Karen San Andres (Neill), Reg. PT, lovingly founded ellephysio on the premise that a client’s success comes from finding confidence from within. Her welcoming clinic in Oakville recognizes the growing demand for physiotherapy that caters to the unique needs of women.
Since 2005, Karen has been skillfully helping patients get stronger, improve balance, and heal from injury. She enjoys working with women and girls of all ages and abilities, seeing treatment as a partnership with her patients. Karen has helped seniors restore their strength and freedom, pregnant women heal sore hip joints, and preteens improve athletic performance. She is especially interested in activity, exercise, training, and treatment for dancers, rep sport players, marathon runners, and weekend warriors.
In December 2012, the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (CAMPT) awarded Karen with the internationally recognized Fellowship designation. Her six-year journey to Fellowship included being mentored by some of Canada’s leaders in manual (hands-on) therapy. Karen now serves as a mentor to those following the same training path. She has also completed the Discover Physio series of courses, designed to hone physiotherapists’ skills in clinical problem-solving, and is working through an intense training series focused on treating pelvic health concerns for men and women.
Karen holds Bachelor degrees in both Psychology and Life Sciences from Queen’s University and a Masters in Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
The ellephysio clinic truly reflects Karen’s warmth and desire to help and empower others. The space, the team, and the culture are an extension of her personal dedication to treating women and their families in an environment they can feel comfortable in. For Karen, ellephysio is more than a clinic; it’s the realization of a dream, bringing providers and patients together on a journey toward healing and health.
Physiotherapist Jennifer Denys is grateful to be firmly planted at ellephysio – a clinic that shares her passion for helping people while empowering them to contribute to their own healing.
Jen has been a physiotherapist since 2003. She holds a Master of Science (Physiotherapy) from McMaster University and a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from Trinity Western University. She has completed post-graduate advanced training in Manual Therapy (Level 4, Orthopedic Division, Canadian Physiotherapy Association); Contemporary Acupuncture (McMaster University); Diaphragm/Pelvic Floor Piston (Level 2, Julie Wiebe PT); and Certification as a PfilatesTM (Pelvic Floor Pilates) Instructor via Dr. Bruce Crawford.
Jen has been active in dance, fitness, and music since her childhood. Complementing her work at ellephysio, Jen continues to treat elite ballet students at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS). Since 2005, she has been working with the artistic staff, not only to treat injury, but also to prevent injury and optimize the dancers’ potential. This environment of excellence has given Jen a uniquely rich understanding of the human body, which she shares with clients looking for greater physical well-being, no matter what the starting point. She always takes the time to discover the root of a person’s problem and helps her clients make the progress that has otherwise felt elusive.
In 2014, Jen quite organically became the co-creator of the BE CALM protocol and co-author of the document “Reasons to think twice before icing and what to do instead,” along with Rebecca Dietzel, a biochemist and NBS’s nutrition consultant.
Jen continues to dance via classes, improvisation, choreography, and performance. She also sings regularly as part of the musical leadership teams of her church. With her husband and two beautiful stepchildren, she swims, runs, and hikes, and is committed to a whole foods lifestyle.
Registered massage therapist Erin Chaisson enjoys helping others move better, feel better, and live the fullest life possible. She loves teaching people about their bodies so they can achieve quality of life without restriction and pain.
Erin earned an Honours Bachelor of Science at the University of Guelph, then went on to study massage therapy and sports injury therapy at Canadian Therapeutic College. Her background in kinesiology and massage, along with her CanFit Pro certification as a personal trainer, gives her a unique and well rounded perspective when planning and implementing treatment. At ellephysio, she sees herself as the soft tissue expert piece of the rehab puzzle, complementing the work of other practitioners to help clients recover and return to sport, work, and life.
Erin’s massage therapy career has seen her providing therapeutic and relaxation style massage treatments to a variety of clientele, including athletes at all levels, pre- and post-surgical patients, people with temporomandibular joint pain, and those recovering from injury or concussion. She appreciates, lives by, and teaches the “confidence within” motto of ellephysio and is excited by the female focus of the clinic. She loves treating expecting women, as well as teaching new mothers about the power of infant massage.
While lending her talents in a volunteer capacity, Erin has provided massage and sports therapy treatments to gymnasts, volleyball and soccer players, and wrestlers, and she regularly applies her knowledge of sports biomechanics in treatments. Her community outreach includes working with cancer survivors, pregnant women, and in a long-term care facility.
Trained at the Sutherland-Chan School of Massage Therapy, Registered Massage Therapist Rolly Magno offers a variety of techniques and treatments that complement those offered by other practitioners at ellephysio.
