Our Team

Our team

Here is a list of our practitioners in Optimal Therapy. We are pleased to have them offer their services to the Mount Royal Community.

 

Acupuncture - TCM
 

Lake Zhu

 

 

 

Athletic Therapy
 

Chiropractic Care
 

Custom-built Orthotics

     Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor

Optimal Therapies Team - Lake

Lake Zhu
Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor and Acupuncturist

Credentials
Coming soon.

More Information
Lake is a Registered Acupuncturist and a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He has been part of the Optimal Therapy Team at MRU Wellness Services since 2013.
Lake diagnoses the root cause of a health issue through the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and treats patterns of disharmony in the related organs and their respective energetic meridians to help with the body's natural healing process. It is effective for wide range issues from Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Digestive Disorders, Fertility, Headache, Migraines, Tension, Stroke, PTSD, as well as treating any type of pain and injuries. Lake is a strong advocate of using simple, preventative and natural methods to maintain well-being to avoid complex health interventions. Lake is also passionate about sharing well being with his community, and has been teaching Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation with The City of Calgary and MRU Recreation since 2000.

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Athletic Therapists

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Jenelle McAllister
Certified Athletic Therapist

Credentials

  • Certified Athletic Therapist, Canadian Athletic Therapists Association
  • Master of Science in Kinesiology: University of Calgary
  • Bachelor of Kinesiology: University of Calgary

More Information
Jenelle has been a certified athletic therapist since 2000 and joined the Optimal Therapy team in 2008. Her primary areas of interest are knee injury and the spine but she treats a wide range of injuries in the sedentary patient, weekend warrior, and elite athlete. Jenelle trained as a ‘non-physician expert’ in acute knee injuries with the Acute Knee Injury Clinic in 2014. She also worked extensively with knee osteoarthritis patients for 6 years and now runs a program for individuals with knee osteoarthritis, called knee’d.
Jenelle uses a varied treatment approach involving hands-on therapies, active rehabilitation strategies and patient education. She has completed courses in manual therapy techniques (Mulligan Concept, Graston soft tissue mobilization, osteopathic Muscle Energy), active rehabilitation techniques (McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy; McGill; functional spinal stabilization) and others (Strain-Counterstrain, Neuro-proprioceptive Taping, PowerFlex Taping). She is the only athletic therapist in Canada and one of only 10 health care providers in Alberta who is registered as a Bone Fit™ Trained Clinical Professional, a credential administered by Osteoporosis Canada, to assess/screen and manage people with osteoporosis.

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Optimal Therapies Team - Lee

Lee Mackenzie
Pedorthist and Athletic Therapist

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Science: University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta

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Lee is the owner of Footjax, and his mission is to help keep people active on their feet. Lee believes that an active lifestyle is not only healthy, but fun and fulfilling.
Two of Lee's main tools are custom foot orthotics, and the AlterG Anti-gravity treadmill. For more information about either of these visit www.footjax.com
Lee is a Certified Pedorthist with the Pedorthic Association of Canada and a Certified Athletic Therapist with the Canadian Athletic Therapists Association. He has a bachelor of science from the University of Calgary with a major in biomechanics and a minor in physical anthropology.
Lee has always had a significant preoccupation with sport and physical activity. This background gives Lee excellent insight into the specific demands of most sports and activities. Whether you walk to work, play field sports, run, bike, ski, hike, etc... Lee knows how to help make sure foot and lower body pain will not stand in your way.

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Chiropractors

Optimal Therapies Team - Allison

 Dr. Allison Gross
Chiropractor 

Credentials
  • Doctor of Chiropractic (Summa Cum Laude): Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Toronto
  • Bachelor of Science (Distinction): University of Alberta, Edmonton
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Dr. Gross has been in practice since 1997 and at MRU Wellness Services since 2002. She takes considerable pride in the fact that she provides comprehensive care using a variety of techniques in her practice and does not hesitate to refer amongst her colleagues. While improving spinal mobility and function is her primary focus, she also uses many different muscle therapy techniques such as Kinesio Taping, Trigger Point Release, and Graston Soft Tissue Mobilization to release scar tissue, adhesions, and tightness in muscles. Stretching and strengthening programs are also an important part of her comprehensive care program. She really enjoys the multidisciplinary collaboration amongst practitioners (medical doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, athletic therapists, and acupuncturists) here at Wellness Services.

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Optimal Therapies Team - David

 Dr. David Opresnik
Chiropractor

 Credentials

  • Doctor of Chiropractic (Summa Cum Laude): National College of Chiropractic, Chicago, Illinois
  • Bachelor of Science in Honours Biochemistry: University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario
  • Bachelor of Science (Magna Cum Laude) in Human Biology: National College of Chiropractic

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Dr. Opresnik started practice in January 2000 and has been grateful to have a career helping people every day. He became credentialed in Active Release Techniques in 1998 and has been using soft tissue therapies in combination with joint manipulation ever since. This has aided him in treating a wide variety of conditions: from sports–related injuries such as tendinosis, to the repetitive strain and postural problems that occur with prolonged computer use. Dr. Opresnik also incorporates the use of kinesiotape and instrument assisted Graston techniques into his treatment as clinically warranted.

