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Founder & Owner

Sonja Parker


Hello, and welcome to Designing Fitness Physical Therapy! I earned my Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Duke University in 1993 after receiving my Bachelors degree in Biology from Colby College in 1990. As a physical therapist, I have worked with a broad spectrum of adult clients in many different settings, including acute care, outpatient, home care, nursing home, assisted living and wellness facilities. My clients range from those with orthopedic ailments to victims of stroke and other neurological conditions. I am also licensed as a massage therapist, and have found that by incorporating more customized manual therapy into my physical therapy sessions, I see even more dramatic effects in the results for my clients.

In addition to creating client-specific exercise programs for an extensive range of individuals, I have also taught many strength, flexibility, and balance classes to adults with, or at risk for, medical issues. I enjoy conducting workshops and presentations for audiences of all ages, with some of my recent classes including Exercises for a Healthy Back, Steps You Can Take to Prevent Falls, Strengthening for Independence, and Exercising with Arthritis and Osteoporosis.

I have seen and fully believe in the effectiveness of tailored exercise and therapeutic massage to improve lives. I am passionate about the role of fitness in healthy living and I work with utmost professionalism, positivity, and commitment to helping you achieve your best self! These beliefs sustain the mission of my business:

To provide safe, client-specific exercise, therapeutic massage, and education to adults who seek an active, healthy lifestyle, thereby opening doors to a lifetime of fitness and well-being.

Melanie Armstrong


Melanie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from the University of New England in 1995. Since that time she has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient, home health, skilled nursing facility, school based, and private practice. Within those environments Melanie has had the opportunity to provide traditional therapy services, as well as aquatic therapy, and even hippotherapy, working with pediatric clients on horseback. She has experience with both adult and pediatric clients, and has treated a variety of different diagnoses, including neurologic conditions such as stroke, MS, Parkinson’s, and spinal cord injury, as well as developmental disorders, generalized weakness, balance and gait issues. Melanie’s main interest is in orthopedics, including muscle and joint pain, and injuries such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, arthritis, neck and back pain. She also works with pre and post surgical patients such as joint replacement, rotator cuff repair, and ACL reconstruction, among others. 

Melanie was a practice manager at 2 different clinics, and served as both the Clinical Coordinator of Clinical Education and a Clinical Instructor for students from physical therapy programs across the US. She has attended many conferences and taught several in-services over the years, with the majority being based around manual therapy techniques. 
Manual therapy has always been part of Melanie’s practice, and she became trained in the Graston Technique® in 2016. Since learning the Graston Technique®, she has seen clients improve faster, and in some cases, has been able to help clients who have been seen by multiple providers without any improvement in pain or function.  She has found that manual techniques in conjunction with a patient specific stretching and strengthening program has allowed her patients great success in pain management and return to normal function, allowing them to reach their goals
Deborah Brann


Deborah Brann (DeeDee) graduated from the University of New England in May of 1998 with a BS in Physical Therapy. Over the course of her career, DeeDee has worked in several different healthcare settings and with a wide variety of patients. She has worked with children of all ages with multiple disabilities, helping them acquire functional mobility skills; as well as with adults in outpatient settings, acute care, rehabilitation units, nursing homes, and home care. During her time working in the outpatient setting, she developed her passion for hands on therapeutic interventions and began studying craniosacral therapy (CS). She completed CS1 and CS2 at the Upledger Institute, studied Neural Manipulation from the Barrel Institute, and became certified to utilize Graston tools as another form of treatment in the management of tissue tension and restriction.

DeeDee focuses on utilizing a combination of these manual techniques, in addition to cupping and dry needling, to address pain and functional limitations, while incorporating exercises and education to assist with long term self-management and improved quality of life for her patients. DeeDee enjoys treating post operative musculoskeletal patients, patients with neck pain, back pain, headaches, tendonitis, bursitis, all joints in the lower body and shoulder, as well as providing balance training for fall prevention.

Jen Fiske

Jen Fiske received her Yoga Alliance RYT-200 in 2013, and is certified as a wellness coach as well. Jen was drawn to yoga by its ability to bring stillness of thought through movement. Jen is a speech therapist who also enjoys spending time in the kitchen as well as most anything outdoors, including mountain biking, hiking, and cross country skiing.

She also loves creating anything, from knitting scarves and making candles, to painting furniture. Yoga is yet another way for her to express and share her creativity!

Mya-Lisa King

Mya-Lisa King is a Yoga Alliance-certified mindfulness and meditation instructor. She has studied and practiced meditation intermittently for almost two decades in a variety of traditions, including Vipassana and Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques, as well as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.

She is currently immersed in a two-year professional training program for teaching mindfulness and compassion-based practices with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. In addition to teaching mindfulness and meditation techniques to wellness classes, professional groups, and individual clients, Mya-Lisa enjoys hiking, trail running with her dog, and spending time with her active family.

