Lara Lara has more than 15 years of experience practicing YOGA in multiple formats and demographics. Her background in Public Health segued naturally into discovering the profound benefits that yoga contributes to our vitality. She is passionate about instruction; so her sense of humor and lighthearted approach help to demystify yoga adding modifications so that we can all benefit, regardless of our size, shape or physical ability! Lara is credentialed through the Yoga Alliance holding an e-RYT designation (meaning she has over 1000 teaching hours).
In 2006, Kris became an AFAA certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor because she wanted the opportunity to be able to help others through fitness. Kris feels that fitness is the cornerstone to overall health and wellness and that getting fit is the first step to a new and healthy lifestyle. She says that helping clients reach their fitness goals by providing them with the correct tools and guidance, is the most rewarding aspect of her job. She is passionate about fitness and enjoys swimming and hiking. She has experience working in physical therapy and rehabilitation and has worked with many individuals that have specific health conditions such as arthritis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis. It is her desire to help clients achieve improved overall health through exercise. Her background also includes extensive teaching and training experience in Pilates including equipment like the Reformer, Trapeze Table, Chair, and mat. She looks forward to having the opportunity to help you achieve your goals.
Desert Palms Owner
Dr. Marcus Neal received his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Arizona State University in 2003, and his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University in 2006. Marcus is dedicated to continued education with advanced clinical studies with North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy. Marcus joined Desert Palms Physical Therapy in 2006 because of their focus and dedication to continuing education, mentorship and clinical expertise. Marcus has a strong interest in Evaluation, Biomechanics, and treatment of shoulder girdle dysfunction. In his spare time, Marcus enjoys the outdoors including mountain biking, hiking and hanging out with his dog, Raja. He also enjoys all things dealing with food and beverage, including cooking, eating and brewing.
Tracy has been practicing massage therapy since 2009. If you’re in need of therapeutic relief from chronic pain, a specific area of injury, or an overall feeling of relaxation, massage therapy can help provide many health benefits. Massage doesn’t need to be painful to be effective. The body has a remarkable way of healing itself. She can help create space and movement for muscle groups that aren’t performing to their optimal range of motion. Sometimes people need to take time for themselves and Tracy is here to help you do that! Ask Tracy about incorporating CBD oil into your massage. She uses a topical version that can help with so many things ranging from inflammation to anxiety. It may aid in your overall relaxation and might help your quality of sleep.
Michelle is trained in Northern Style Thai Massage; Jin Shou Tuina and CranioSacral Therapy. She completed three apprenticeships in Jin Shou Tuina (Chinese Manual Therapy) and CranioSacral Therapy. Fascinated with Traditional Chinese Medicine, she switched careers in 2012 from scientific computer programming. She enjoys researching the effects of disharmony in the mind, body, or spirit upon the whole person. Michelle spends her free time training the traditional Chinese gongfu arts of Xingyi Quan and Bagua Zhang, as well as Hiraido (Japanese Jiu Jitsu). She started teaching Qi Gong in 2015. Michelle has lived in Tucson for 12 years and enjoys the desert, hiking, trail running, and spending time with her three children.
Ariana Barnes graduated from the Cortiva Institute of Massage Therapy in 2012. Her passion for Healing is what motivates her in her Massage Treatments. Pain relief and relaxation are her primary focus in her work. Her Massage approach is Therapeutic while still maintaining relaxation, enough pressure to manipulate and rejuvenate the muscles but still feeling free from any tension and anxiety. Her specialties include: Nueromuscular Therapy, Swedish, Hot Stone Therapy, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point Therapy, Sports, Prenatal and Cancer Care Massage.
Ariana enjoys hiking, boating, swimming, music and above all she loves spending her time away from work with her 2 children
Certified in 2016, Leah holds an E-RYT 200, YACEP certification with Yoga Alliance. She has been practicing yoga for over 15 years.
Leah believes in the importance of making yoga accessible to all. She feels that the focus of yoga should be on calming the mind, listening to the body, building strength and flexibility, and improving balance. She teaches all styles of yoga but gravitates towards Hatha, Gentle, and Yin.
Leah relocated to Tucson in 2008, from Seattle, Washington. In addition to yoga, her other passions include gardening, landscape design, baking/cooking, and spending time outdoors. She is a former elementary school teacher.
Dr. Christian Busch received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS in 2015. He has a wide variety of experience including acute care, inpatient rehab, and outpatient orthopedics. Christian is currently pursuing his certification to become a Certified Manual Physical Therapist through The North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). He is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) in the Sports Physical Therapy section. Christian joined Desert Palms Physical Therapy in 2016 because of the excellent mentorship and continuing education opportunities provided by the clinic to promote clinical excellence for their staff. When Christian is not working, he enjoys cycling, hiking and drinking coffee.