He especially likes treating shoulder injuries, as the improvements can be rapid and stabilized well with rehabilitative exercises.


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    Massage Therapists

Optimal Therapies Team - Nora

 Nora Kowalsky
Registered Massage Therapist

 Credentials

  • Massage Therapy Certificate:    Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta
  • Bachelor of Science (Cellular and Microbial Biology): University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
     

More Information
Nora graduated in 2001 from the Massage Therapy certificate program at Mount Royal University, and has enjoyed a career of easing peoples’ stress, aches and pains since then.
She brings to massage therapy a love of the biological sciences, especially of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. She states that the intricacies of our musculature, joints and ligaments, and the network of fascia that holds us together continually amazes her. Massage therapy is such a wonderful tool for easing the tight muscles, stiff joints and ligaments, and fascial restrictions that plague us all from time to time.
In massage therapy, her main focus is deep tissue massage, using traditional Swedish massage techniques, trigger point therapy, sports massage techniques and passive stretching.


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Optimal Therapies Team - Jo-Ella

 Jo-Ella Kaminski
Registered Massage Therapist

Credentials

  • Massage Therapy Certificate: Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta

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Jo-Ella has been in practice since 2008 and at MRU since the fall of 2011. Jo-Ella has worked with clients of all ages from children to seniors. Jo-Ella enjoys the challenge of treating different conditions, from the stressed office worker, to the injured athlete to pre and post-operative clients. After having personal experience in receiving massage during and after four pregnancies, Jo-Ella was trained formally in prenatal massage and enjoys passing that experience and knowledge on to other moms-to-be. Jo-Ella completed training in Thai Mat Massage in December of 2015. A “homework” regime of stretching and strengthening exercises are a very important part of her treatment protocol.


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Optimal Therapies Team - Jennifer

 Jennifer Garvin
Registered Massage Therapist

Credentials

  • Massage Therapy Certificate: Okanagan Valley College, Vernon, British Columbia
  • Bachelor of Science: University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario

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Jennifer is a graduate of the Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy in Vernon, BC. She also has her BSc. in Chemistry, Environmental Science and Geology from The University of Western Ontario. She has been practicing Massage Therapy since 1996. Jennifer decided to pursue a career in Massage Therapy because it combines her 2 loves - Arts & Sciences. Jennifer encourages all her clients to be active participants in their healing process. As a practitioner she seeks to bring balance and harmony to mind, body and spirit through her use of a variety of techniques. She regularly uses Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports, Therapeutic Exercise, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Myofascial Release and Neuromuscular Therapy techniques to unwind the tissues of the body to help her patients achieve their therapeutic goals. She loves working at Optimal Therapies as it allows her to integrate her care with the care of the other practitioners to help her patients. She prides herself on staying on top of current research and techniques and strives to think 'outside the box' to create a unique treatment plan for each of her patients. As a mother of 5 kids, she is fantastic at organizing, being creative and understanding that we are never too busy to take care of ourselves.

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Matthew Thomson
Registered Massage Therapist

Credentials

  • Massage Therapy Certificate: Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta

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Matthew is a graduate of Mount Royal University (2012) and a member of the National Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC).
Specializing in a therapeutic and deep tissue focus massage style, Matthew lives for the mountains. Active in the ski community, he regularly volunteers to help injured or disabled skiers through his involvement with the Canadian Ski Patrol (CSP) Ogopogo Zone, and is a member of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS) and the Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA).
Passionate about music, but is also is a handyman who loves the challenge of fixing, building and tinkering with things. In his free time he can be found cross-country skiing, hiking and bike riding.

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Jaida Green Barber

Registered Massage Therapist

Credentials
Coming soon.

 

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 Occupational Therapist

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Daniel Kim
Occupational Therapist

Credentials
Coming soon.


 


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Physiotherapists

Optimal Therapies Team - Melanie

Melanie Jurewicz
Physiotherapist

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy: Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Certified by the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute - CAFCI
  • Member of Dry Needling Roster Of Physiotherapy Alberta
  • Studies in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Saskatchewan

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Melanie has been practicing physiotherapy since 2000 and has been working at MRU since 2009. She is passionate about lifelong learning and improvement both at a professional and personal level. She enjoys taking courses and has completed her certificate in manual therapy and acupuncture, pain care yoga training, as well as countless post graduate physiotherapy and yoga courses and workshops. She believes in a holistic approach when treating clients. She understands the importance of listening to her clients as well as looking at all aspects of the person she is working with: body, breath and mind. Melanie finds joy in her work, specifically interacting and learning from all her clients.