Marie Hansen

Dr. Marie Hansen is a dean, executive, group and individual coach, leadership consultant, and attorney with over 23 years experience in higher education and law.  Marie is a life-long learner who holds a Ph.D in Organizational Leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, a JD from the University of Maine School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Maine.

Marie is a former Division I tennis player and dancer who continues to enjoy all aspects of fitness that bring joy to her days – including barre, meditation, weight lifting, walk/runs and golf. She certified through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a barre instructor and personal fitness trainer and is a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher. She has taught barre for over 8 years.

Andy Stewart

Andy Stewart is a retired attorney who was formerly the Executive Director and Chief Attorney at Legal Services for the Elderly and later was a co-founder and co-owner of Avalon Village, a retirement community in Hampden.

Andy has taught Tai Chi at Avalon Village for several years. He views Tai Chi as the perfect antidote to our fast paced, competitive world.

Julie French

Julie French has worked in the fields of education and emotional and physical wellness since graduating from the University of Maine in Orono in 1991. She has worked with all ages, toddlers through seniors, and in various locales, including public schools, libraries, recreation departments, summer camps, and professional workplaces. In addition to leading yoga, she has taught mindfulness, understanding stress, healthy dating relationships, conflict resolution and bicycle safety. Julie values all forms of movement and is certified in Thai Yoga Massage. She is currently taking a Pre-natal Yoga course to be able to add that certification to her repertoire. Julie has shared her experiences with mindfulness and movement in Aroostook County for over 30 years and now is excited to share with people in her new central Maine community. She firmly believes that yoga is accessible to all… “if you can breathe, you can do yoga.”

Julie has recently moved to Veazie with her partner, Ed and their new rescue pup, Carra. When Julie is not involved in the above activities, she can be found in nature hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, etc. as well as traveling with her spouse.

Jamie Bartlett

Jamie Bartlett is a certified fitness instructor and clinical social worker, receiving her MSW from the University of Maine. Her focus is always on supporting the optimal physical and emotional well-being of her clients. In her free time, she enjoys furniture flipping, reading, DIY projects, and following her two children in all of their activities.

She loves teaching a wide variety of full body classes that will leave you feeling energized and strong, and prides herself in creating a welcoming, supportive and fun workout environment.

Betsy Migliore

Betsy Migliore is an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and has been teaching POUND for 4 years. Betsy was drawn to POUND because it has a rock-star flair that provides a fun and welcoming atmosphere for letting loose, toning up, and making some serious noise!

In her free time, Betsy enjoys thrift shopping, hiking, and paper crafting. She also loves cats and has fostered many cats and kittens.

Ricky Dexter

Ricky Dexter is a professional mixed martial artist who has been a strength and boxing coach in the Bangor area for over 10 years.

Angela King

Angela King is an ACE-certified personal trainer and a Nutritionist with a BS in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Maine. She opened her business, Maxim, in 2015 to offer fitness and nutrition expertise to our community, and she continues to offer both personal training and private nutrition counseling here at the Center by appointment. She enjoys golfing in her free time, and she loves following all of her two athletic daughters’ sporting events.

She recognizes and is motivated by the fact that fitness and nutrition go far beyond physical well-being, impacting lives by increasing confidence, motivation, and optimism.

Kris Eschman

Kris Eschman is a Yoga Alliance Certified (RYT-200) yoga instructor who was initially drawn to yoga for the posture practice and community. Over many years, she has developed a deep appreciation for the philosophical, meditative, and physical benefits of a consistent yoga practice. She enjoys sharing these benefits with others.

Kris is currently pursuing Professional Coaching Certifications as both a Life Coach and an Organizational Development Coach. She is also completing certifications in Mindfulness and Mindful Eating. She believes that yoga, coaching, and mindfulness all work together to help a person live authentically and to their fullest potential.

Kris moved to Maine in 2014 and appreciates the abundant natural beauty, four seasons, vast options for hiking and skiing, and the peace that comes with living in a small town. She lives in Hampden with her family (human and fur). She owns her own business, consulting with nonprofit clients on fund development, marketing, and strategic planning.

Kate Peppard

Kate grew up right outside of Bangor, and after many years away, decided it was time to come home to Central Maine, moving back in 2023. Kate deepened her yoga practice in the midst of some big life shifts, and after a particularly blissful moment in savasana, had a revelation that she wanted her whole life to feel that way – connected and at ease. Since that moment, she has worked to make yoga a foundational element of her life.  She completed a 200 hour teacher training and continues to engage with trainings and teachings to supplement and enhance her teaching and personal practice.

Because of her own transformation, Kate firmly believes in the inherent power of all humans to transform themselves for the better, and she is grateful to be able to offer up the opportunity for others to access positivity and compassionate living through yoga. Her classes are gently rigorous and are focused on a balanced series of movements closely aligned with the breath.

Contact Kate: