Melinda started college as a dance major and ended up on a path that made her a three-time graduate of The Ohio State University. Her undergraduate degree became a personalized study program in the Neuropsychology and Physiology of Human Movement. Then she completed a traditional master’s degree in Anatomy and Medical Education specializing in developmental movement, fascia/fascial patterning and functional lymphatic macroanatomy. As a doctoral candidate, she researched developmental movement deficits related to ADHD in partnership with OSU and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She holds a Ph.D. in Integrative Medicine with a graduate minor in Research Methods.
In the late 1990s, she embarked on two quarters of independent study looking at the hip unwinding techniques from the cadaver lab applied to students in the dance department with reported hip issues. That blending of academic worlds translated into the fascial unwinding and tensional relay balancing work that she has been doing with living clients ever since. Her applied anatomical approach has come to be called Somatic Integration Analysis (SIA).
Through hands-on education, SIA helps people better understand their bodies and health concerns. Melinda is not a medical doctor and cannot/does not diagnose any conditions, rather she aims to help people understand and work through their diagnoses. When there is no diagnosis, SIA can help locate sources of pain or limitation and potentially offer suggestions and/or resources toward reworking these patterns. There is no medical license in Ohio that covers this scope of practice.
Dr. Bekos has over a decade of experience teaching college-level, cadaver-based, regional and systems-based anatomy, physiology and histology. She has logged over 3000 hours prosecting cadavers for use in teaching programs, undergraduate courses, and continuing education curricula.
Melinda works with clients privately and teaches various aspects of applied anatomy and SIA to individual practitioners, professional groups, and out in the community. She is passionate about helping people find thoughtful teams of providers to help streamline individualized paths toward complete healing. Melinda enjoys helping people build integrative health networks for themselves and thrives from collaborations with other practitioners, teachers and clinicians.
The National Institutes of Health created the original framework in the 1990s with 4 primary domains of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) placed around a central health system of Western allopathy. This more comprehensive model evolved as Melinda created her interdisciplinary doctoral program in Integrative Medicine to provide a framework for collaboratively joining together health and wellness professionals in a paradigm that empowers the individual and the provider. It helps round out and ground down care strategies, by educating and resourcing and inspiring comprehensive healing within the community.
Dr. Cooksey’s first integrative center, Columbus Comprehensive Health Center (CCHC), began in 2002. This group grew to 28 practitioners sharing space and focusing on team-based care. CCHC’s integrative model drew interest from the Ohio State University, which led to the acquisition of CCHC by OSU. The OSU Center for Integrative Medicine opened in 2005 and remains open today.
In 2006, Melinda founded Your-Center. A virtual community of like-minded professionals, Your-Center.com provided a valuable resource pool for the greater central Ohio community. Your-Center took the idea of a facility with many practitioners all ‘under one roof’ and instead created collaborative, virtual consortium of practitioners throughout central Ohio. This expanded concept better met the needs of prospective patients/clients/students by providing resource in their neighborhoods instead of just at one elite location in town. It also better met the needs of practitioners, honored their culture of small business ownership/autonomy and highlighted their existing facilities and private practices operating throughout central Ohio.
In 2013, the virtual community found a physical center. The All Life Center (ALC) was founded as a nonprofit community cooperative. Melinda served as ALC’s President and Director until the center closed in 2018 and became a virtual resource once again. IntegrateColumbus.org was then born as a 501c3 nonprofit organization to continue the mission of helping the public navigate the landscape of Integrative Medicine.
Beyond ‘just healthcare’ it is becoming increasingly clear that wellness, a felt sense of well-being, isn’t found in the offices of providers or the remedies or advice they provide. It has become starkly clear that community, connection, interconnection, and belonging are the elements that determine our sense of being well beyond the biometrics and images ‘healthcare’ can provide. This knowing found its way to the fore in 2021 when Melinda started meeting with a small group that would become the founding circle of the WellBeing Cooperative. This new community organization holds great promise for co-creating personal, community, and global well-being and is open to individuals, providers, small businesses and other community organizations, and investors to join!
The micro/macro aspect of it all is not lost on Dr. Bekos. Over 20 years later, the world of fascia with its roles in connection, communication, inter-relatedness, and tensional integrity beautifully meets the world we are living in and the state of healthcare where we are in desperate need of authentic connection, healthy communication, social cohesion, and appropriate direction of tensions.