Humans helping Humans.

A healer does not heal you; a true healer awakens the healer within.

Degrees? We’ve got degrees . . . and cutting-edge technical skills. Underneath all the letters and professional accolades, we’re well-rounded humans who enjoy helping fellow humans.

The bottom line is we care,  we’re really good at caring, and we specialize in giving heart-centered care to our clients. What does that mean?   When you come into our home, you’re considered family.  We intend to provide potent, efficient therapy, without you feeling like you’re being rushed out the door. At a time when “productivity” runs the show, frequently leaving folks feeling like they’re not being seen or heard, we measure “productivity” by how you feel at session’s end, and by your satisfying, longterm results.

Doug Merz

Founder

Doug Merz, RPT is the founder of Merz Physical Therapy which has provided services to The Marsh and its surrounding community since 1994. He specializes in acute bio-mechanical assessment and prescription of safe, effective therapeutic exercise protocols to help patients manage their conditions independently.

Using the resources at The Marsh, Doug has also developed an active network of alternative medical practitioners in the Metro area to help meet the needs of those suffering from chronic conditions. Often, Doug utilizes Iyengar based yoga with his patients to help them maintain their wellness.

Doug has a special interest in the ankle/foot complex and its influence on the lower kinetic chain. He provides consultation services to physical therapists and clinics in the Metro area regarding this complex and its evaluation and treatment.

Pre-physical therapy experience includes two years in the Peace Corps in Honduras and five years working with The Menninger Foundation for emotionally challenged adolescents. Doug currently volunteers for the We Can Ride Corporation providing therapeutic horse back riding lessons to physically and mentally challenged adults and children.

Christopher Warden

Owner/Director

Embody Health and Performance, originally known as Merz Physical Therapy, underwent a transformation in 2021 when Christopher, a skilled Sports Performance Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy, assumed ownership. With his extensive 25-year educational background and professional experience, Christopher is motivated to empower others by helping them improve their health and reach new heights in performance.

With a diverse educational background and a wide range of certifications, Christopher has established himself as a highly knowledgeable and experienced professional. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Biomedical Science, a Master’s degree in Applied Sports Psychology, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy. In addition to his academic achievements, Christopher has obtained numerous certifications across a spectrum of topics including movement arts, pain science, acute injury rehab, 3-dimensional gait analysis, traditional nutrition practices, and spirituality and healing. Throughout his career, he has worked with individuals from all walks of life, both locally and internationally. Christopher’s expertise has been sought after by A-list celebrities and elite athletes during his successful tenure in New York City. He later relocated to Morocco, after being asked to serve as the personal coach to a member of the Moroccan Royal family. For the next seven and a half years he held this role along with serving as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Moroccan National Professional and Amateur Golf Teams.

Christopher is renowned for his unique ability to uncover the connections between complex injuries and ailments. Through a holistic approach that combines movement, touch, breath work, and mindset, he empowers his clients to achieve their goals. Christopher firmly believes that true healing begins with self-awareness, and he sees himself as a mirror, guiding others on their journey towards awakening and self-healing. His sessions are known for delving deep into the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical realms, as he understands that addressing all aspects of life is crucial for overall well-being and the healing process.

When he’s not championing his clients, Christopher enjoys indulging in lengthy dinners with friends and traveling internationally. In addition, he dedicates time to caring for his homestead, backing his children’s pursuits, going on leisurely strolls with his wife and lively dogs, and delving further into his personal training to better embody the values he imparts.

Andrew Cardinal

Andrew joined the Embody Health and Performance family after graduating from Des Moines University with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree in 2021. He has always been drawn to the healthcare field – his participation in athletics, an interest in human movement, and a passion for helping others made Physical Therapy a perfect fit.

Andrew enjoys working with patients covering a wide variety of ages and orthopedic conditions, developing an individualized treatment plan through a combination of hands-on manual therapy and corrective exercise. He first looks to build a therapeutic connection by understanding a person’s motivations, interests, and goals to quickly help them return to what is really important in their daily life. He looks forward to continuing his aspirations for lifelong learning via continuing education and advanced certifications to better help his patients and to achieve personal growth.

Outside the clinic, Andrew loves to experience the outdoors during each season Minnesota has to offer. Spending time on the lake fishing is a favorite of his. He also enjoys watching sports, getting together with friends, and working on his own health and fitness.

Sara Warden

Embodying health and performance has been a cornerstone to Sara meeting the challenges of her own life’s demands and milestones for more than seventeen years. As a dancer and new mom, she pushed her body to extremes, without meeting its needs. Eventually her body had had enough and symptoms of dis-ease proliferated, forcing her to make herself a priority again. Having already recognized a passion for healthy eating and traditional food preparations during her pregnancies, she returned to her roots and then dove deep, educating herself with how to use food as medicine. With time and consistency Sara’s health not only returned, but she felt better than she had in years, and others took notice and began seeking her guidance in reaching their potential. Since then, her knowledge and engaging style of educating others has led her to help countless individuals improve their health and wellbeing through a healthier lifestyle.

Experiencing the necessity of health and wellness in her own world, it seemed only natural that Sara and her husband, Christopher, an integrative physical therapist and coach, would expand Embody Health and Performance, LLC, with her skillset. After all, Sara and Christopher believe that the human body can’t be divided into separate systems, as each system works together as part of the whole. Embody Health and Performance is where their client’s wholeness emerges, from the inside-out, from lifestyle and food choices to movement intention and quality.

Sara’s experience has shown her that people are as layered as an onion and always worth listening to. The fifteen-minute appointments and one-size-fits-all treatment protocols dictated by insurance companies do not effectively care for people. Therefore, by taking a natural approach with an individualized care plan that includes testing, use of herbs and supplements, and educating on all aspects of lifestyle (food, mindset, sleep, and environmental toxins, to name a few), Sara is able to help her clients improve their health, so they can take control of their lives. Discovering the root of her client’s health concerns is her main focus, paired with inspiring them to embody healthy living for a lifetime. Sara’s role as a practitioner is built upon deep, trusting connections between herself and her clients. She holds with gratitude her client’s tasking of her to educate and guide them to help themselves journey back to balanced health.