Educate • Involve • Empower
The mission of Step and Connect is to maximize mobility and balance for people of all ages and abilities through education, involvement, and empowerment.
We educate, involve, and empower clients, medical professionals, and the community through our specialized programs, research, and innovative products to enhance balance and promote active lifestyles.
Step and Connect LLC, founded by Erica DeMarch, MSPT, provides highly specialized neurological and vestibular physical therapy, group exercises classes and education series. Areas of specialty include: Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Brain Injury, Stroke, Imbalance and Unsteadiness, Dizziness and Vertigo.
My patients inspire me to match their tenacity, motivation, and drive, and to keep exploring new ways to improve their ability to function and their quality of life. They work tirelessly in the clinic and in my classes listening to my voice for verbal cues, looking at the tape or light strategically placed on the ground for visual cues, and responding to hand placements in order to execute a single movement perfectly. It’s a movement that lasts for only a brief moment, but the more my patients repeat these well-orchestrated moments, the more these well-executed productions of motion become integrated into their natural way of moving. With continued practice they gradually and progressively move smoothly and with less effort.
For many reasons, time with patients in the clinic is limited. I wanted to find a way for them to have the same opportunity, under the same conditions, to perform the prescribed exercises at home. I realized what was needed was a portable device to replicate the clinic experience, facilitating a transition from the clinic to their home. Realizing an effective, portable device that targets the training of balance systems, equilibrium strategies, and gait mechanics was not available led me to develop and create Balance Matters®.
My clinical training and experience in the areas of neurorehabilitation and vestibular rehabilitation allowed me to develop a device that incorporates multisensory feedback. It promotes body awareness through multiple senses and fosters independent problem solving to correct unconscious and unwanted movement patterns. Balance Matters® is a tool that gets patients involved in a complex neurosensory and somatosensory learning process to improve gait and balance. It is a tool that marries science and creativity for improved outcomes!
After coming up with the idea, my mom created the prototype for the feedback device by crocheting foot pads with texture. It was tested in the clinic and then I found a manufacturer in Lafayette, Colorado who utilized the sample and worked with me to develop the device into the finished product.
Meet Erica Demarch
Erica Demarch is the founder of Step and Connect and the inventor of Balance Matters®.
After graduating with a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2002, Erica started her career at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey where she worked primarily with the neurological population and specialized in traumatic brain injury.
In 2006, she moved to New York City where she continued to build upon her neurological expertise by working with the geriatric and multitrauma population at NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center. In 2010, she moved to Denver to work at South Valley Physical Therapy, a specialized vestibular and neurology clinic.
In 2008, Erica became certified in vestibular rehabilitation through Emory University and in 2009 completed the National Parkinson Foundation Allied Team Training. As a trained Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery clinician expert, Erica teaches specialized exercise classes with the Parkinson Association of the Rockies.
She is a certified instructor in ‘A Matter of Balance’ which is an evidence-based falls prevention program that was developed at Boston University for older adults who are limited in activity due to fear of falling.
Erica is also a certified instructor of ‘N’Balance’ which is an evidence-based falls prevention program developed by the Consortium for Older Adult Wellness. This system was designed using the same principles of human kinetics that inspired FallProof!, a balance program created by California State University, Fullerton.
She has been treating clients with balance and walking problems in a wide variety of settings for 15 years. Her clinical expertise in neurorehabilitation has led her to found Step and Connect, a company that offers educational programs and clinical services geared towards promoting balance. Erica has taken all her experience, knowledge and inspiration from her patients over the years to develop and manufacture the product, Balance Matters®.
Erica speaks at local support groups for people with Parkinson’s disease on the benefits of exercise and is currently active in research at Regis University.
Philosophy of Clinical Care
Erica's philosophy of clinical care is that people move better when they understand their bodies and exercise prescription must be based on evidence. Her approach to exercise is teaching clients how exercise connects to their function and goals. She strives to help clients of all ages understand their bodies and know what exercises regimens are best for them in order to proactively prevent injury and/or improve function. She believes clients should be referred to physical therapy before problems with balance arise. She believes wellness exams should become normal practice where posture, strength, flexibility, neuromotor (balance, coordination, agility), and aerobic capacity are assessed.
She emphasizes optimism to all her clients by encouraging them to focus on how they want to feel instead of how they don't want to feel. Rather than thinking, “I don't want to fall” she suggests for clients instead to think, “I am strong and balanced”. By simply changing words and thoughts to be positive during exercise, clients begin to feel a greater sense of mobility, agility, and balance!