Should PT be the Top Choice for Fitness and Wellness?
Preview: CSM 2009
I have often heard PTs express some degree of ire when telling a story of how they encountered a personal trainer who referred to himself as a "PT." Obviously nothing sets the physical therapy profession more aflame than encroachment on their field of practice--or the dubious claiming of their credentials by non-therapists. And rightly so.
But should the physical therapy profession start take a more proactive role to tell consumers that it should be the go-to discipline when it comes to fitness and wellness?
We at ADVANCE get a lot of information from proactive and marketing-savvy PTs and PTAs who are in the business of fitness and wellness. They run Pilates clinics, own gyms, specialize in sports medicine, lecture on nutrition, work in conjunction with fitness centers and are advocates of active lifestyles. Many considered themselves "fitness professionals" before they officially became PTs or PTAs and "married" the two professions together. And they always talk about the synergy their two passions create-combining the clinical expertise of physical therapy with the patient-friendly accessibility of a health professional in their communities.
A session at the APTA Combined Sections Meeting 2009 in Las Vegas this year will address the idea of physical therapy assuming a leading role in the community as health and wellness professionals. More therapists should be able to identify a proper clinical and business model for health and wellness, and the session will aim to appreciate how more health and wellness programs developed within a PT clinic can contribute to the growth of the practice.
The session, "Physical Therapy as the Core of the Fitness/Wellness Industry: A Clinical and Business Model," will be held Feb. 11 at the conference and will help attendees develop strategies to participate in health insurance initiatives for fitness and wellness, such as promoting exercise and healthy aging habits.
Is it about time PT was seen as the foremost authority on fitness and wellness? Many therapists believe it is, and that encroachment in this area by personal trainers, exercise physiologists and others will end up hurting the profession and leave them out in the cold.