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IT'S PERFECT SYNERGY FOR BUSY BOOMERS.

Byline: Diana McKeon Charkalis Lifestyle Editor

After orthopedist James Fox told Megan Mouton to visit him at his Burbank office, the patient, who lives in Studio City, was surprised at what she found when she arrived.

As part of Synergy Performance Health and Fitness Center, Fox sees his patients in office space he shares with physical therapists, personal trainers and a gym. The idea to combine these services in one place occurred to company CEO Howard Rappaport when he started noticing the changing health and fitness needs of baby boomers. There are now locations in Woodland Hills and Valencia as well.

``You won't see a lot of 22-year-old hard bodies running around here,'' said Rappaport, standing in the gym at the Woodland Hills location. ``That's not our clientele. Our demographic is more the 35- to 70-year-old group who have a willingness and ability to take care of themselves. We're not in the business to compete with the big-box health clubs. We're looking at the people who come here in terms of their overall wellness.''

Rappaport says there are four to six physicians at the two largest locations and two at the smaller Valencia space. They have various specialties, including orthopedic surgery and nonoperative sports medicine; the center also has alternative medicine practitioners such as a doctor of Chinese medicine, a chiropractor, acupuncturists and an aesthetician.

According to Rappaport, about 80 percent of the clientele who visit a doctor or physical therapist at Synergy follow up by using a personal trainer after completing physical therapy. Mouton, 52, went to see Fox because of a flare-up of a knee injury from a bike fall in her 20s.

After Fox determined she didn't need surgery, he introduced her to a physical therapist. As her condition improved, she began working with a personal trainer there.

``I was so frustrated. I didn't know what exercises to do for my knees, and I had put on some weight,'' says Mouton, who has lost 20 pounds since she started going to Synergy in October. ``Now I'm very comfortable there and I go several times a week. I feel confident knowing if something goes wrong, there's someone there to help.''

Patrons can join the health club for a monthly charge, plus a $200 initiation fee that covers a mandatory physical assessment. The professional fees (for trainers, Pilates, physiotherapy, etc.) are separate from the gym membership, which runs about $50 per month, Rappaport says.

Fox's daily routine has remained much the same since he moved some of his offices to Synergy. But he says he can do more for his patients now than he could before.

``I'm like the guy who's been going to church or synagogue for 30 years and then finally discovered God,'' he says, explaining that by treating patients exclusively with drugs and surgery, he thinks many physicians are doing their patients a disservice.

``I finally realized we were failing the patient. You can't change genetics, but we can do something about stress reduction, nutrition and exercise. It's not just about giving them a pill.''

For more information about the center, visit www.synergyperformancehealth.com.

Diana McKeon Charkalis, (818) 713-3760

diana.charkalis(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

5 photos

Photo:

(1 -- cover -- color) KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON

How baby boomers can stay active with fewer injuries

Photos.com

(2 -- 3 -- color) Above: Valerie Landon engages in an exercise regimen under the watchful eye of personal trainer Michelle Nakamura at Synergy Performance Health and Fitness Center in Woodland Hills. Right: Dr. James Fox, an orthopedist, talks with patient Leah Wrangler about her knee problem as daughter Mariam Lewenstain looks on.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer

(4 -- color) Barry Shafer performs a cervical mobilization procedure on Allen Moreno at the Woodland Hills center.

(5 -- color) Allison Everett participates in a group class at the fitness center, which offers medical care, physical therapy, fitness training and a gym all in one location.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 15, 2006
Words:652
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