Member Spotlight: A Mind-Body Approach to Fall Prevention

BF SIG    October 10, 2022

Imagine if you could help your patient reduce their risk of falling by teaching them to use a simple ABC system prior to them beginning a come-to-standing or walking task. Teaching them how and why to Align, do conscious Breathing, and focus or Center on the activity they are about to do is one of several “mind-body” approaches that may help them prepare mentally and physically for any motor activity

Try it yourself. Take a few moments to become conscious of your posture, slow your breathing down and become present to the moment. Use the moment to visualize yourself coming to standing, with support if necessary. You stop in an erect standing position. Then, before you start to walk, say to yourself, or out loud, “I am tall, strong and confident” as you proceed with the activity. You have just used The ABC system, in combination with visualization and positive self-talk to prepare your mind and body for safer and more efficient functioning.

Here’s a strategy helpful for patients paralyzed with “fear of falling.” I have had success by saying to them, “Yes, the fear is there, but tell it that you are not going to let it control you! You are going to control it!” This, in conjunction with the positive self-talk described above, has seemed to have an empowering effect on how patients progress with their gait and balance activities. The more any of us healthcare workers learn how to integrate mind-body techniques into our work, the safer and more effective our treatments will be, for our patients and ourselves! It can be as easy as ABC!

C. Vicki Gold, PT, MA is a retired physical therapist, currently living in Lenoir, North Carolina. Her 50-plus years in the profession have included work in several academic and multiple clinical settings. She is a former Director of the Physical Therapist Program at LaGuardia Community College in New York City. Ms. Gold’s work is based on her background with Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Alexander and Feldenkrais Techniques. She is a graduate of Sara Meeks, PT Seminars and has studied with Margaret Knott, PT (PNF) and Berta Bobath, PT (NDT) among others.

Vicki is the owner of Thera-Fitness and creator of The ABC System for Mind-Body Fitness and Well-Being. She can be reached at