About ActiveCare PT:

  • Our therapists are licensed in New York State and active members in the American Physical Therapy Association. We have advanced training in joint mobilization and myofascial release techniques.
  • We are dedicated practitioners with a passion for the profession and a comprehensive, holistic approach to treatment and healing. We treat each patient as an individual and treat the whole person, with a plan of care designed to meet the patient’s set goals for health, functionality and a return to work, tasks and activities. We network with a team of physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists in order to provide guidance to other modalities that may be effective in the patients’ care.
  • Physical Therapist and owner Karena Wu is a graduate of the Program in Physical Therapy at Columbia University and is affiliated with several healthcare organizations in New York City. She is certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Kinesio Taping Practitioner and Pilates Instructor, and uses SpiderTech Taping.
  • ActiveCare is primarily an out-of-network facility. We accept all insurance with out-of-network benefits and file for most major insurance plans. We work with all prospective patients to create workable payment plans regardless of insurance coverage.
  • ActiveCare accepts Medicare, No-Fault and Workers’ Compensation patients depending on schedule availability.
  • ActiveCare’s administrators provide seamless and efficient concierge-style client service to all of our patients. And the whole ActiveCare team makes sure your time with us is a beneficial, productive and enjoyable experience.

Arthritis, In the Kitchen?

The restaurant industry is a tough business.  You see the desire to get into high end restaurants, the contacts you need to get a reservation, that dreamy look when a customer has tasted something amazing and then the praise and acclaim the chef gets. ‘That was amazing! How did you do that? The flavors were incredible!’ Maybe the chef has been on TV or has a book deal in the works. You want to be that chef, don’t you? by Karena Wu

Well, those little ‘tastes’ of working in a fantastic restaurant and the celebrity status chefs get is definitely enticing. But it comes as a cost. And that cost is the long hours standing, bending forward, the intense heat and the criticism when you mess up at your station. Once you’ve gone through the school and become a chef, this is the life. You do it every day. It is normal for you and it is part of the job.  You do it with a normal working body. Imagine how this might feel with a disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis?


Chef Seamus Mullen of NYC’s Tertulia and El Colmado is known as the chef with RA.  Seamus became a patient of mine a few years ago. His course started in his left hip with excruciating pain and a visit to the emergency room.  Multiple tests and doctor visits later, it was confirmed that he had RA. Our visits together focused on reducing his inflammation, restoring his joint immobility, reducing soft tissue restrictions while trying to maintain strength and flexibility without further irritating his already irritated joints. His biggest contributing factor: working in a hot kitchen, under stressful conditions that added more joint compression, load and irritation.  Not the ideal working condition for someone with RA.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include joint stiffness, swelling and pain.  The joints become inflamed during periods of exacerbation. The area gets ‘hot’, with increased skin temperature, significant swelling, and redness. The joint is ‘angry’. Typically, symmetrical distribution of joint irritation is present, meaning the same joint on both sides of the body. Also, hands are very commonly affected which means stirring, chopping, plating, all the work needed to create those magical dishes become difficult.


Other symptoms involve feelings similar to the flu: malaise, fatigue, and muscle aches. For moderate to severe RA, nodules can appear under the skin as well as the involvement of major organs like the lungs, heart and eyes.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis focuses on reducing inflammation and slowing or stopping the progression of the disease. Treatment includes medications, occupational or physical therapy, and regular exercise. Medications help reduce inflammation and typically work best in combination. They can include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, steroids, biologic agents and pain killers. Physical and occupational therapy utilize manual therapies, exercises and modalities that reduce pain and inflammation and restore function. Other exercises focus on isolated joint strengthening, endurance and stability training as well as balance and proprioceptive activities. Exercises that increase flexibility and maintain strength around a joint reduce joint irritation by increasing space in the joint, reducing compression and allowing for tissue healing.

As Seamus has shown us, there are many food products that reduce inflammation. His journey in life after being diagnosed with RA lead to the creation of his book, Hero Food, which focuses on the healing power of foods. These are easily included in your diet and can make for very tasty dishes that also serve to help heal the body.

Arthritis affects the young and the old and there are many different types. This is only one type that we are discussing here. This disease did not hold Chef Seamus back.  He turned his journey into a positive experience that helped him personally as well as professionally. In fact, Chef Seamus is our Celebrity Honoree at the 2014 NYC Arthritis Walk. Even with the work requirements in the kitchen, he is still able to spend time helping others with this condition. Participating in group events with a mutual cause is a wonderful way to celebrate people who have been diagnosed with a condition, but continue to live life to its fullest and keep themselves healthy and happy.

2014 5K NYC Walk to Cure Arthritis
Foley Square Park, walking across and back over the Brooklyn Bridge
5K and 3K (3 mile and 1 mile option available)
Saturday, May 17th, 2014.
Registration starts at 8:30am, walk starts at 10:00am

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