SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION: I've uprooted my life in Chicago, IL to move to Charleston, SC. Nearly everything about my life has changed, and in time, I'll update my website to reflect those changes! Thank you for your patience.
After 15 years of clinical practice, I have taken a position researching the effects of vagal nerve stimulation in people who struggle with health challenges associated with hypermobility and hypermobile EDS (hEDS.) If you read further, you'll see that it is an area of personal and professional interest.
I didn't always know I had hEDS. I grew up with chronic musculoskeletal aches and pains that motivated me to become an orthopedic manual physical therapist so that I could help others with recurrent injuries and chronic pain. I had pelvic symptoms by the age of 15 that motivated me to become a pelvic health specialist. And when I recognized that my own nervous system was not functioning properly, I developed expertise in the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which helped me to secure a diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and begin to manage my own symptoms. I learned that POTS is highly comorbid with hypermobility/hEDS, and became passionate about serving the EDS/POTS community. It was then that I realized it was all connected-- pain, pelvic issues and ANS dysfunction are just part of the constellation of symptoms that can arise when your connective tissue is hypermobile.
I've mentored colleagues in orthopedic and pelvic PT as well as the specialty practice of managing hypermobility, hEDS, POTS and long-COVID POTS. What I tell my mentees is that learning how to manage hypermobility-related issues will make you a better clinician for all your other patients, because connective tissue affects every system of the body. So even as I specialized further in hypermobility-related issues, I found myself improving as a clinician in a variety of areas and was better able to serve a variety of clients.
Along the way, I've incorporated tools from a variety of disciplines and been influenced by various teachers. My approach is always individualized and person-centered. It is trauma-informed and highly influenced by Polyvagal Theory and the work of Steven Porges. It is evidence-informed and particularly influenced by current pain neuroscience and the work of Lorimer Moseley and David Butler. I am able to incorporate tools from yoga therapy, pilates, and various forms of fitness training and mindfulness meditation that I have trained in, but I don't insist on any one approach. I'm most interested in what will work best for my client. Their unique needs, preferences and goals will guide my approach, and I will change my approach based on their feedback.
But it all starts with feeling heard and seen. Knowing that this person helping you has your back. Feeling safe with them, especially in the moments when your health concerns leave you feeling vulnerable.
It is a gift an an honor to provide that safe space for my clients. I enjoy working with individuals to create a strong therapeutic alliance and work toward their health and wellness goals. I enjoy working with professionals to hone their skills and provide current evidence-informed, person-centered, biopsychosocial care. I'm passionate about contributing to the evidence base so that we have better treatments to offer people in need.
If you believe you might benefit from my services, I hope you will consider contacting me at [email protected].
Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Catherine Lewan
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
Very clear, inspirational and motivational. Passionate about her subject. Great teacher and course!
Excellent speaker with a nice balance of lecture, lab, and shared case scenarios.
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 kept the material fun to learn throughout the whole day! She is an impressive presenter! The whole course was well organized and had great handouts.
– Anna L
Catherine is an energetic, bright, and passionate facilitator. She makes class fun and enjoyable!
“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.”
“This was a great course, I think all therapists should attend. It is time for more focused attention to incontinence (and associated fall risk) in SNF/LTC and outpatient populations. I am so grateful I was able to attend and will be able to work this into our current rehab programs. “
“Dr. Catherine – the breathing techniques have literally ALREADY assisted with my bathroom habits. I am committed to continuing on this treatment path.
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!
“Thank you so much for your incredible patience, kindness, and expertise. I know that I am in good hands.”