Dr. Julie Moore has over 20 years of experience working in the field of physical therapy. She graduated with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from The University of Findlay and has continued to pursue her love for education throughout the years. She is currently attending Andrews University pursuing a Doctor of Science in PT (DScPT) and is also completing a fellowship program through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT). Julie is board certified as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) through the American Physical Therapy Board of Specialties. She is a Certified Orthopedic Manipulative Therapist (COMT) through NAIOMT and is also certified in functional dry needling through KinetaCore and Dr. Ma's Integrative Dry Needling (IDN). Julie's strong desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives keeps her progressively moving forward. Outside of work Julie enjoys staying busy spending time with her family, cooking, outdoor activities, and reading non-fiction.
Heidi Branlund is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist with over 15 years' experience in helping patients achieve their personal goals of optimal health. She applies acupuncture, cupping and massage, treating a wide range of issues including: muscle pain/injuries, fibromyalgia, headaches and migraines, and women's health issues. She holds a Master's in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University and is pursuing her Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Heidi is also a mother to 3 children, and enjoys music and exploring outdoors with her family.
Shey loves yoga because it gives her something no other exercise does. Yoga not only heals the body, but clears the mind and lightens the heart. Vinyasa Flow is her favorite flavor of yoga. She loves the variety in sequence and the faster pace. In May of 2013, she completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training with Sumits Yoga in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a registered yoga teacher (RYT 200) through Yoga Alliance.
Connie received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1985 from Eastern Michigan University, and her Certification in Hand Therapy in 1992. When Connie joined Desert Palms in 2015, she had been specializing in the treatment of the upper extremity for over 25 years. She has taken numerous continuing education courses in myofascial bodywork, and Feldenkrais based whole body therapeutic movement courses, and feels it is important to treat the whole person. She enjoys working at Desert Palms where the emphasis on an integrative treatment approach. When Connie is not working she enjoys travelling, mountain biking, playing tennis and playing guitar.
Vera is a Specialist in Fitness Therapy, Internationally Cert. Fitness Trainer, PWR Cert. and Neuromusculor techniques. She presently has classes through Oro Valley Parks, throughout Tucson and Assisted and independent Living Communities and previously has provided them for schools, parks, residential communities and individuals. The curriculum includes Neuromuscular body mechanics, healthy/holistic lifestyle, brain plasticity and FUN while providing integrated individualized training even in a group setting with the use of Aerobic, Strength, Martial Arts, Dance, Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga modalities. Vera would like to alert you to the Neuromuscular Techniques and education that will benefit your quality of life and be an advance to the care you provide for yourself and your family.
Dr. Michaela Gaither received her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology (Pre-health professional emphasis) and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish in 2002. She studied abroad in Granada, Spain for the academic year of 2000-2001. She graduated with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University in 2005. She is an active member in the American Physical Therapy Association Sports and Orthopedic sections. She is board certified as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) through the American Physical Therapy Board of Specialties. She is a certified manual physical therapist (CMPT) through the North American Institute of Manual Therapy (NAIOMT), certified in dry needling through Kineticore, certified in the Functional Movement Screen (CFMS) and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) levels I and II. She is a Certified Running Gait Analyst through the Association of Clinical Excellence. Dr. Gaither is a certified BIG LSVT practitioner for treatment of patients with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders. She is presently pursuing certification as a Pilates Instructor through Polestar’s Comprehensive Pilates program. She has worked in outpatient orthopedics, acute and sub-acute care treating a wide array of conditions from sports injuries to chronic pain.
She is passionate about empowering others to lead their most fulfilling lives by improving the way their bodies move and function. She joined Desert Palms in 2011 because of Bruce Franke’s reputation for clinical excellence in manual orthopedic physical therapy and advanced training opportunities through Desert Palms Institute and the NAIOMT. Michaela enjoys Desert Palms’ integrative approach to wellness and emphasis on restoring total body movement. Outside of work, Michaela enjoys spending time with her husband, two children and two dogs. Her hobbies include hiking, running, Pilates, snowboarding, camping, travel, reading and gourmet cooking.
Cathy Blanchard graduated from the Western Institute of Neuromuscular Therapy in 2011. She holds a dual license as a Massage Therapist in Arizona and California. Her massage therapy sessions are a personalized approach to client specific needs with an emphasis on relaxation and rejuvenation. Her specialties include: Neuromuscular Therapy, Hot Stone Therapy, Shiatsu, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Swedish, Sports, and Prenatal/Postpartum massage. Cathy enjoys music, hiking, horseback riding and yoga.
As a former dancer, recovering runner, and aspiring cyclist, I had practiced Yoga intermittently for years. Four years ago, I began regular asana practice and study of Yoga philosophy. It became a passion and lifestyle I yearn to delve deeper into and share with others. After completing a 200-hour teacher training program at Barefoot Studios, I became a 200 RYT. I currently lead classes and private sessions around Oro Valley and Tucson. I continue training with Senior Certified Iyengar Yoga instructor, Ben Thomas, and with regular self-study, personal practice and workshops. I have experience leading Yin, Restorative, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yoga stretch, and Iyengarinspired posture deepening techniques. I take pride in teaching to my students' needs, learning from them, and creating understanding of the body, mind, and spirit through Yoga practice.
