I’m thrilled today to bring you health and wellness guidance from physical therapist to the stars, Patricia Ladis. Patricia is the personal physical therapist to many athletes and celebrities and has served as physical therapist to the USTA and Broadway dance crews helping them to maintain mobility and optimal physical health. You’ll find her behind the scenes at the US Open, Wimbledon and the like -- fixing hips, shoulders, knees, backs and more. She has also recently been named as Director of Physical Therapy for The Well in New York City. In her work developing and co-founding the First 1000 Days project and writing her book, The Wise Woman’s Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth, she has become an expert in prenatal health working to get women back into high performance sport post pregnancy. Patricia is the first person I ever knew who maintained a gluten-free diet and she has many food tips, tricks and secrets that I have adopted over the years. Enjoy!
TIO: Patricia Ladis
The Inquisitive Olive: Patricia Ladis
Patricia Ladis is the founder of Wise Body Physical Therapy, Co-Founder of The First 1000 Days of Wellness, Director of Physical Therapy at The Well, Author of 'The Wise Woman's Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth', professional dancer and wife and mother of 3.
Founder, PT, Author, Pregnancy Pro, Dancer & Mother of 3
Find Patricia online: patricialadis.com @patricialadis
Favorite food? Wild Sardines with wilted greens or an Indian curry dish
Favorite self-care treatment? Facial or acupuncture
Favorite yoga pose? Triangle pose
Favorite place to travel? Greece!
Favorite part of your day? Mornings are my favorite! During the week and even on the weekends.
What’s your passion? What makes you feel most alive?
My passion is to help others to feel and look good! I also love continuing my education to stay current with the latest science and techniques. I aim to get to the root cause of someone’s pain and limitations, and to optimize the body for pain free, beautiful movement and postures.
Where do you live, and what do you love about your home/hometown?
I live on LI, New York, and commute into New York City 3 days a week. I grew up in a residential part of Brooklyn. I love my home on LI because it has a lot of charm and my hometown is very picturesque. The best part is being connected to nature right outside my door. I love having space for my family to run around, entertain, and live.
You’re an expert—that’s why we’re interviewing you. Tell us about your wellness journey and credentials.
I am a holistic physical therapist for 22 years and a behavioral breathing analyst. I am the founder of WiseBody Physical Therapy (NYC & Hamptons private & concierge Physical Therapy Practice), co-founder of The First 1000 Days of Wellness (perinatal wellness platform and education center for medical and spa professionals), and Director of Physical Therapy at The Well. I am the chair of the First 1000 Days Initiative (Perinatal Wellness) for the Global Wellness Institute which is aimed at improving public health before, during and after pregnancy. I am also the Author of ‘The Wise Woman’s Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth’, a new holistic guide to having a healthy baby!
Before becoming a Physical Therapist, I was a professional dancer. My 17 years of dance training helped inform my practice early on as I focused on helping professional dancers, Broadway performers, and touring companies prevent injury and get back on stage after pregnancy. I am a consultant with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and have worked with the professional tennis circuit since 2002. I have been involved with teams at the US Open, Wimbledon, Olympics, Indian Wells and Miami Open.
I am happily married to an amazing man and I’m a mom of three. I have had all three kinds of birth: Vaginal Birth without epidural, C-Section and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean).
What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise?
My dance experience is what has truly inspired me. I had a minor injury and realized the importance of physical therapy. I learned how miraculous the body is at healing when you have the right support and get to the root cause of it all.
Drop us with some knowledge. What’s the one fact, insight, or story about your area of expertise you’d like to share?
Often, we may experience lower back pain or a chronic ache. Most times those chronic, pesky issues that won’t go away are because something is lurking in the dark, putting undue pressure on the painful area. For example, I often see patients come in with lower back pain from too much sitting. However, their thoracic spine (midback) is very restricted, and they aren’t breathing correctly as a result. This puts a lot of pressure through the lower spine, especially when propped in a chair all day long. Once we improve the mobility and control of the thoracic spine, open and engage the diaphragm with proper breathing, the back pain goes away, and stays gone!
Is there a wellness myth you can bust for us?
MYTH: What you eat is the most important thing you can do when you are pregnant.
TRUTH: Actually, SUPPORT is the #1 thing to help a pregnant woman feel good and have a healthy baby!
CULTURE & RELATIONSHIPS
What values did the people you consider family instil in you?
I grew up with immigrant parents from Sparta, Greece. The importance of family, Greek culture, community, charity, Greek food, and Greek Orthodox principles were instilled in me. Kindness, gratitude, helping others, and sharing the ups and downs of life with loved ones are key.
What’s your cultural or ethnic heritage, and how does your background inform your approach to wellness?
Community and gratitude by giving back is a huge part of my heritage, and I didn’t even realize how important it was for wellness! Eating a seasonal Mediterranean diet rich in omega-3’s, anti-oxidants, healthy fats, vegetables, fish and lean meats helps me feel great! The Greek culture also reveres rest - sleep, downtime, and relaxation are so important. Movement is also a huge part of the culture. Greek dancing and dancing in general (usually in community or at joyful events) is a part of life. Taking hikes in nature is a regular pastime. Having fun and being social is something Greek people do regularly. Prayer, meditation, and having a relationship with God is part of life, helping to find peace of mind and to foster strength for challenging times.
Who do you call family?
My immediate family, extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and patients/clients. Greeks invite everyone into their family…the more the merrier!
