About FIGS V.I.P.s (Very Important Professionals)
From launching international non-profit organizations to bringing new life into the world, medical professionals are making a difference in the lives of their patients across the globe. Every month, FIGS celebrates the people behind these feats and shares their stories with our community.
Name: Dr. Levi Harrison
Profession: Orthopedic Surgeon
Affiliation: Harrison Orthopedic Institute
Location: Glendale, CA
What made you decide to go into the medical profession? I love medicine because it allows me to be of service to other people, taking me out of that place of selfishness to selflessness. Caring for people gives me an opportunity to be in a place of service, gratitude and appreciation. When I was deciding what to do in life, I realized I had many career paths that I loved. However medicine gave me the opportunity to explore everything I enjoyed: writing, meeting people, traveling, motivating people, sharing my philosophy of giving and living a life of service, appreciation and gratitude. I love medicine and it loves me back.
What are you most of proud of as it relates your career? I’m most proud of the fact that I have patients that want to come and see me. They appreciate what I have to offer. It’s not just about the surgery and how it went. We also talk about their lives. I love being intimately involved with my patients because I’m not just treating their hand, shoulder, or knee injury; I am treating them as a full being. As a holistic, integrated orthopedic surgeon, my goal is actually to do surgery as the last possible area of exploration. I try acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy – a lot of other areas of healing modalities – and if none of that helps, then the last frontier to explore is surgery. Because surgery, very much like taking a medication, can only do one of three things: make you better, make you worse, or bring no change. So why take that 33.33% chance of making you better when there’s a 66.66% chance of you not getting better? So my goal is to operate only when necessary, after trying out the alternatives.
Tell us a little about The Art of Fitness. Fitness is one of my first joys. I wrote this book because my goal was to teach people about the basics of fitness, health and wellbeing and to demystify it. I want to let people know their body is beautiful just the way it is and my goal as a physician, fitness instructor and guru is to let them know that wherever they are, they can make small sustainable steps to get fit. You only have your body and you take your body wherever you go. So why not love it? Why not appreciate it? Why not accept that the body you have is a unique wonderful vehicle that God has given you? And the goal is, the healthier you are, the greater you can benefit other people. Being healthy is not having big biceps and a nice chest. We want to get fit and healthy so we can help others.
Tell us about your involvement with your community. I have a lot of charities that I’m intimately involved with, but one that I love is the Glendale Healthy Kids Program. We have all these kids that come in to our office with anything from a broken finger to a broken arm, and their parents don’t have the resources or insurance to take them to a hospital. With or without insurance, everyone is a human being who needs care, appreciation, and should be treated with respect and humanity. So when they come here, we don’t treat them any differently. We treat them with the same love that we would give to anyone else – any celebrity, Olympian, anyone who comes to our clinic for elbow, wrist, or shoulder issues. I am grateful that they’re coming here for me to be of service to them. They think that I’m blessing them but actually it’s the opposite; they are blessing me.
What’s the most fascinating fact about the human body that most people don’t know? The human body will regenerate really well if you love it, keep it de-stressed, exercise, drink water, and meditate every day. I think meditation is a much underutilized modality of healing, especially here in America where we just don’t explore it. Meditation changes your body on a cellular level. It gives your body the opportunity to understand that it can heal from the inside out and should be used as a formidable part of healing.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a positive vehicle of change? My dad told me that when I was six years old at my birthday party, he pointed a camcorder at me and asked, “Levi, what are you going to do when you become a big man?” I turned to him and a great-grandfather and said, “I’m going to be a doctor!” My great-grandfather replied, “Levi what kind of doctor are you going to be?” I said, “I’m going to be a surgeon.” My father laughed, “Surgeon? You don’t even know what a surgeon is. What kind of surgeon are you going to be?” My dad says I turned to the camcorder and declared, “I’m going to be a HAND SURGEON! You’ll see.” My dad would tell me that story over and over.
You’ve worked with a breadth of famous patients. Who do you think is the most fit? Who are you most impressed by? Of all the people that I’ve worked with, there are three groups that I’ve found to be the most dedicated to doing a fitness program. Musicians, like those in the LA Philharmonic, know they have to keep their bodies healthy because they know it’s their first instrument. They are keenly aware that if their hands, shoulders and elbows aren’t working well, they will have long term issues that can prevent them from doing what they love. Also, young athletes are extremely dedicated. I take care of a pitcher on the MLB. He calls or Skypes with me once a month and will show me what’s going on with his arm and get my opinion on his program. Finally, celebrities get into it. When they’re getting ready for a movie, they start calling for me to travel with them or create a fitness program for them. They are committed - the women more the men. The women are much more focused on getting it done.
If someone had a 15 minute break, what is the best bang for their buck fitness routine they can do? Do a 15-minute walk. If you can’t do that, make sure you’re drinking enough water and stretch for 15 minutes before you sit back down at your computer. I also recommend people get ergonomically balanced keyboards and make sure they have proper posture. The one thing I recommend the most about fitness is to explore different workout programs, from crosstraining to Crossfit to swimming. Do different things to invigorate your body. Let your body know that it’s alive. When people tell me they do the same thing every day, I tell them their body needs to be awakened with variety.
What do you love most about FIGS? The thing I love about them above all is that I don’t have to press them! I love the fact that there are a multitude of colors. I love that there are a lot of extra pockets. I love that when I wear them, people often say, “Oh, new scrubs Dr. Harrison?” And I tell them “FIGS! They are awesome!” It’s a great product – easy to wear, easy to care for, has a great look, and is a sustainable product.
Watch Dr. Harrison share his favorite exercise drill in this clip below:
For more information on Dr.Levi Harrison visit:
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