The case for becoming a Physio
I want to be a physio. This is not a new focus for me, I’ve been pursuing this path in some manner since I decided upon it in 2009. What keeps changing are my reasons. Currently, those are:
Licensure to practice manual therapies
Inclusion in specific training requiring said licensure
Diagnostics within my scope-of-practice
A higher income potential (my costs offset by extended health also = lower barrier to see me)
Do I want to be on the front lines helping people move better and with less pain? Of course, but I do that now.
Do I want to educate the public and further physical literacy? Already on it!
Do I want to help people realize their physical potential for resilience in their body and capacity for recovery from basically everything? Hells yeah!
Do I want to dive deep with an individual to unwind old beliefs and movement patterns that no longer service them or hold them back? I get an hour to do so every time someone sees me now.
I ended up a Pilates instructor because I had an (apparently ahead of their curve) awesome experience with a physio clinic that had Pilates in-house in Las Vegas. I was an athlete, and this was the first experience with a Physical Therapist that seemed to understand movement and my motivations in pursuing it. So, when I went to apply for a Masters program in Physical Therapy (the first time) I thought that having a Pilates certification would be beneficial. So I got one. And realized it was not valued as much as I’d expected. In fact, physical literacy did not seem to be of interest to academics.
No problem. I picked up a few more courses to beef up my GPA. In the meanwhile, I studied Pilates further and began teaching full-time.
I learned that I get to do everything I thought I’d be doing as a physio in practice, as a Pilates instructor, with way less expectation to “fix” anything. Either the work helps, or it doesn’t, but that isn’t a personal failing on my part. Trust me, that was a particularly important lesson for me; the recovering competitor. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to learn that before setting myself up in a position as an expert.
Everything I learn, and all the workshops I take, are gravy. Neither required nor expected by any of my clients. They’re simply interesting and give me such a larger pool of knowledge to draw from as I attempt to keep things fresh for myself. If I wanted to teach the same class to every single body I encountered, there is a market to do that. It is my own personal standards that dictate my continuing education, not a licensing requirement.
Similar to a CEO, my performance review is that I still hold a job. Clients ask for me. They return to my classes. I am, by no means, the only option they have or even the most convenient. I’d like to think I’m extremely cost-effective if you weigh maintenance of your body against replacing parts.
And, all of that would remain true if I were a Physio. So the real draw is that it seems like the next most logical step in furthering my education. Learning about the history of humanity’s knowledge of the body, and especially the pathologies we have assigned meaning so that I can speak knowledgeably about what ails us and what might aid us in our pursuit towards freedom of movement. I cannot participate in the discussion if I am not part of the group. That is what really drives me toward becoming a physical therapist and joining the ranks of rehabilitative professionals.
What I’ve learned most in my time as a fitness enthusiast and movement instructor is that the body is such a finite piece of the movement picture. I have to know all the rules to know where to push; first I’ll learn the body and our beliefs of it and then I’m heading towards the mind.