Soaking in mineral-rich geothermal waters at Iron Mountain Hot Springs is a relaxing way spend a day, but for Lauryn Maloney-Gephert of the Neuroplastic Functional Institute and her spine-injured clients, it’s far more than a feel-good experience—Iron Mountain Hot Springs is where profound healing takes place.
Lauryn Maloney-Gephert, founder of the Neuroplastic Functional Institute (NFI), is sharing her vast knowledge of neuroscience and the techniques she developed with physical therapists in the Roaring Fork Valley. The goal is to build an instructor base big enough to meet the needs of area individuals affected by spinal cord injuries and to help them make strides in healing by remapping the brain. Maloney-Gephert will be teaching her water-and-land program at Iron Mountain Hot Springs throughout the month of June.
Most recently, Maloney-Gephert worked with Soren Lindholm, an extreme athlete from Carbondale, who sustained a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down after a skiing accident. “Before I met Lauryn, I had no movement in my legs,” Lindholm said. “We started out working in my home, then moved to Iron Mountain Hot Springs in December. During our daily sessions in the pool, I move in ways that I can imagine, like pretending to run or ride a bike in my mind. Then we do it in real life. We build connections in the pool to build strength, then I can do these movements out of the water.”
Soren’s training is called Neuroplastic Functional Training, which Maloney-Gephert has been developing over the past 41 years. It combines neuroplasticity, the breakthrough science of rewiring the brain for better health; kinesiology, the study of human movement, performance and function; and life education, which addresses the body, soul and spirit of an individual; to help people achieve their goals of a pain-free, lifelong, high level of function for the whole person.
Currently, Maloney-Gephert is the only professional in the valley using this type of training. Recognizing that people with serious impairment are underserved, and often financially challenged, the NFI has started a not-for-profit organization called the Healing Out Loud Institute (HOLI), named for a technique using self-speak to give the brain intention. HOLI’s vision is to share this training with impaired people and equip providers to serve them.
An intensive spinal cord injury aquatic program called CONNECT will take place during June, at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. “Right now, there’s only one Lauryn. The most exciting part of the CONNECT program is her mission to train the trainers—pass on her unique work so that many more people can benefit from it,” Kathy Lindholm, Soren’s mother, said. “Just think how many lives we could help change by supporting this effort.”
HOLI is currently raising money to fund the CONNECT program through its GoFundMe page. It hopes to raise $136,000. To learn more about HOLI and support spine-injured individuals, please visit NFIheals.com.