Your Health: Body, mind and soul |

Your Health: Body, mind and soul

A few months ago, Bette Silence couldn’t get out of bed without assistance. Today, with the help of Ingo Zirpins, the new director of rehabilitation for Grass Valley Care Center, Silence can get around with the use of a walker at the care center.

“I feel so much better,” Silence said after a recent physical therapy session with Zirpins. “I’m coming right along. I started with therapy about five times per week, and now it’s down to about twice a week.”

This is good news for Zirpins, who works directly with residents and supervises physical therapists at Grass Valley Care Center and Meadow View Manor, both skilled nursing facilities operated by HorizonWest Healthcare Inc.

“I believe in integrating the body, mind and soul of each patient,” Zirpins said. “Physical therapy is based on movement, and my goal is to get people moving, which is essential for their independence.”

Attitudes and energy levels can be changed for the better by using humor and always taking the time to get to know his patients, he said.

“I like to establish a personal rapport with my patients,” Zirpins said. “As we develop a therapy program, we work on it together.

“It’s not just a plan of what I want. People need to know that we care and that it is important for the therapist and patient to strive for the same goal.”

Zirpins is new to HorizonWest, but he has been in areas related to physical therapy for 18 years. Originally from Germany, Zirpins, 40, came to the United States in 1992 to study massage at the Esalen Institute and shiatsu and acupressure at the Berkeley Acupressure Institute.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and human movement studies at California State University, San Francisco, while maintaining a private massage practice. In 2003, he earned a master’s degree in physical therapy.

After his studies, Zirpins’ interest gravitated toward orthopedic medicine and geriatric rehabilitation.

“I have a respect for my elders,” he said. “I feel my generation has a responsibility to provide a quality of life for them.”

Most of the people Zirpins works with at Grass Valley Care Center require therapy three to five times weekly.

Therapy can include physical exercises and hands-on therapy, which includes joint and soft tissue mobilization.

“My biggest reward is seeing people get better,” Zirpins said.

“Having Ingo on board at both our HorizonWest facilities has been a positive experience for our patients and staff,” Care Center Executive Director Chris Siregar said. “He is professional in every sense of the word, and always goes above and beyond when it comes to caring and prescribing what’s in the best interest of our residents.”

When he’s not working at the HorizonWest facilities, Zirpins enjoys spending time with his partner and three children, and outdoor activities such as gardening.

“I grew up on the land,” he said. “I like to be in contact with Mother Earth as much as possible.”

Susan Belknap is the former editor of the Roseville Press Tribune and works as the public relations manager for HorizonWest. For comments or questions regarding this story, contact City Editor Trina Kleist at or (530) 477-4230.

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