Ed Lundgren’s first experience with physical therapy was an inauspicious one. Long before he opened his own clinic, he was a physical therapy patient recuperating from a knee operation, under the care of a Fort Lauderdale specialist.
“The physical therapist told me to hold my leg up,” Lundgren recalls. “And she let go, and my leg bounced on the table. So the next day the doctor comes in, unwraps my leg and says, ‘what happened to you? It’s swollen about three times as big.’ He says, ‘I’m going to aspirate it.’ I didn’t know what that word meant at the time. He brought in a big needle and took out the fluid in my knee. I didn’t go back to that physical therapist.”
Despite this negligent introduction to the field, as a practitioner Lundgren has emerged as one of the top physical therapists in Boca Raton, where he has helped patients from all ages and walks of life recover from pain and injury for the past 50 years.
He developed an interest in the profession while enrolled in pre-dentistry at the University of Florida. At the encouragement of a colleague—and after touring UF’s amputee clinic, where he withstood the sight of infected, sutured knees—he switched his major, graduating in 1969 with a B.S. in physical therapy.
The same year, the Broward County resident landed his first job, at the then-fledgling Boca Raton Community Hospital, which had only opened two floors at the time. “I said, sure—it was close to Fort Lauderdale, and why not?” he recalls. Three years later, he joined Boca Raton Orthopedic Group, where he remained for 15 years before opening his own clinic, Physical Therapy of Boca Raton.
At the office of his solo practice, off Northwest Second Avenue near FAU, Lundgren’s patients run a gamut from back pain and sciatica to post-surgical rehab, neurological disorders, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries and other conditions. Many arrive at his office in a depressed emotional state, and Lundgren endeavors to raise their spirits as well as their physical health, and to listen to their problems.
“A lot of times, doctors don’t listen to their patients,” he says. “But I think physical therapists are more compassionate to the patients, and understand their needs more than other professions. A doctor may see them once a week. … We see them two or three times a week, and that makes a difference. I think we’re more kind to the patients.”
Lundgren’s clinic has evolved with the times, integrating modern holistic therapies when appropriate. These include NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques)—a non-invasive method to desensitize allergens through a blend of energy balancing, acupuncture, allopathy and other disciplines—and TensCam, an energy-based, touch-free healing device that works with scalar energy, quartz crystals and “Earth’s resonant frequency.” It may sound woo-woo, but some of Lundgren’s most dramatic success stories have benefited from it.
“We have a paraplegic that’s interesting,” he says. “About 15 years ago he was in a bicycle accident. A truck hit him and paralyzed him from above the waist down. He became independent in a wheelchair; it took him a year. I was treating his parents, and they said they were taking him for acupuncture. I said, ‘Why don’t we try the TensCam?’ Now he has sensation all the way down to his feet, and he’s starting to move his legs. He’s got hip movement. The strangest thing is, he can get a stomachache now, which he never had before—because he has sensation into his stomach.”
This 21st-century approach is a long way from the brutally primitive treatments Lundgren encountered at UF’s amputee clinic more than 50 years ago. Now, he says, “we get people well quicker than we used to, which is nice.”
Whatever the next medical advancement turns out to be, Lundgren may well be around to embrace it: He has two years remaining on his lease, with no retirement plans just yet.
This story is part of the Gold Standards feature from the July/August 2020 issue of Boca magazine. To see more of the Gold Standards feature, click here. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.