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Our Story

Structural Elements® was founded in 2006 by Douglas Bertram, L.Ac, MTCM. Douglas started working as a massage therapist in 1995 with a focus on treating athletic injuries. He practiced for several years in Boulder, CO before pursuing a Master's Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. He started his training in San Diego, CA where he maintained a busy Orthopedic Practice, then later moved to Santa Cruz, CA and finished his degree at Five Branches University. While a student in Santa Cruz, Douglas was able to grow another substantial practice. Several fellow students approached him with questions about how he was able to build his practice so quickly. These questions lead him to evaluate what he was doing differently from other therapists, which may have contributed to his success. Out of this exploration the birth of a unique approach was born. Douglas has always viewed the body as a single unit. He believes that structure dictates function and that the body thrives on efficiency. From early in his massage career and central to his Chinese Medical training; Douglas works primarily with the connective tissue. He developed a unique mapping of where the body forms something called focal adhesions, a thickening of collagen in response to mechanical stress.

After graduation, Douglas returned to his home town of Milwaukee, WI and joined an integrative practice. He practiced in Milwaukee for 5 years while developing and refining the Structural Elements® approach. Structural Elements® is a highly effective clinical approach to balancing the structures of the body. It uses a combination of Acupuncture/Dry Needling, Manual Soft Tissue Manipulation and Joint Mobilizations to restore proper structural balance. Douglas sold his private practice in 2011 and moved back to the Denver/Boulder, CO area where he worked as the Director of Field Marketing for Newton Running Company and later as the President of Zone Sports Management. His departure from clinical practice was brief, but gave him the business experience needed to properly launch Structural Elements®.

As he and his wife Anne started a family of their own, they decided to move to Hagerstown, MD to be near her family. Douglas opened the first Structural Elements® Clinic in August of 2013 and in July 2015 he expanded the clinic and formed a partnership with his business partner Jason Knicley, PT, DPT, MTC, CDNT. Together they formed Structural Elements® Franchising LLC. They have an aggressive growth plan with registration in Maryland and Virginia and plans to enter into North and South Carolina. Dry Needling is within the scope of practice of Physical Therapists in many states and Structural Elements® requires a deep biomechanical and manual therapy understanding.  Structural Elements® Franchising, LLC is primarily looking to help Physical Therapists open clinics and will offer long-term clinical education as well as professional mentoring to its franchisees. The franchise model was chosen to maintain high quality work and brand integrity.

It is at the core of our values to assemble a family of therapists that we can mentor as well as learn from. Together, we can offer true revolutionary care to a meaningful number of patients.

Doug Bertram, L.Ac., MTCM, Owner

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