Reflections of Gratitude

Posted By: Stephanie Accalia Member Spotlight,

That little joy buzz you get when opening an email with good news- that’s how it felt learning of my acceptance for the APTA Pelvic Health scholarship.  It means a lot to me, especially as a Mom and recent grad in my first year of practice. But then, remembering that I have to write a blog post- just a teeny tiny bit of trepidation (just a little, really). Where to start? While brainstorming and reflecting on my journey into pelvic health, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone who has been there along the way. I cannot begin to talk about my journey into pelvic health physical therapy without first thanking all of the teachers, clinicians, and patients who have helped me and many other therapists step into the role of pelvic health PT skillfully and confidently.  

So to start things off right, I would like to first acknowledge all of the PT school professors who are making sure that every student knows that the pelvic floor is important and can be treated. Another round of thanks to the pelvic health educators, delivering not only the highest level of knowledge in the field but also sharing years of wisdom and experience. I appreciate all of you.

To the clinicians- I’ve got a lot of feels here. A big thank you to every clinician out there that accepts students. A massive thanks to those that accepted me as their student, answered countless questions, and demonstrated superhuman amounts of patience. As a very hands-on learner, the pelvic health clinical rotation that I was able to participate in was foundational to my development as a pelvic health PT. Being able to witness patients getting better as they moved through their treatment plans really helped to build my faith in all of the treatment techniques, and also boost my confidence in delivering them. 

And to the patients- I cannot thank you enough. I feel very fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful patients up to this point, who have trusted me to deliver quality care even while knowing that I was still in school or freshly graduated. I am so grateful for each opportunity, and it has been such a joy to watch my own patients achieving their goals while also watching myself grow into a more knowledgeable and poised clinician.

Thinking back on my journey, the very first glimmer of interest or even awareness of pelvic health happened when I began belly dancing about 20 years ago. I read that belly dance was a good way to keep things in shape down there (not sure of any evidence-based validity behind that claim), and up until that point it had never occurred to me that said area of my body needed to be kept in shape. The point got re-iterated as I dove into yogic studies, as the physical aspect of mula bandha is basically a pelvic floor contraction. After entering motherhood and becoming more engaged with other parents in my community, it became quite clear that there was a need for pelvic health therapy. So upon entering PT school, I already had a strong pull towards exploring pelvic health. That pull only got stronger, and I am happy to share that I currently serve my community as a pelvic health PT. The clinic I work for is one of only two in the area offering pelvic health. It has been a very rewarding experience thus far, to come full circle and now be able to serve my community in this capacity.

Thank you for reading, and have a blessed day.

Author: Stephanie Accalia, PT, DPT

2023 Scholarship Recipient

Author Bio: Stephanie currently lives and works on the East side of Hawai'i Island, serving her community as a pelvic health PT and medical massage therapist.  Her practice is heavily influenced by her yoga, pilates and dance background.  She enjoys spending time with her family traveling, skating, SUPing and crafting.