About LJ


LJ Lee Graduation

A physiotherapy graduate and Wesbrook Scholar (1996) from the University of British Columbia, Canada, LJ pursued ongoing manual therapy training with the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) and became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT) in 1999 with distinction. In 2001 LJ was certified in Intramuscular Stimulation as developed by Chan Gunn (CGIMS).

With a background in competitive figure skating, and a love for playing outside, LJ has always been passionate about movement – understanding movement, and figuring out how to change movement so that people feel better, optimize performance, and have a positive experience of their body.

Over time, LJ’s interest in optimizing whole body movement led her to combine functional movement analysis with specific manual therapy skills to change movement and look at the connections between regional dysfunction, pain, and whole body performance. These were the beginnings of the concepts to determine when a pain-free but dysfunctional region could be the “driver” for pain somewhere else in the body. LJ’s patient experiences and personal injuries stimulated her ideas around motor control and specific exercise protocols for the thorax and new “thoracic ring” techniques, which would grow into her Thoracic Ring Approach™. She started teaching physiotherapists these concepts as applied to “core” stability, low back, hip and pelvis function, postpartum health, and thoracic, neck and upper extremity assessment, treatment and exercise rehabilitation.

LJ Rowing

From her work with challenging patient cases and the need to find a way to treat her own injuries, LJ became fascinated with the thorax early in her career. Combining her clinical ideas and research from other areas of the spine, LJ proposed multiple mechanisms to explain how dysfunction in the thorax could “drive”, or cause, many distal problems in the body, from neck pain, shoulder impingement, and altered neurodynamics to low back pain, pelvic girdle pain, incontinence and prolapse (LJ Lee 2005, 2007). LJ’s clinical ideas about motor control of the thorax and thoracic driven abdominal wall and lumbopelvic dysfunction led her to complete a PhD at the University of Queensland (2013).

LJ is known for her unique way of looking at total body function in meaningful tasks related to function and performance to find the primary driver, or true underlying cause for clients’ pain and problems. The assessment framework of Meaningful Task Analysis (Lee LJ 2008) was developed in the context of LJ’s Thoracic Ring Approach™ and have become key features of The Integrated Systems Model for Pain and Disability (ISM) (Lee LJ, Lee DG 2010) and ConnectTherapy™ (Lee LJ 2014).

LJ has published her research and clinical ideas in peer-reviewed journals and books. She is an Associate Editor for the British Journal of Sports Medicine, an Associate Member at the Centre for Hip Health & Mobility, a Professional Associate at the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, and an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. She mentors a team at her clinic, Synergy Physiotherapy + Pilates in North Vancouver, Canada.

The capacity of the body and mind to heal and the beauty of human movement inspires LJ daily. In her work and in her life she loves to explore possibilities… and the probable impossibilities. LJ enjoys creating a supportive learning environment that allows participants to challenge and develop their clinical reasoning skills, examine and translate science, explore the power of touch and awareness, and see movement and function in the body in a more connected way.

Past Presentations

Lee LJ. A clinical test for failed load transfer in the upper quadrant: how to direct treatment decisions for the thoracic spine, cervical spine, and shoulder complex. Proceedings of the 2005 Orthopaedic Symposium of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. London, Ontario, Canada, 2005.
Lee LJ. The Role of the Thorax in Pelvic Girdle Pain, Presented at the 6th Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Pain, Barcelona, Spain November 7-10, 2007.
Lee LJ. Motor control and kinematics of the thorax in pain-free function. University of Queensland, Australia: 2013.
Lee LJ. The Essential Role of the Thorax in Restoring Optimal Function. Keynote presentation at the 2008 Orthopaedic Symposium of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Montreal, Canada, October 2008.
Lee LJ, Lee DG. Chapter 7: Clinical Practice – The Reality for Clinicians. 2010. In Lee, DG: The Pelvic Girdle. Elsevier, pgs. 255-282.