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“With the leg bone connected to the knee bone, and the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, and the thigh bone connected to the hip bone…”

The words to this familiar song were originally intended for children as a simple way of teaching them about human anatomy. But they’re a good reminder that the human body is one whole, interconnected being as opposed to individual bones, muscles, and joints. Every part is dependent on the other.

Applied Functional Science (AFS) seeks to better understand human body movement: how was the body made to function, and how does it actually function? Developed by Gary Gray, the founder of the Gray Institute, AFS links the scientific truths of how we move, think and act with practical strategies to create better, more efficient environments for the daily, sport-specific activities we engage in. When it comes to injuries, the goal is to evaluate the source of the injury as opposed to the symptom—and in contrast, to break down a person’s natural movements and assess limitations to help prevent an injury before it happens.

In 2011, Finish Line therapists Michael Conlon, Danielle Sabella and Brynn Fessette were professionally recognized as Fellows of Applied Functional Science (FAFS) and were certified in Functional Manual Reaction (FMR). Alison McGinnis will complete the program in 2012.

How does a functional approach affect how Finish Line therapists treat you?

  • We focus on function vs. injury.
    That’s to say, the source of a knee injury might not be the knee itself; there’s a greater chance it is the result of how other areas of the body—such as the foot, hip and thoracic spine—interact with the knee during movement.
  • We consider all planes of functional movement vs. taking a one-dimensional approach.
    Humans are multi-dimensional beings, and our natural movements obviously reflect that. Our joints and muscles move in three planes of motion: sagittal (forward and back), frontal (side to side), and transverse (rotation). For example, when we run, as the right leg hits the ground, the joint and muscles move through all three planes of motion, accelerating and decelerating as needed.
  • We create the appropriate exercise for the individual vs. letting the exercise choose you.
    Traditional strengthening exercises can be ineffective for specific people, based on various factors, such as age, activity level, previous medical history, and more. The functional approach evaluates the total athlete and incorporates flexibility, strength, balance and cardiovascular in developing targeted exercises.