Vitality Physiotherapy & Wellness Centre - Andrew
Tell us about yourself and how you got started.
I was born in Montreal, raised in Ottawa. I played hockey and soccer throughout my whole life and went to Carleton University to study biochemistry. While in University I played Junior hockey which is what influenced me to pursue physiotherapy as I had the background in sports and science. I always said “If I couldn’t make it in sports, I can help those who can”. Following Carleton University I decided to study Physiotherapy in Glasgow, Scotland. I lived in Scotland for 4 years, and what a great experience it was. Having the opportunity to work with futball clubs.
When I arrived back in Canada I decided to work in Toronto where I gained experience working with professional athletes in the NHL and MLS. Also gained experience working under other great Physiotherapists, sports medicine doctors, and orthopaedic surgeons all with the common goal in mind.
Tell us about your experience working in the physiotherapy industry and what lead you to start your own practice?
While transitioning at different clinics in the greater Toronto and Ottawa areas, I learned the industry used similar and dated procedures. I was convinced every case should be treated uniquely and individualized. When I realized my methods were different than other clinics, it clicked to me that there was a gap in the industry that needed to be filled. Bringing the 1-on-1 personal experience and treatment had a much greater effect on wellness and would optimize recovery. That is when I decided to separate myself from the “norm” and created Vitality Physiotherapy and Wellness Centre.
What is your goal at Vitality?
At Vitality we pride ourselves on our rehab system, where the system focuses on the individual to not only reach a “pain-free” life but optimize their movement and reach their full potential of living a healthy life through movement. We want to show Ottawa how having the different disciplines of health can integrate to maximize an individual’s well-being.
Why did you choose to host a variety of disciplines - physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy - under one roof, instead of focusing only on physio?
While working with other health professionals in Toronto clinics, I understood that having multi disciplines working together improved patients outcomes. Massage therapy focuses on all the soft tissue, Chiropractic on dynamic neuromuscular stabilitzation, and physiotherapy on functional movement and other modalities to help with pain and improving function. When all these elements come together the results are superior. People have the opportunity to have 2-3 professionals look at their case instead of one. Therapists identify different findings on assessments, but if we work collaboratively we can come with better diagnoses and treatment plans.
Tell us a bit about the difference between pain management or rehab, and supporting a healthy and active lifestyle?
Personally, I don’t see a difference between pain management and rehab. If there is pain there is a dysfunction associated with it. Initially, the focus would be on pain management, but the end goal would be to encourage movement. Movement is the keystone to health and supporting an active lifestyle.
What do you like to do to stay active? Any favourite sports or activities?
I go to the gym 4x/week and love hockey, soccer, basketball and football. I played hockey and soccer throughout my youth and the competitive level then onto junior hockey but just haven’t had the time to continue playing since starting the clinic. It definitely something I will be getting back to.
You mentioned having the opportunity to open in Burlington, but choose to open your clinic in Ottawa instead. Why was that?
I was given the opportunity to partner with an individual with experience owning multiple clinics, but I wanted to do it on my own. I had my own vision that I wanted to establish, and that’s when I made the decision to come back to my home town and bring something different to the industry.
What’s it like working with and in the Ottawa community as a small business owner?
It’s great. Every new business has it challenges at the beginning but with the support of friends and family it made it that easier. I have to give it to Riverside South for the amazing support and spreading the word of how we treat differently. I wouldn’t have wanted to start a clinic in any other area..
After just 1.5 years in business you’re planning to open a second location soon. Congratulations! Tell us about that. Was it always your plan to open additional clinics?
We have plans for the new location to open Fall 2019. It’s a little hush hush on the details and location in the meantime but definitely something to be looking for. The plan was always to open multiple clinics and create a brand in Ottawa that has not been seen in the Ottawa area. We want to be different and will ensure to continue executing that plan and commitment in the coming years.
What has it been like transitioning from practicing physiotherapy to also running the business?
I can say that it has been an adventure. Lots of time has to be put in and not what I expected. It’s constant but exciting. Everything you do benefits the clinic, employees and brings us closer to the goal.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to Ottawans to stay healthy and active?
Keep moving, change sitting work desks to stand up desks. Start hobbies and activities involving exercise. Not only will it keep your body healthy but mental health as well.
When you’re not working, what are some of your favourite things to do in Ottawa?
Some of my favourite things are going to sporting events. Mostly Red blacks and enjoying new and unique restaurants.