Rolly began his working life as a professional engineer. When his employer dissolved his engineering position, he took the opportunity to travel, spending three months in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It was in Thailand that he trained to be a yoga teacher. Upon returning to Canada, Rolly qualified for Second Career financial assistance and pursued massage therapy professionally. He has provided massage therapy to everyone from pregnant women, to those who have suffered a stroke, to cancer patients. He is also a Level 3 practitioner in Indian Head Massage.
One of the reasons Rolly was drawn to health care was his experience as a long-time member of (and volunteer with) the rock climbing community. When he saw people recovering from injury, he wanted to be able to help.
As an engineer, Rolly particularly enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of the work and he finds similar satisfaction in helping patients. The difference now is that he gets to see instant results, with patients feeling the immediate benefits of their massage therapy treatment.
Naturopathic Doctor Tiffany Sahakian Heikkila is extremely passionate about the holistic medicine that she practices and truly believes in finding the underlying root cause to disease. She focuses on all aspects of health while creating a welcoming environment for every member of the family. Tiffany has a special interest in weight loss and nutrition, women’s health issues and pediatric health. Being a mom of two happy and energetic toddlers, Tiffany understands the importance of raising healthy children to ensure a healthy adulthood. While practicing Naturopathic medicine, her husband is an anesthesiologist which allows her to have a unique perspective and acceptance for both Eastern and Western medicine. Tiffany’s extensive range of therapeutic modalities includes nutritional education, weight management, detoxification, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, botanical medicine, homeopathy and lifestyle counseling.
Tiffany is a graduate of the accredited postgraduate program from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to her Naturopathic studies, she received her Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Psychology from McMaster University. This was followed by her Master’s degree in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences from Guelph University. It was during this time that Tiffany realized her passion for Naturopathic medicine and the ability to drastically improve the lives of others using natural therapies. She is a member of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Tiffany is so happy to be a part of the Ellephysio team and available to see all patients, from pediatric to geriatric. She believes in building a strong relationship with her patients and in educating others on the benefits of leading a happy and healthy lifestyle!
Indian Head Massage
The caring and spiritual Melissa Siepmann is the talented person responsible for adding Indian Head Massage to ellephysio’s growing variety of services. Melissa says that when she met the ellephysio team and saw their incredible energy and passion, she just knew she had to work with them.
Indian Head Massage is a relaxation massage that focuses on the head, neck, shoulders, and back. The treatment has therapeutic benefits and relieves general stress and tension. Melissa’s clients boast about her natural instincts, and how she quickly understands what they need during each unique visit. They also point to her compassion, energy, and ability to leave them refreshed and feeling well.
Melissa became interested in healing others in 2011 after her first Reiki session. She was amazed when she felt immediate benefits and jumped quickly into learning how to become a practitioner. By February 2013, she was certified as a Reiki Master. While studying Reiki and other healing arts, she found her true passion – Indian Head Massage. Today she is inspired to share the many gifts of holistic healing with others, whether her clients seek calming relaxation, improved energy and spirit, or relief from aches and pains.
Personal Training & Pilates
Having been through the experience of a dramatic career and lifestyle change, Laurie Brager truly appreciates ellephysio’s “confidence from within” philosophy and understands how important it is to be supported along your journey to success.
After working in business for more than 20 years, Laurie turned her passion for helping others and enthusiasm about health and fitness into a highly rewarding career as a personal trainer. Now in her 50s (and more fit than she has ever been!), Laurie is a trainer with abundant energy and a gentle but challenging motivational style that inspires clients to embrace active lifestyles.
Laurie is certified in Personal Fitness Training, Older Adult (50+) Fitness, and Nutrition and Wellness. Because she is Bone Fit™ trained by Osteoporosis Canada, Laurie is able to provide suitable exercise programs to help women increase bone density and strengthen bones. Through the organization’s “Speaking of Bones” program, she educates others about the disease, with a particular focus on building and maintaining healthy bones through exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle choices.
Laurie creates safe, fun, effective programs customized to clients’ goals and fitness levels. She especially enjoys watching clients gain confidence as they improve their health and wellbeing. ellephysio’s unique female focus – believing in, caring for, and motivating women – inspired Laurie to join its dynamic team of professionals.
Michelle Cheshire’s passion for Pilates allows her to help clients at all ages and stages get the results they need for improved wellness. Her unique approach to movement and the body-mind connection fits nicely with ellephysio’s commitment to providing integrated, holistic services.
Because Pilates exercises can be modified to suit any client, Michelle is able to help people manage their difficulties by correcting alignment and posture, and getting the right muscles working in the right way. She works with precision and patience to help her clients feel better, whether they are recovering from surgery or injury, moving through pregnancy, or seeking improved athletic performance.
