Do you ever find yourself, when you’re with a patient, going through exercises without fully understanding why? Or, do your clients hit plateaus in their progress that feel impossible to break through? If you’ve ever struggled with one of these scenarios, you could benefit from learning about Applied Functional Science (AFS), and how its tenets help physical therapists effectively observe, diagnose, and treat injuries.  

In this blog, we outline how Applied Functional Science can change your physical therapy practice for the better.  

What Is Applied Functional Science?

Applied Functional Science focuses on how the body actually moves, rather than how professionals think the body should move in theory. Developed by Dr. Gary Gray and Dr. David Tiberio at the Gray Institute®, it focuses on practical movements that the body makes in real life.  

For example, when demonstrating a lunge, it’s common practice to have the knee aligned with the second toe. Many professionals consider this position to be good form. But the truths of Applied Functional Science tell us that when people lunge in real life, whether they’re reaching to pick up their child, catch a glass they just accidentally knocked off the counter, or exercise, the knee is rarely over the second toe.  

Physical therapy dogma sometimes ignores the truths of how the body works and holds people back from their true potential. 

What Makes Applied Functional Science Different? 

Applied Functional Science considers three fields of science to inform its principles:  

  • Physics: Understanding how the human body moves in space 
  • Biology: Understanding the human body 
  • Behavioral science: Understanding the drivers that affect the body and how it moves 

As a physical therapist, AFS challenges and empowers you to harness these three disciplines and apply them to your practice. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the human body, improving the decisions you make, the exercises you perform, and the outcomes you anticipate. Gone are the days of assigning exercises because it’s “just what you learned” in school.  

Learn Applied Functional Science at Gray Institute 

At Gray Institute, we’re proud to lead the physical therapy field with real-world, practical education opportunities. One of our most popular, fundamental courses is the Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS). With CAFS, you’ll acquire the knowledge and skills you need to create treatment plans based on your patients’ individual abilities and goals.  

You’ll be able to: 

  • Stop settling for treatment plans that approach every case in the same way 
  • Develop individualized plans that consider the truths of the human body and how it moves 
  • Identify barriers and push through plateaus  
  • Solve challenges you may encounter in different treatment scenarios 

CAFS is an ideal course for movement science professionals with a drive to understand the human body, a growth mindset, and high standards for excellent results. Not only will you be more equipped to create personalized solutions that go beyond the traditional physical therapy education, but you’ll also have a strong foundation for growth at Gray Institute.  

Our students aren’t just a number to us — when you enroll in a Gray Institute course, you become part of our extended family. We’ve trained professionals across the globe, and they’re dedicated to providing excellent physical therapy treatment and supporting one another along the way. Even better, this course is CEU approved. 

RELATED: Podcast: What Is Applied Functional Science®? By Dr. Gary Gray 

Keep Growing With Gray Institute 

For over 40 years, Gray Institute has led the field of physical therapy with its innovative, human-centered approach. If you want to learn more about Applied Functional Science or to see if CAFS is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out by filling out our simple online form. We look forward to hearing from you!