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Optimal Therapies Team - Heric

Heric Lopes
Physiotherapist

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Biological Sciences: University of São Paulo – São Paulo - Brazil
  • Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy: UNINOVE – São Paulo - Brazil
  • Certified by the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute - CAFCI
  • Member of Dry Needling Roster Of Physiotherapy Alberta
  • Intramuscular Stimulation - IMS
  • Golkavi Transverse Technique - GTT

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Heric is originally from São Paulo, Brazil. He graduated from the University of São Paulo (USP) with a Bachelor of Biological Sciences (BSc) in 2003 and Centro Universitário Nove de Julho (UNINOVE) with a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy (BScPT) in 2004. In Brazil, he started his practice with Team Handball athletes, a sport which he has played professionally and reached the International level with the National Team. He moved to Calgary in 2005 and became licensed in Canada in 2006.
He is one of the senior Physiotherapists at Optimal Therapy and has been part of the Wellness Services team since the summer of 2010, working along with doctors, nurses, chiropractors and massage therapists. Heric enjoys supervising the Athletic Therapy students during their clinical placements at Optimal Therapy.
He has over 10 years of experience treating musculoskeletal disorders and sports related injuries with expertise in Functional Dry Needling (IMS), Manual Therapy, Myofascial Release Techniques, Acupuncture (CAFCI), Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and Exercise Therapy.
Using an evidence-based approach and education to demystify beliefs and concerns, he guides the patients throughout the therapy, empowering them to manage their problems. He is passionate about soccer and enjoys travelling with his wife and daughter to sunny and warm beaches.

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Optimal Therapies Team - Heather

Heather Haywood-Jirka
Physiotherapist
 

Credentials

  • Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy (Honours): Queen's University, Kingston
  • Member of Spinal Manipulation Roster Of Physiotherapy Alberta

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Heather started working at Mount Royal University in 2011. She has over 20 years of Physical Therapy experience. After graduating from Physical Therapy at Queen’s University in 1995, she spent 6 years practicing in a variety of settings in the United States before returning to her hometown of Calgary. Her diverse specialties include treatment of sports injuries, whiplash, chronic pain, frozen shoulder, headaches, spine disorders, gait and balance disturbances and vestibular dysfunction. She is a member of the Spinal Manipulation Roster of Physiotherapy Alberta. In addition to her work at MRU, Heather also has a mobile Physical Therapy practice to treat seniors in the community.
Her comprehensive continuing education courses in manual therapy have included Craniosacral therapy, joint mobilization and manipulation, and vestibular rehabilitation. She has also completed numerous courses in core stability and sport-specific training for young athletes. Her approach to Physical Therapy is very hands-on and individualized, with an emphasis on manual therapy, patient education and exercise instruction. She has spent many years supervising practicum students and enjoys the opportunity to share her knowledge and experience. She strives to maintain an active lifestyle for herself through participation in a variety of sports and promotes healthy activities for her patients.

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Optimal Therapies Team - Laura

Laura Loturco
Physiotherapist

 

More Information
Coming Soon.

 

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Administration

Optimal Therapies Team - Francesca

Francesca Simon
Wellness Services Administrator
Optimal Therapy and Health Services

Credentials

  • B.Ed. (Phys Ed)
  • M.A (Exercise Physiology)
  • C.R.M. (Canadian Risk Management)

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Francesca believes in promoting holistic wellness by offering clients options for health and healing that include complimentary and alternative medicines. Her interests centre on traditional medicine wheel teachings of the elders which promote balance between the spiritual, emotional, physical and mental aspects of the person.


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Optimal Therapies Team - Francoise

Francoise Braz

Wellness Accounts Clerk

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Francoise was born and raised in Brazil, moving to Canada in 2004. She left a brief career in Law and came to find a new passion in the administrative field, more specifically in accounting. Francoise joined Optimal Therapy in 2007 as a casual employee and proudly became the Lead Administrative Assistant in 2012. She takes pride in providing a welcoming clinic environment and focusing on customer service, and is looking forward to the challenge of a leadership role.
As a lifestyle, she believes in balance, not extremes - eating healthy but also enjoying good food guilt-free, exercising but also relaxing with family and friends, a great book or movie.

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Staff Photo

Maria Vaandering
Receptionist 

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Maria is currently working towards several outdoor leadership certifications in the hopes of pursuing a career in the ecotourism industry. She started working at Optimal Therapies in June of 2012. She enjoys working here and loves the new challenges that arise on a day-to-day basis - after working in marketing research for almost 10 years it was a welcome change. In her spare time she enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, meeting new people, and spending time with friends and family.

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