Michelle’s enthusiasm for continuous learning is evident in her educational background. Her schooling and career began in South Africa, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in human kinetics and ergonomics. With Pilates training and certification achieved through Body Arts and Science International (BASI), Michelle is proficient in many specialities suited to all client types. Her knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, combined with her understanding of human movement and biomechanics, makes her especially gifted at tailoring workouts and rehabilitation plans to a client’s specific needs. Staff and clients of ellephysio know Michelle to be friendly and positive, with a solid work ethic and highly professional approach.
Michelle is currently enjoying maternity leave after welcoming a baby boy to her family. We look forward to her return later in 2017.
Pilates instructor and former physiotherapist Melanie Woycheshyn brings a multi-disciplinary approach to her Pilates lessons. A former All-Canadian university volleyball player and now a mother of three, Melanie is passionate about Pilates and living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Before joining Ellephysio, Melanie was a patient of ellephysio and benefited from the focused yet integrated expertise each professional brought to her treatment. During her third pregnancy, Melanie was introduced to Pilates and ellephysio’s talented Michelle Cheshire. She was amazed that she could get stronger and more stable with Pilates. Melanie not only had her best pregnancy, but Pilates facilitated both an efficient delivery and postnatal recovery.
Melanie is a graduate of Dalhousie University (BSc, Advanced Major in Psychology) and University of Alberta (MScPT). After graduating, Melanie worked as a physiotherapist at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. After working at Sick Kids and having three kids of her own in four years (no twins!), Melanie became a Mat Certified Pilates instructor from The Loft Studio in Toronto, with a focus in Rehabilitation and Joseph Pilates Classical work.
Melanie remains an athlete at heart. Besides Pilates, weight training, running, yoga, meditation, and tennis, Melanie is a strong advocate for a balanced and healthy diet (including the much needed and occasional stress-relieving chocolate indulgence).
For Lorna Henderson, working at ellephysio means combining her interest in science and the human body with her love of helping people. Her entire career path radiates these common themes of health care and customer service.
Lorna worked for Shoppers Home Health Care/Shoppers Drug Mart for 20 years, always in positions that required superior customer service skills, managing others, and problem solving. As Seating and Mobility Sales Representative, she looked after more than 90 clients and was able to develop long-term relationships to meet their needs. One of her standout accomplishments was creating a custom quoting system for herself, which ended up rolling out to the entire sales force. She later became the Rehab Sales Manager, leading all the reps in South Western Ontario and looking after the most challenging cases, then served as South Western Ontario District Manager, overseeing 14 stores.
Lorna’s education is in physical education and kinesiology, as well as business. She is also the owner of Resurrection Junkie, professionally restoring furniture.
At ellephysio, the team relies on Lorna for everything from taming a wonky computer to changing a faucet. And she does it all with a positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile. She says she feeds off a strong cup of tea and the energy of the people around her and loves being surrounded by clinicians who all have the same goal – to make people better.
Sharon Moore is always pleased to greet you when you arrive at ellephysio. The positive energy that kept her coming to the clinic as a patient for years now inspires her in her role as receptionist.
Before taking on a position at ellephysio, Sharon cultivated a career in sales and customer service. She has managed high profile accounts and looked after wide territories for consumer products (in industries as varied as wellness, nutrition, beauty, and chocolate!) Her employers have always relied on her to build brand awareness, customer relationships, and sales.
For Sharon, ellephysio’s best quality is the therapists’ strong desire to improve the lives of their clients. She works hard every day to support her colleagues and make sure every visitor has a pleasant and rewarding experience.
Debbie Melber brings to ellephysio a unique mix of experience in business administration and health and wellness, positioning her perfectly as a helpful and understanding member of the team. She appreciates the friendly, warm environment of the clinic and is happy to use her own customer service skills and compassion for others to contribute to that atmosphere.
Having spent 18 years in banking, including in several management roles, Debbie draws easily on her experience to keep clinic operations running smoothly. She’s particularly savvy with IT systems and social media. Since 2006, she has been a certified personal trainer, designing and monitoring fitness programs for all ages. This background allows her to understand the effects of hard work on the human body and the positive outcomes of nourishing it.
Debbie’s willingness to help others has been evident throughout her career and volunteer experience. She is driven to have a positive impact on the people she greets each day, as well as in her community.
Admin whiz Susan Harris was once a patient of ellephysio, and benefitted a great deal from Karen San Andres’ professional knowledge and support. As Karen set out to expand her practice and open a new clinic, Susan offered her support and her skills in reception and office administration. Her past experience included several professional and volunteer roles, and she once owned and managed her own business.
After serving with a smile as receptionist for 4 years, Susan moved on to some other pursuits for her professional and personal growth. She remains connected to ellephysio as part-time bookkeeper extraordinaire.