SHANTÉ COFIELD DPT OCS CSCS
What compelled you to take your physical therapy business beyond the clinic and cultivate a social media presence?
I was honestly driven to social media by two things: CrossFit and burnout. I decided to try CrossFit in early 2015 after running by a local CrossFit box nearly every day while training for the NYC marathon. I fell in love, and my quest for movement mastery lead me to Instagram where I discovered the likes of Kelly Starrett and the WODdoc (Tim Simansky).
Around that same time I was also feeling quite disenchanted at work, burnt out and wondering if what I was doing was actually helping people, or if they were simply getting better because of time. My Instagram searching also somehow lead me to Dr. Perry Nickelston (@stopchasingpain), who would later become my self-appointed mentor, and gateway into RockTape. Long story short, I saw what they were doing on social media, how they were sharing their knowledge so freely, and helping people, and I thought to myself, “I could do that!” So I did it.
I created my first post on September 24th, 2015, with no set goal in mind, no desire to create a brand, no vision of becoming Instafamous or anything like that. I just wanted to share my ideas, help people, and connect with dope humans. Fast forward five years, I’d say that that mission has been a complete success.
What is your definition of wellness and how do you practice wellness on a daily basis?
Hmmm, I’m not sure if I have a definition of wellness. I think in general life is simply about balance. Do more of what you’re not doing a lot of. I don’t think it’s about always being centered, but rather, having the ability to come back to center. Which, we should understand, will be affected by so many things. Nutrition, sleep, sun, schedule, stress, exercise, mindset, social interactions, mental health, breathing…the list could keep going. I think that traditional definitions of wellness might be too myopic if they don’t in some way take into account all of those factors.
For me, wellness would be about being cognizant of all the factors that can affect our system, and having a healthy relationship with them. Extremes are ok, so long as you’re balancing them out. In terms of how I practice wellness on a daily basis, I do things that I enjoy, and then also look to do some things that I know will stress my system and create resilience.
Again, it’s all about balance. I live by the beach, I spend time outside, I exercise, I try to eat well, I create, I interact with friends, I do things that make me happy (like spending time on social media…while wearing blue blockers). Stress the system but also do things to make the system happy. Balance.
What are the factors that can make a physical therapist or any healthcare professional that has a business, or wants to start a business, stand out?
Simply stated, if you want to stand out, be remarkable. What do I mean by remarkable? Worth talking about. Put in the time and become the absolute best at your craft. And no, that doesn’t mean just going to a bunch of courses and collecting knowledge. You have to be able to actually use that information and get real, tangible results for people. Repeatedly.
Imagine that you were getting paid three times your current salary. What would you do differently? Do that right now. Be consistent and consistently over-deliver. Worry about being remarkable for ONE person, and then go from there. I honestly don’t think that there is a magic recipe or anything like that when it comes to standing out. I truly believe that success stems from doing the work, for a really long time, and quite frankly, most people just aren’t committed to doing that. Food for thought: It takes ten years to become an overnight success. Proceed accordingly.
WHITNEY CATALANO RDN
What has been the most challenging part of being an RD that practices Health At Every Size and body inclusivity?
The most challenging part of being a HAES RD is definitely how often I get questioned and attacked by other people, especially other healthcare professionals. Some of my most vicious “trolls” on Instagram and Twitter have been students and healthcare professionals who publicly question my ethics, demand I provide resources that “disproves” the “ob*sity” epidemic (even though that’s not how this whole HAES thing works), use stigmatizing language in public places after I’ve shared research about the language being stigmatizing, and tried to turn others against me. I expect to receive criticisms and backlash because trying to explain HAES over social media is impossible if the other person isn’t open to questioning their own beliefs, but having your ethics called into question by other providers can feel very intimidating.
What are your best tips that help you to stay physically and mentally well, especially during busy/stressful workdays?
Since I work from home, it’s easy to get in a rut of working these long days from my couch. I’ve been making an effort recently to go to the gym in the morning if I don’t have any calls so that I can get in a good head space for the day. I’ve been actively doing the opposite of the voice that tells me to stay in because I’m too busy. I also only take on a limited number of clients and make sure I leave plenty of room in my schedule for admin work or free days. This year, I have planned at least one trip every quarter and I’ve outsourced a lot more of my business so that I have less to do.
