Barbara’s story is one I never grow tired of. The 5-Step Functional Approach (viewable in the ‘For PT’S section of our andoaston.comwebsite) I used to help Barbara was intended to NOT miss any of the factors involved in her pain and functional loss, and was actually developed for patients like her. We are all very happy for Barbara. I know she will continue to be an inspirational advocate of Physical Therapy and the Wellness knowledge she has gained for many years to come.

Dr. Art Ando
Comprehensive Physical Therapist

My life started to improve the moment I was referred to the Ando and Aston Physical Wellness Therapy in Anaheim Hills.

I’m a 59 yr. old dance teacher, yoga practitioner and ballet student, working around or refusing to give in to chronic pain. I have suffered low back pain for 19 years and, these last 4 months, such debilitating knee pain that I had to give up yoga altogether.

I found an orthopedic physician who works with dancers, Dr. Chris Koutures using the internet. Luckily for me he referred me to Dr. Art Ando, Physical Therapist. Before the first session was over, I had complete confidence in his ability to assess my entire physical nature and root out the sources of not just the knee pain, but chronic tightness and imbalances I had developed over my lifetime, Dr. Ando, Dr. James Sposa and the entire staff were able to educate and encourage me to move with better awareness of habitual patterns contributing to chronic problems. They took into account the shoes I wear, the way I walk, sleep, sit and warm-up and stretch for dance. Many things needed changing for better alignment and a more stable pelvis.

These last 5 weeks I have made tremendous improvements. My knee pain is gone. My spine is straight for the first time in decades. The relentless tightness in the stabilizing muscles throughout my low back, pelvis and front of the thighs is slowly letting go. I could not have achieved this without the persistent guidance of Dr. Ando and staff. Thanks to them I can move ahead with my fall teaching schedule in better condition and with invaluable information to teach my students.

Sincerely, Barbara Macurda

I am glad that I was referred to Dr. Art Ando who treated me for immediate relief of my longstanding severe back pain. My physical therapy treatment not only has been an effective option for this episode of pain, but has also instructed me on maintaining good health going forward. My sincere thanks to the knowledgeable and well-trained staff at COASTherapy.


Dear Fellow Pain Sufferers,

I am happy to share my experiences at Ando and Aston Physical Wellness Therapy in hopes that other pain sufferers will find the incredible relief that I have. I have suffered with back, neck, shoulder, and hip and pelvic pain for 25 years. I have Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and more. Over the years I have taken many measures to improve my condition including surgery, chiropractic care, massage therapy, physical therapy, yoga, exercise, and pain medications. These brought me some relief but I still lived in constant pain. Besides not finding any real solutions, I often felt misunderstood, invalidated, and even dismissed by doctors who treated me simply because they could not help me. I had almost given up and resigned myself to a life of pain and physical mediocrity when I was referred to Ando and Aston.

Even at my first visit it was obvious that the doctors here were different. They listen, but they also ask questions and are genuinely committed to thoroughly understanding a patient’s situation. They treated me like a whole person, not just a case. Because the practice offers a variety of services with doctors specializing in different areas they were able to address all of my pain issues (which is such a relief to someone who deals with multiple medical issues!). Many chronic pain sufferers deal with years of built up issues and it takes a skilled doctor to uncover the layers and address each issue successfully. The doctors and Ando and Aston are the only ones, in all my years of searching, who understand this and practice it.

One of the most incredible traits of the practice that I have noticed is that the doctors communicate with each other regarding a patient’s progress. Instead of having to collect my records and restate my problem over and over as I move from one doctor’s office to the next, I simply go to my treatments and in between they discuss my situation and collaborate on how to best help me. It has been amazing!

If you live in pain, then you know how comforting and affirming it is to find a doctor who truly understands, cares, and can offer solutions. So far, I have been treated by five doctors at Ando and Aston Physical Wellness Therapy and each one has done just that. I am living a normal life again in much less pain and with significant improvement with each of my medical problems. It is still early in my treatment and I expect to see a lot more progress. They have given me my life back! And, as a single mother of two young girls, this means everything to me. I can’t thank them enough.


Victoria Himes
Brea, CA age 42

Over the past years I have been struggling with severe shoulder and neck pain along with nerve issues due to a disorder called thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). I have had two invasive surgeries that have brought no relief what so ever from the pain. I have also gone to countless physical therapy offices looking for an answer.

When I showed up here I will admit I was very skeptical and defensive because most places seem to leave me in more pain. The staff here was very friendly. I was given a brief tour of the gym area which was clean and well spaced out. I hate being right on top of someone else while they are working out.

