse and reduce my diastasis recti to a subclinical level. I refer patients to Catherine on a weekly basis because I know she will have some ideas and skills to impart to just about anyone imaginable! Thank you, Catherine!
– Lela Beem, studio owner Grateful Yoga of Evanston, co-founder of The Amala School of Prenatal Yoga
I took a course from you a couple years ago about using pilates/yoga with geriatric patients. You presented the material in a smooth, understandable, and engaging way. I was just getting into yoga at the time, and you helped spur me onward into that wonderful realm. I am currently going over, again, the workbook from that course. Just wanted you to know that you helped to re-energize an old physical therapist’s practice of his profession, and continue to influence in a very positive way the outcomes of all my patient interactions. I offer you my sincere gratitude.
Excellent speaker with a nice balance of lecture, lab, and shared case scenarios.
Catherine is a natural teacher. When I take her yoga class it is as if she is talking to me personally (even when the room is full). She is so in-tune with how the body works – or isn’t working. Catherine tells us to be gentle to our bodies. She eases us into the class with gentle pranayama and then takes us through asanas that always magically warm us up to the climax of the class (modified for different levels always). But this is where her Physical Therapy expertise shines through: Catherine knows the body so well. Her knowledge of the body as well as the anatomy of the pose means that you will experience asana in a new way, every time.
Catherine has a very effective style, and is open to questions. She is very knowledgable, with good visuals, hands-on instruction, and example exercises. Great course! Thank you!
I have taken classes, workshops, and private sessions with Catherine, and find her to be very knowledgable, present, and sincerely interested in helping each student to reach their own potential. Her teaching is clear, based on science as well as experience. She has a strong ‘body sense’ and loves to challenge her own limits and will challenge you to be your own best self!
Catherine is an energetic, bright, and passionate facilitator. She makes class fun and enjoyable!