Food is love, so tell us: What’s a comfort food that you associate with family?
Pasticcio! My mother’s pasticcio (Greek Lasagna) is THE BEST in our family and is famous in our larger circles, as well. She even makes it gluten free!
Do you have a home remedy or family secret you’d like to share?
For earaches, heat up some olive oil! Put a drop or two into the ear with a dropper. Oil disperses water so it can help for fluid in the ears or for earaches.
How do you stay connected with loved ones?
Invite them over! Text, emails, or social media is always a great way to stay connected to family and friends near and far, but nothing beats an in-person visit!
How do you balance the responsibilities of family life (to kids, partners, parents, or others) with self-care?
It is a very big struggle, because I also have to balance a busy career and caring for my patients (which requires staying in communication with other healthcare or wellness team members- MD’s, Pilates Instructors, and/or Personal Trainers). I try to carve out 2 selfcare treatments per month (massage, facial or pedicure, etc). I use my commute to relax and meditate, I take long showers or baths, and pray every evening. I also sometimes blast some music and dance around the house to let off some steam and care for myself-dancing is my oxygen!
What sparked your wellness journey?
My dance career informed me about how important it was to be healthy body, mind, and soul. I took care of myself and got some great pointers from my immigrant parents who grew vegetables and herbs and cooked healthy Greek foods for us each day!
What part of your morning ritual helps you start the day on the right foot?
I start my day with a cup of matcha. I make my own matcha lattes (with almond or hemp milk), collagen powder, and ginger. I walk for 15 minutes before getting into the office as well!
What’s your favorite place to unwind?
GREECE! Specifically on the beaches of Greece. There is no place like it on earth and since it’s where my ancestors are from, every cell in my body says 'Aaahhh!' from the second I get off the plane!
Tell us about a time when you didn’t feel well—physically, emotionally, or spiritually. What action steps did you take to heal?
I had an infection in my gut after the birth of my daughter (my third child). I was very sick, lost a lot of weight, and had very low energy. This was so hard for me since I’m a super energetic person. I had to understand the cause of it, treat it with herbs/supplements/acupuncture and a functional medicine approach. Slowly, I built my body back after a period of rest. Through the healing process, I learned so much about balancing my gut and listening to what my body needed!
Do you have rituals before bedtime? How do you unplug?
Since I have young children, we have family dinner and then we have bath time, book time, and prayer time with some bed time snuggles and back rubs. By the time all of this is done x 3, I am READY for bed too! No devices and airplane mode are the name of the game!
Take us with you on a grocery shopping trip. What’s always in your cart (real or virtual)?
Farmer’s market at Union Square on Wednesdays is my favorite- whatever is in season and some flowers for the house or office too!
I usually hit Whole foods for my favorites: apples, seasonal fruits, dark leafy greens, wild salmon, grass-fed beef, organic turkey, seasonal vegetables, sweet potatoes, unsweetened almond milk, dates and seeds (chia, flax, hemp since I make my own super seed bars for breakfast), almond butter, coconut oil, gluten free bread, chickpea or lentil pasta, Texmati rice, tzatziki, quinoa tortillas, organic cheese or non-dairy cheese, pasture raised/organic/free range eggs, grass-fed 100% beef hot dogs, and of course Kosterina EVOO and Dark chocolate- almond butter variety is my favorite.
How do you stay healthy?
I choose a Mediterranean diet full of seasonal food without wheat or dairy. I move daily (with the dance and other physical work that I do). I maintain proper posture and good mechanics functionally. I sleep 8+ hrs per night and I take a break one day per week. I pray each night and go to church every Sunday. I also take supplements to optimize my microbiome and mitochondria! I keep in touch with friends and family and try to get together when possible. I do what I love and continue to educate myself to get better and better at my work.
What’s the one ingredient or spice you can’t live without? Why?
GINGER- I have a constitution that has cold inside my body, so I need to balance it with warmth. The fastest and easiest way is by adding ginger to my diet daily- especially during the colder months or when I am coming down with a cold.
How do you “treat” yourself?
Body work, acupuncture or a facial for smaller treats and a spa day/ weekend for bigger treats!
How do you enjoy your Kosterina Extra Virgin olive oil?
On practically everything! Definitely drizzled over veggies, salads, poultry, fish, and more!
Do you like hosting dinner parties? If so, do you have a dish that’s your claim to fame?
I make a twice baked potato that has feta, bacon, butter, and parsley in it. Everyone raves about it and looks forward to coming over just for the potato! It’s a staple for every Thanksgiving and dinner party.
Have you been to Greece? If so – did you find a product, dish or drink you loved? If you haven’t, what would you do and see there if you could?
I eat sardines and wilted greens in Greece almost every day...and the Octopus too!
What are your favorite fitness resources/favorite workouts?
DanceBody workout is one of my favorites, Yoga with Giulia Pline and Pilates 1:1 are also HUGE!
Say you only have 10 minutes to squeeze in a workout. What do you do?
DANCE DANCE DANCE. I put on my favorite music and dance. I always include a squat/plie or something to ground in my legs and activate my glutes!
How do you keep your mind and body fit? What are your routines for movement and mindfulness?
When you dance you can’t think about your to-do list. You have triple the health benefits that come from each of the 3 M’s: Movement, Music and Mindfulness through dance!
How do you stay the course when you’re not feeling motivated?
I play some Michael Jackson and I’m instantly alive and energized!