Dr. Ando was awesome. For the first time I have finally met someone who knew what TOS was and had a game plan to help me start feeling better. I liked the fact that I wasn’t just passed along to a student who doesn’t have the years of experience as Dr. Ando. Most of the exercises were different then the other places I have previously had physical therapy at. The hands on aspect was absolutely amazing. It’s a great feeling when someone can pin point your pain and know exactly how far to take it, and to stop before they get there.

I am definitely not cured, but I didn’t come here expecting that. I was looking for someone who could give me some answers and home exercises that will continue to help aide in my recovery. I am hopeful that with the tools I learned here I will continue to improve every day.

Nicole U
Bellflower, CA

If you are in need of physical therapy, you must know that not all physical therapy centers are equal and not all physical therapist are the same. I’ve been to 4 different physical therapy facilities in the last 10 years for my shoulder and heels and this is the facility that has helped me the most.

What sets this center apart from the rest is that they don’t just tell you to exercise on your own. They incorporate manual and soft tissue manipulations that, in my view, are vital to your recovery. Unfortunately due to recent changes in reimbursement structure with Blue Cross of CA, A&A has had to modify its treatment plans and strategies as well.

My first impression about this facility was the professionalism displayed by all the staff members. Jenny and Melissa, the front office administrators, are the most efficient FOA’s I’ve ever met. They are quick to return your call and will make sure your questions (about insurance and such) are answered.

I initially visited the center for neck and shoulder problem in May 2009. After 2 months of therapy, Dr. James Sposa, who holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree, was the one who recognized my shoulder had a bigger problem than what I was being treated for and suggested I see an orthopedic surgeon. He was absolutely right! I had calcification, rotator cuff tear, and impingement, basically anything that could go wrong went wrong!

I had my surgery with Dr. Derek Dee a few months ago and have been back to the center for my PT. In additional to Dr. Sposa, I’d also like to give kudos to EVERYONE at the center. They are an awesome bunch of people. Dr. Art Ando, Gary, and Char are also among the best Physical Therapists you’ll ever find. Gary has been treating my heels for the last 3 months and I really appreciate his patience with my problematic heels. And Char is my BTFF. I love working with Char. Whether it is my shoulder, neck, or heels, she does them all. She revises her treatment constantly based on your progress and teaches you new exercises to do at home.

Kathleen and Ryan are awesome PT Aides! They really pay attention to you when you’re doing your exercises to make sure you’re doing them correctly. And Ingrid (who also holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree) is the BEST PT Intern. Sometimes I have hesitation working with a student intern, but not Ingrid, she can really hold her own. I’ve no doubt she will do very well once she finishes her internship and starts her career as a Physical Therapist.

Thank you so much, COASTherapy, for the great care and service you provide!

Wendy C.
Anaheim Hills, CA

After treatment at COASTherapy, I’ll never again believe anybody who tells me I have to live with the aches and pains of growing old.

I first sought treatment at COASTherapy when my shoulder became so painful I couldn’t lie down or sleep through the night. In 5 sessions, their team fixed that problem plus the neck aches that had bothered me off and on for years. I then asked these miracle therapists if there was anything that could be done about the leg aches and muscle cramps, lower back pain and limp, that I had been coping with since a total hip replacement seven years ago. Yes, they could and did.

I’ve put off visiting my daughter in New York ever since she moved into a 5-story walk-up three years ago (even sports events were more than I could handle) but I now look forward to going back and seeing her apartment and doing the town.

Thank you, COASTherapy for rejuvenating me!

Connie Underhill, age 67

Why do I refer patients to COASTherapy? Quite simply, I know they will receive a comprehensive and thoughtful evaluation followed by an appropriately challenging rehabilitation program. COASTherapy does not just focus on the local problem- they integrate the whole body in designing their therapeutic approach. Send them a knee issue, and they will look at the entire chain from the spine down to the toes- and that’s why their patients do well not just with the immediate problem, but also with increased function and less injury risk years down the road. They are not afraid of more complex cases; in fact, they seem to thrive on the more difficult presentations. They also are wonderful communicators- with patients, families, and other health care professionals- I continually learn from their superb skills, and continually watch my patients improve in strength, function, and overall health.

Chris Koutures, MD, FAAP
Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Physician
Medical Team Physician, Cal State Fullerton,
Orange Lutheran, Irvine, and Northwood High Schools
Click on the link below to get more information on Dr. Koutures.

Life is an adventure, sometimes you go down a road that you know isn’t the road you should have taken, but there is no off ramp for you. This is where I have been and am so grateful to be back on the correct road for me.

I have a history of back issues, a surgery and absolutely love being busy and involved in every area of life. Dr. Art Ando, Physical Therapist and his amazing staff through the years have taught me about how to heal and maintain my body so that I can do the things (maybe differently than I used to do them) but enabled me to keep my life active and satisfying.

