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Encinitas Physical Therapy

Effective Hands-On Treatment 

Neil Sturman, PT, OCS 

Encinitas Physical Therapy founder Neil Sturman is a 1976 graduate of University of Southern California, is a board-certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) and member of the American Physical Therapy Association.   He is a San Diego native.

His advanced training in physical therapy includes Joint Mobilization, Soft Tissue Mobilization, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Strain-Counterstrain, Muscle Energy Technique, Functional Mobilization, PNF, Neuromobilization, McKenzie Spinal Therapy, Stabilization Exercise, and Yoga.  He taught post-graduate seminars for over 25 years in the topics of Soft Tissue Mobilization, Cranial Mobilization and Visceral Manipulation. 

He believes that each person has a unique condition that requires a unique, customized treatment to be most effective.  His passion is practicing, learning and teaching manual therapy.  

Neil is married, has two children and lives in Leucadia.  He and his wife, Michelle, designed this office building in 2001 as a peaceful, healing space, with skylights, vaulted ceilings and private gardens off each treatment room. 

Michelle J. Sturman, MPT 

Michelle graduated from the Physical Therapy program at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in 1996. She earned her bachelor's degree in Psychobiology from UC Riverside and completed graduate work in biomechanics at San Diego University.

She has developed the ability to sense patterns of tension in each person's body and utilizes a variety of manual therapy approaches including Myofascial Release, Visceral Manipulation, Mechanical Link, PNF, Joint Mobilization, Soft Tissue Mobilization and Cranio-Sacral Therapy to enhance her clinical results.  Michelle has a keen intuitive sense in working with people, both on a clinical and personal level. Michelle specializes in treating chronic pain associated with the pelvic floor, spine, and extremities.  She uses Mechanical Link and other tissue release techniques to bring balance and normal functioning to the rib cage, the knee, and other sites of dysfunction in the body.

Michelle is married, has two children and lives in Leucadia.  She and her husband, Neil, designed our office building in 2001 as a peaceful, healing space, with skylights, vaulted ceilings and private gardens off each treatment room.

Darren Mallinson, PT, OCS, CSCS

Darren graduated in 1998 from the Hoogeschool van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, completing a comprehensive manual therapy curriculum.  He is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Darren has had advanced training in Joint Mobilization, Soft Tissue Mobilization, Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, and Kinesiotaping, and completed training in the MAT (muscle activation technique) approach for reeducation of joint dysfunction. He brings his own love and experience with athletics to his practice.  He enjoys working with post-surgical and other orthopedic problems as well as individuals with chronic pain.  Darren has practiced at Encinitas Physical Therapy since 2003 and is known for his effective manual skills and his creativity in devising the ideal exercise prescription for each individual. 

His sports therapy experience includes: athletic trainer at North Carolina State University, physical therapist for a football (soccer) team in Holland, therapist for the Ajax football team of Amsterdam, and therapist for professional athletes and dancers in New York City.  Darren is married and loves snowboarding, surfing, mountain climbing, and traveling.    


Lila Scarlato, MPT 

Lila graduated from the University of Southern California in 1991 with a Master's degree in Physical Therapy.  She holds a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from UCLA.  She has worked extensively in the orthopedic and sports medicine arena and has had the opportunity to work with high level athletes including the San Diego Chargers as part of the Oasis Physical Therapy team.

Lila has advanced training in Soft Tissue Mobilization, Functional Mobilization, Pilates, Integrative Manual Therapy, PNF, Functional Exercise, and post-operative care. She strongly believes in the mind/body connection and emphasizes the holistic approach in her practice. She brings her own experience as a marathon runner and triathlete to her practice, and enjoys working with athletes to attain their goals.

Lila spent several years working in outpatient orthopedics in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego.  She continued to fine tune her skills as a manual therapist at HealthSouth and Mission Hills Physical Therapy, and spent 5 years in private practice.  She lives in Solana Beach with her husband and daughter.



Jackie Hester
is our office manager and biller. 
She takes wonderful care of our patients and keeps the office running efficiently. 

Sheila Gilbert
is our receptionist who manages our schedule, communicates with insurance companies and makes sure everyone feels welcome.