Interviews

Sayuri Abe-Hiraishi, MS, ATC, LAT, CSCS, PES, CES

How did you become interested in PRI® and when did you attend your first course?

I am very much thankful to have my dear friend Kenny (Kentaro Ishii), whom I professionally “grew up with.” We’ve inspired one another and developed each other ever since we were just a bunch of geeky undergraduate athletic training students. One thing I should mention is, he was extremely good at sensing my likes and dislikes: Anything he told me that I would like (i.e. a book, a person), I actually ended up liking it.

He kept telling me that “Sayuri, you should check out ‘PRI’ – I think you will really like it” and it had been sitting in the back of my mind for a few years until, one day in graduate school, I realized that there might be a link between low back pain and the diaphragm (I saw another friend of mine manually releasing the diaphragm in a patient with LBP, which got me interested and led me to read several articles on it. A light bulb went off – it made perfect sense!).

So it finally clicked – I really should get to this “PRI” thing! It took me a few more years from there to take my actual first PRI course, which I believe was around September, 2012…and that Myokinematic Restoration Home Study course taught by James Anderson completely blew my mind. It challenged my entire belief system and it changed the way how I see a human body. Well, I think you know the rest, just a typical PRI story!

You work as an athletic trainer in the college setting, what are some of the benefits and challenges to implementing PRI with your athletes?

The benefit is that we can often catch someone’s pattern early before it manifests itself in a form of pathology or before the athlete develops a compensation out of it, but the downside is limited time, personnel and resource. It is especially difficult when you are solo, and no one else at your institution practices PRI.

What would you say to people who are considering taking a PRI class or becoming Postural Restoration Trained™?

Two things – “be patient” and “trust the process.” PRI will most likely shake your belief system because you were taught that “the sky is blue” and PRI may teach you “the sky could be green” (just a metaphor). Your first reaction may be a quick, reflexive denial because it sounds new to you, and you may even feel afraid that it could devalue what you know and who you are as a professional – it’s a very natural defense mechanism, indeed.

The good news is, you are not alone! We all have been there and felt that way. You will soon realize that this intellectual challenge is not to threaten you or your educational foundation, but to broaden your perspectives (literally, to the left) as a professional and as a person. So just sit back and enjoy the ride. Let Ron and other fantastic PRI faculty take you through this new clinical journal and allow each PRI course to gradually unfold itself. You should be proud because, without the solid education and experiences you have gained thus far, you won’t be able to appreciate what PRI has to say.

Who have been your mentor(s) in your career?

The people who’ve helped me by pulling me up are Dr. Jack Ransone, David Gish, Jason Karlik, Mary Williams, just to name a few. I also could not have come this far without my friends pushing me, Kenny (Kentaro Ishii), Aki Tajima and Keitaro Abe.

How do you go about mentoring others in your profession?

As a professor at a university, I have a large body of young athletic training students to oversee and my door is always open to anyone who is needing assistance or guidance. I may not give all the answers to them (sometimes I choose not to, and other times I don’t even know it all) but I’m rather here to teach them how to think through an issue because I believe problem-solving is one of the most important professional AND personal skills for anyone to have in life. Through in- and out-of-classroom interactions, I challenge my students to “be open” and “be skeptical” to any new or old concepts...we cannot have too many practitioners with this sort of mindset!

Who have been your mentors within PRI?

Ron, James, Mike, Lori, Jen (Poulin), Jen (Platt)…I can’t even imagine exploring the world of PRI without any of them!

What is the most challenging part about applying PRI in the athletic performance setting?

Maintaining the balance between the two opposites. SNS and PNS, on and off, activation and inhibition, going out there and fighting and coming back in here resting, taking advantage of a pattern yet not to be taken advantage by it. You definitely need both to earn success and stay in the success, but it’s so easy getting stuck in one over the other.

What is your favorite part about teaching PRI over in Japan?

Witnessing and spreading the joy of learning. This may sound weird, but this is a mental picture that I have when I am teaching PRI in Japan: Ron is the Santa Clause and I am delivering Christmas gifts he wrapped up to people in Japan. And here’s the beauty – I get to watch them open their presents! You see them get surprised, excited, smile…wouldn’t it make you feel the same? It’s been truly an honor to be able to share “Ronism” with practitioners in Japan.

I also enjoy the bonds we nurture through the process…again, all of my PRI mentors, Kenny, and the PRC/PRTs in Japan. I love that we are very much focused on sending cohesive messages across the country, across the world. I am blessed to call them my family.

Which PRI course has been the most influential in your development as a professional? 

Postural Respiration in particular was eye-opening, jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, all of the above. I’d never thought of visualizing someone’s airflow and the importance of it till I took that course. This literally added another dimension to my clinical assessment and treatment.

History of Passion

The Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) is built around 30 years of clinical practice associated with recurring successes of specific patient treatment programs. We established reproducible, outcome-based programs based on consistent evidence-based correlations, discovered with patient biomechanical, respiratory, and neurological functional patterns and limitations. My passion for the integrated systems of the body has resulted in an examination and intervention process of the asymmetrical human body called Postural Restoration.