By Kristina Houck
Captain of the springboard diving team, Rancho Santa Fe native Nic Bartolotta’s diving career almost came to an end as a sophomore at UC Berkeley. At just 18 years old, the cartilage on the outside of his left knee had been destroyed.
Doctors told him there was nothing they could do, Bartolotta said, and that he would need knee replacement surgery later in life.
“It was very disheartening,” said Bartolotta, who graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 1999. “But I didn’t give up.”
From sports massage to yoga, Bartolotta tried a variety of alternative methods. But nothing worked until he discovered resistance stretching.
A family friend introduced Bartolotta to flexibility coach Bob Cooley. Using Cooley’s resistance stretching technique, Bartolotta worked with him three to five hours a day for two months.
Bartolotta went on to compete nationally and internationally. Although he didn’t make the Olympic 2004 trials, he discovered another passion: physical therapy.
“From having to figure out how to fix my knee injury, I got very interested in the therapeutic process,” Bartolotta said. “It just peaked my curiously, and I started studying and learning more about the body and was able to take all my studies and create my own system.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric, he earned his holistic health license from the International Professional School of Bodywork in San Diego, and in 2011, received his master’s in physical therapy from California State University, Long Beach.
Throughout his education, Bartolotta used Cooley’s technique and developed a new system called Dynamic Contraction Technique (DCT), a blend of resistance stretching and strength training that incorporates principles from western biomechanics and eastern holistic modalities.
As co-founder and CEO of Harmonix Health, Bartolotta uses DCT as a physical therapist to clients in Los Angeles and San Diego. In addition to developing his own therapy system, Bartolotta invented DCT ProFlex, a health and fitness tool DCT followers could use.
“I became an inventor out of the need that I saw,” said Bartolotta, who developed the device while he was still in graduate school.
Until now, only Bartolotta and other DCT practitioners have been able to use and teach with the DCT ProFlex. Bartolotta is now bringing the patented product to market.
To launch the health and fitness tool, Harmonix Health started an Indiegogo campaign on Sept. 24. Through the online funding platform, Bartolotta hopes to raise $30,000 by Nov. 23. As of Nov. 8, 140 people have contributed $25,833 toward the project.
“We want to launch and sell the product, but the real purpose or mission behind doing a crowd funding campaign is to raise awareness and show people that there’s another option and there are tools out there that can help them,” said Bartolotta, who currently lives with his wife in Venice Beach.
Made up of a footpad and straps, the DCT ProFlex, along with DCT exercises, is designed to help strengthen and lengthen lower leg and foot muscles, and balance tension to restore proper biomechanical alignment and function to the feet, ankles and lower leg.
“As a physical therapist, if I don’t have the DCT ProFlex with me, I literally feel like I have one hand tied behind my back,” Bartolotta said.
When doctors told him he had a career-ending injury, Bartolotta discovered resistance stretching. He hopes the DCT ProFlex is the solution others need. One day, Bartolotta said, he envisions the product in every physical therapy clinic, athletic training center and fitness center in the country.
“The product is really designed for anybody who likes to be active, and it’s also for people who have foot, ankle or knee problems,” Bartolotta said. “It’s both a corrective exercise tool and a rehabilitative tool.
“There are definitely people out there — if they know about it — who can benefit from it.”
For more information about Harmonix Health, visit
For more information about the campaign, visit