When I first came to Ando and Aston it was after a back surgery, and I had given up being able to live what I call a normal life. They patiently helped me to put my life back together through physical therapy and then they opened their Pilates studio. Their staff is so well trained, so compassionate and knowledgeable and they enabled me to gradually get back into sports I love and to be able to move without fear. This was over ten years ago and I have continued working in their studio to keep myself strong and flexible to enable me to live an active life.

About 7 months ago I had a wake up call and had a big set back and erroneously due to forgetting that I was worth the financial and physical commitment, I decided I was just not going to be able to continue the commitment with myself and COASTherapy. I made this decision due to insurance changes and my pain level and was not thinking it through for the long run. Thanks to a recent visit to my 2nd opinion Orthopedic Surgeon, he suggested I get back to Ando and Aston, and give it 4 to 6 weeks of intense work. This was about 5 weeks ago and since then have seen Art for physical therapy, seen their Guided Imagery specialist to help me with issues that were blocking my healing and have returned to Pilates on a weekly basis. My improvement seems like a miracle to me, but I think it is a combination of several things. One, the professional and caring way they have treated me, the help with the mental issues of my injury and the skilled care of my Pilates instructor have guided me to desire and attempt to get stronger and to be wiser in allowing myself to make myself important enough to take the time and needed finances to allow me to live a fuller and more active life.

I am so glad I am back on track, and in the care of such a special group of people that really care about me and the quality of my life. Thank you Art and staff.

Linda Ashleigh

I came into Ando and Aston because my doctor recommended I try it to address stress incontinence. I use to get up 2-3 times a night to use the bathroom and wasn’t sleeping through the night. I was always tired in the morning. It was embarrassing because any where I went out in public I had to know where all the bathrooms were at. It wasn’t horrible, it’s not like I had to wear Depends but I am still young and want control. It got to the point where I was nervous about walking through a large parking lot when I had a cold because I was afraid I would loss control of my bladder. So I went and asked my doctor if there were any options. She told me I could do biofeedback or surgery. When I asked if there was anything less invasive, she recommended I try a new treatment she had seen her patients have success with in physical therapy. I immediately saw a difference; I was able to get through the day without any problems. I sneezed the other day and braced like physical therapist trained me to do and was successful. I like that the physical therapist at Ando and Aston didn’t just treat my problem by addressed my whole body. They addressed multiple factors that affected my condition that benefited my well being. It didn’t feel like they were treating my problem and ignoring everything else. I appreciate that. As I grow older, I can’t imagine what would have happened if I continued to get weaker and these problems were unresolved.

Joy B.

Twenty-four years ago I was brutally assaulted. The violent blows caused permanent damage to my jaws, head, neck, back, and arms. I experienced unrelenting pain all over my body, every day, every hour. During the next five years I underwent three jaw surgeries to repair damage. Regardless, I still could not open my mouth more than two fingers wide. I experienced incessant blinding headaches, which landed me in emergency rooms countless times. Seeing a dentist, even for cleanings, was torture, landing me in bed for days.

In addition, my head movements were terribly compromised. In order to look up I couldn’t merely tilt my head. That task required the skills of a contortionist. I had to tip my head to one side and twist it just right in order to do even simple tasks such as finding items on grocery shelves. I even had to compensate in order to drive a car, using side mirrors instead of looking over my shoulder, and making thousands of right hand turns, instead of crossing traffic, just to keep everyone safe.

My disabilities quickly forced a social dilemma as well. I dreaded having to chat with someone taller than me. Having to look up caused excruciating pains in my neck and shoulders. It wasn’t just standing face to face with someone. Even sitting down for a meal, and having to turn to the person seated next to me, was nearly impossible. I couldn’t even pass food platters around, as my arms had little strength and I could only raise one arm at a time. I felt like the Tin Man, caught out in the rain.

It seemed that every social situation caused me fear of the unexpected. I learned tricks over the years, which made me appear to function normally, but it was only a mirage. If I was sitting and someone approached, I’d stand as well. Otherwise, I’d be glaring somewhere around their navel instead of their face. Since my head couldn’t turn, I learned to turn my entire body one way or the other, especially when standing in a group. I’d take several steps back, which made it much easier to give eye contact whenever someone was taller than me, which was the majority.

Over these twenty-four years I sought out many modalities of treatment. I tried Biofeedback, physical therapy, chiropractors, water therapy, medications, and numerous other means of healing. It was always like a rubber band. I’d move forward, then back, forward and back, over and over countless times.

Then, in February of this year I found COASTherapy. That first day I walked into their office I had no idea how my whole world was about to turn right side up. Gary Aston PT, one of the clinic owners, did a thorough and methodical evaluation and came up with a treatment plan. Not a ‘pat’ plan, but one specific to my needs. Their expertise allowed them to diagnose my illusive problems, which had evaded other healers. I have yet to meet any other Physical Therapy group with such fine tuned understanding of the muscles, nerves, and structure and function of the human body. To COASTherapy their diagnosis just made sound sense. I very quickly agreed.

After the first two sessions, I was already able to move my head—and not just a little. I could actually look up and down, and even glance over my shoulder, left and right. Even my jaws were working better, and I could finally open my mouth wide enough to get much needed dental work done.

In the past, I often got some relief from treatments, but sadly the following day muscles would clamp down tight, and my body would grow stiff all over again. But with COASTherapy’s expertise, my body’s response was drastically different. I have to tell you how amazing it was once I realized I could move my head every single day, and my pain was beginning to fade. I openly cried. I cried not only for joy, but also for my loss. My youngest daughters were two and four years old at the time of my injury; too young to remember I once carried them in my arms, or pushed them high on a swing. They’re grown women now, but they, too, cried when they saw how well I could move. We all suffered loss. My injuries had caused such excruciating pain that I couldn’t always be there for my children when they needed a mother.

COASTherapy have indeed given me a precious gift—a gift of life filled with new possibilities. More than 8,000 sunsets have come and gone during this long dark journey I’ve trekked. All these years in the waiting and I can finally gaze up at the night sky to thank my lucky stars. After all, I owe COASTherapy the moon.

Jan C.

Having experienced back pain for ears, I went to an orthopedic specialist who recommended COASTherapy. My doctor told me, “Do everything they tell you, and you won’t see my knife.” He was so right! After successfully completing a therapy and exercise treatment program of several months duration, I have continued to work out in the Wellness side of the clinic. Under the guidance of their highly qualified instructors I enjoy using the Pilates equipment as well as the participating in the mat classes. As a result of the Physical Wellness Therapy I have heightened my body awareness, and have learned how to self-manage any day to day discomfort from activities such as gardening or lifting. I highly recommend COASTherapy to anyone faced with serious pain.

Mary Jane S.

My experience with COASTherapy was very rewarding. My Physical Therapist, Dr. James Sposa, was very professional and compassionate. He listened, encouraged, and explained what had happened to me. I was then convinced as a patient that all the ingredients were there for my success. The staff and front office were all wonderful and I would not hesitate for one moment to refer my family and friends to the team at COASTherapy. In fact I would be proud to recommend them. Thank you to all of you.

Verdell F.

At the suggestion of a pain center in L.A., I searched for a physical therapy facility that also used Pilates as part of treatment. I was a year out from undergoing major surgery to correct hand weakness and arm pain from thoracic outlet syndrome, and was still dealing with problems from previous cervical disk herniation and rotator cuff tear. My hand was still weaker than normal, and stiffness and pain in my arm and shoulder and upper back continued to disturb me. Art Ando’s initial thorough evaluation made me confident that I had found the right physical therapist, and all of his associates and staff reinforced that confidence at every visit. Art took the care to help me relearn how to sit, stand, and walk, as well as to learn techniques of self-care that I will apply the rest of my life. His manual physical therapy approach was just what I needed at this point in my treatment. I have been encouraged to raise my own expectations for my eventual recovery of function, and my improvement continues each month. The Pilates Wellness staff have also taken my particular needs into account at every session, and I am learning to use their techniques to correct my posture and movements in all my daily activities. I am lucky that I discovered this unique physical therapy practice.

Martin Carr, M.D.

I had quite a few problems with my back, shoulder, and hips. Epidurals didn’t help the pain, my excessive weight didn’t help either. Only after I started physical therapy at COASTherapy did I begin the long road to health. After getting a gastric by-pass to help with the weight problem, I returned to the Pilates exercise as a Wellness client, and continue to improve in my body awareness, core strength and overall well-being. I loved my experience as a physical therapy patient as well as a Wellness client at COASTherapy.

Fran O.

Dear Art,

I am writing to let you know that I am greatly appreciative of the efforts you and your staff have made for me while I have been in physical therapy at your facility in Anaheim Hills. I entered PT at the recommendation of my M.D. as the result of severe lower back and hip pain from an injury I sustained earlier in the year. I have found the treatments your facility has provided to be extremely beneficial. I have been educated during my treatments in regard to the various inner workings of the human body, in order to help me understand what I can expect as my condition improves. This has helped me to follow the instructions for home exercise as well, which has also proven to be very helpful.

The Staff at COASTherapy are pleasant, courteous and helpful. They also demonstrate genuine concern for the clients, which has been very obvious at each of my 3 times per week visits. Your facility is clean and bright, and has easy parking arrangements, with a short walk to the entrance, that I truly appreciated when I was in such great pain!

I would highly recommend your services to anyone in the future, and I told my doctor I am very happy that he recommended you to me.

Best Regards,
Sharon A. Sheppard