Desert Palms Owner & Founder
Dr. Bruce Franke has over 29 Years of experience and is a clinical specialist, mentor, researcher and faculty instructor in orthopedic physical therapy. Dr. Franke established DPPT in northwest Tucson in 1997. Bruce has trained under many world renowned physical therapists and has always strived to provide a unique, comprehensive and aggressive approach to patient care.
Bruce received his PT degree from the College of St. Scholastica, in Duluth MN in 1987, his Master in Orthopaedic PT through the University of St. Augustine in 2001, and his Doctor of Science in PT from Andrews University in 2016. In 2002, Bruce achieved specialization as an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) awarded by the American Physical Therapy Association and Fellowship status in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT).
Bruce received the 2003 Therex Award for Excellence in a Published Case Study for his article “Formative Dynamics: The Pelvic Girdle”, published in the JMMT. Bruce has also enjoyed presenting his research related to pelvic girdle kinetic testing and the associations to lumbopelvic-hip pain, lower quarter load transfer and movement impairments at the World Congress for Low Back and Pelvic Girdle Pain (Barcelona Spain – 2007; Singapore - 2016); national NAIOMT conferences in 2010; and at the World Congress of Orthopaedics (WCOR) in Xian China (2015) and Seoul, South Korea (2016).
Since 2016, Bruce has had the honor to participate as adjunct faculty in the Evidence-Based Practice course with the College of St. Scholastica in their online tDPT program. Bruce has also enjoyed providing residency, fellowship, instructing courses in orthopedic manual therapy as well as conducting clinical research in his partnered outpatient private practice. Many months of the year, Bruce is inspired within his NGO while volunteering, mentoring & training physical therapists in SE Asia.
Michael graduated from Pima Medical Institute in 2013 with an associate’s degree in Physical Therapy Assistant. Michael discovered his passion for physical therapy while working with his clients as a personal trainer in Wisconsin. Michael joined Desert Palms because of their targeted approach as well as their mentoring and continuing education opportunities. Michael brings a broad background of exercise knowledge to our team.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY Dr. Victor worked in the family bakery as a youth.
After graduating with a B.A in 1980 from the University of Miami, FL he attended Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport IA and graduated in 1984.
Dr. Victor did additional training in Lansing MI.
In 1985, he moved to Tucson AZ, where he continues to practice chiropractic.
His special interest is in osteopathic manipulation and activator methods, (a low force high velocity technique). Other techniques include Myofascial strain/ counterstrain and Palmer methods.
Dr. Victor utilizes specialized evaluation methods for spinal and postural correction. With more than 33 years of experience he utilizes a multi-disciplinary team approach to maximize the best possible patient outcome.
Dr. Victor is known for spending time with his patients. His motto is to treat patients as he would family. He’ll tell you that he doesn’t charge extra for his jokes.
When not practicing he likes spending time with his friends, family, and his dogs.
Nora has been practicing yoga for over 25 years. When she retired, she decided to pursue her 200 hour teaching certificate at The Yoga Connection in Tucson. She is currently enrolled in the 300 hour advanced teacher training course. Nora teaches classes in gentle yoga and beginning/continuing yoga where she enjoys sharing her love of yoga. Her classes are slower moving with lots of variety.
NW 520-531-0305 | Oro Valley 520-338-2728
Carolyn Selby is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a diverse clinical background and 30 years of experience. She received her Bachelor's degree in Health Science, PT Option, at California State University, Northridge in 1990. She earned a Master's degree in Health Administration at the University of Southern California in 1993 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Western University of Health Sciences in 2007. She has practiced in a variety of settings, with experience in geriatrics, orthopedics, women's health, vestibular and concussion. Carolyn is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS) as recognized by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Most recent continuing education has included: Functional Dry Needling levels 1 and 2, Functional Dry Needling of the Pelvic Floor, and Functional Therapeutics through Kinetacore; Vestibular and Concussion provider training through National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) and NRH Environment of Learning; APTA Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Levels 1, 2 and 3, APTA Fundamental and Advanced Topics of Pregnancy & Postpartum Physical Therapy.
Carolyn has recently moved to Arizona and is looking forward to exploring hiking trails with her family
Dr. Bruce A. Sadilek
Dr. Bruce Sadilek has provided emergency and Integrative Functional Primary Care Medicine in Tucson, Arizona for over 30 years. He is an active educator and preceptor with Dr. Andrew Weil’s program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, lecturing and mentoring residents from around the country. Dr. Sadilek had been awarded the AzNMA Physician of the Year in 2007 and the SCNM Legacy Aard in 2008. He has developed his Physical Therapy and rehab interest and became certified in Sports Medicine. He is a primary care physician blending natural and conventional therapies.
Rani graduated from Pima Medical Institute in 2010. She later returned to Tucson from Woodstock, NY where she worked as a PTA in a manual therapy-focused outpatient office. There she had the opportunity to co-develop a wellness program for Parkinson's patients as well as teach senior exercise classes. Certifications in complimentary & alternative medicine as well as being certified in Reiki have helped to facilitate her belief in a whole body therapeutic approach that nurtures mind, body, and spirit. These qualities, along with opportunities for continuing education growth, has made her feel fortunate to join the Desert Palms team.