Orthopedic Physical Therapy Services and Refresh Pilates and Wellness Studio

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Helen Owens, PT, DPT, is the founder of Orthopedic Physical Therapy Services, LLC, and co-owner along with daughter Stephanie Owens-Burkhart, PT, DPT, CSCS founder of Refresh Pilates and Wellness Studio, LLC. Helen can be reached at orthopedic PTservices@gmail.com, and Stephanie can be reached at Stephanie@refreshpilatesstudio.com.

Practice Location: Homer Glen, Illinois, a southern suburb of Chicago

Tell us about your practice. The physical therapy practice was founded in 1984. Helen was the sole practitioner with a single receptionist for a number of years. As a manual therapist, with additional training in cranial sacral and myofascial release techniques, Helen guided the practice to primarily deal with orthopedic dysfunction with a niche practice in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and head and neck dysfunction. In 1989, she and her husband, a chiropractor, built a large office building where she and Stephanie continue to share space with his separate chiropractic practice. Interestingly, Helen’s son is now a practicing chiropractor with his father. This is a unique family owned and operated wellness business.

In 2012, the building next to the office became available and Stephanie, a new doctor of physical therapy graduate, also trained in comprehensive Pilates for rehabilitation through Polestar Pilates, opened a studio. Since inception she has expanded to include four additional Pilates instructors, two yoga instructors, and a massage therapist. She sees her physical therapy patients at this location as well where she too specializes in manual therapy, TMJ, and head and neck, cranial sacral, and myofascial release techniques. She has further added functional movement screening, dry needling, strength and conditioning, pre- and postnatal care with pelvic floor rehabilitation, and specialty Pilates for golfers and equestrians.

Describe your average day. Helen sees patients three days per week and manages the practices on the other days. Today the practice employs three physical therapists, three physical therapist assistants, an office manager, and a biller. Pat, the office manager, has been with the practice for 24 years and has been an asset to the success of the practice.

Stephanie sees patients five days per week and teaches one or two Pilates classes per day. The group classes are performed on the Reformer and are limited to 10 participants. Private and semi-private classes are also offered. Stephanie has developed specialty classes for spine care and restorative Pilates that include patients as they transition from formal physical therapy into a home program. Patients have reported comfort in having an instructor who is their physical therapist and therefore feel that their condition is understood, allowing them to exercise without fear of re-injury. One of the physical therapist assistants is also Pilates trained and oversees the evening Pilates classes.

Describe your business philosophy: Treat every person with kindness and provide the best personalized care possible. We try to go the extra mile and let clients know they can count on us even when not actively under our care. Our clients are our best referral source.

Best learning experiences since the inception of the practice: Health care has changed considerably since the start of our private practice and having a niche practice has been advantageous to our growth. The addition of the Wellness Studio has provided a needed community business as well as a cash-based revenue source in the ever-changing picture of insurance reimbursement for private practice.

Benefits of Private Practice Section (PPS) membership: The high caliber of professionals that contribute to the PPS shows their passion about the success of private practice. They are unselfish in sharing their expertise. PPS’s resources and educational sessions help us as a small private practice stay connected to the constant changes of the health care industry.

New opportunities planned for the year: We plan to continue to expand the Wellness Studio and offer more community workshops to educate the public on the benefits of private practice physical therapy. We would like to expand into the youth fitness through Pilates and yoga to prevent sports injuries and combat childhood obesity.