What message do you wish to impart on those that want to live healthy lives yet are struggling with their relationships with food?
If you have perfectionism tendencies but say that you “always self-sabotage” or you don’t have the willpower/commitment to keep up with a healthy routine for long, it’s likely because you are trying to approach health from an all-or-nothing diet mentality. The most effective way to heal this is to give yourself permission to completely rebel without shame about the things you ‘should’ be doing, then slowly start incorporating things you ‘want’ to do. Any approach to health should always be in service of the long-term, and it’s about figuring out what works for you in your life at this moment. Stop trying to do more than you can handle.
NICOLE COZEAN PT DPT WCS
What compelled you to be passionate about pelvic health and to start a business around it?
I’m so passionate about pelvic health because of the enormous impact we have in the lives of our patients. Pelvic health issues including pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, urinary urgency/frequency, bowel problems, pelvic organ prolapse, and pain in the low back, tailbone, hip, or SI joint affect our patients in profound ways. The transformation for our pelvic health patients is so much larger than I was experiencing when I was helping someone recover from a simple sprained ankle.
Because of that passion I have strong opinions about the type of care that our patients deserve. I wanted to work in a place that always puts patients first and provides the quality of care I would want for my own family. After having started a pelvic health program at a local hospital and worked in outpatient physical therapy, I realized I couldn’t provide that quality unless I started my own practice.
The guiding principles at PelvicSanity are that patients need hands-on, one-on-one time with a physical therapist (not with an aide or riding an exercise bike), your medical insurance shouldn’t dictate your care, and that we want to do more than resolve symptoms. We want to optimize your pelvic health and find the ‘why’ for lasting relief for our patients. All of our treatment sessions are a full hour in length with a trained pelvic health expert and we look at both the internal and external causes at each visit to get our patients to a better level of health than they thought was possible.
Recognizing that many people don’t have access to quality pelvic healthcare, we have also started remote consultations and our immersive out-of-town program. Each year we see about thirty patients who travel to see us for a week or two. So far, we’ve had patients visit from six continents, fifteen countries, and more than twenty five US States for treatment. No matter how long they’ve been struggling with pelvic health issues, there’s always something we can do to see a significant improvement. There’s always hope out there!
What is your definition of wellness and how do you practice wellness on a daily basis?
Wellness means looking beyond just the symptoms for our patients. It’s not just about resolving the obvious physical impairments that we find. We talk about pillars of health: sleep, nutrition, movement, and stress management. Without looking at our patients as a whole, it’s impossible to reach that optimal state of wellness.
Wellness also means working with our patients to reach goals they didn’t even realize they had. We’ll often have young mothers for example, who come to us just hoping not to leak when they laugh or play with their kids. We’ll start asking more about their history and realize they used to love running. We want to get them back to doing a 5k, not just meet the most immediate goals they come in with. We would want everyone to leave our clinic feeling better than they realized was possible when they came in.
As a business owner, what are your favorite strategies to cultivate a healthy work environment?
A healthy work environment starts with hiring the right people. I get to work with some amazing team members, and we interview at least 10 people for everyone we hire. We don’t hire for a position, we hire the person.
As a clinic, we’re very clear on our values, which makes it easier to find people who fit here. Our vision is to put patients first, have the biggest impact in their lives that we can, and in doing so we want to change the way pelvic health is administered across the country.
One of the things I’m proudest about in building PelvicSanity is creating an awesome work environment for my team. At many physical therapy clinics, PTs are expected to see two, three, or sometimes four patients each hour. Their success is judged by how effectively they stay on time and how much they are able to bill insurance. I’m really passionate about being able to create the opportunity for our staff to practice physical therapy the way I believe it should be done. We have the time and the ability to work with patients to help them find lasting relief.
Finally, I can’t overstate how important open communication is with a growing team. I try and set aside time each month to talk individually with our staff, we do bi-weekly staff meetings together, quarterly training sessions, and individual mentoring throughout the week. It’s an area where I’ve had to grow a lot in starting my own business and continue to improve, but I can’t overstate how important those lines of communication are.