Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Harris, MPT.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Shannon. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My initial inspiration to become a physical therapist was in my early 20’s, when a friend was experiencing neck pain. I touched the affected area to see if I could help. I was surprised how easy it was to feel where the problem was, how one area felt like it was a bit displaced. It occurred to me that if I could feel it, I should be able to fix it, and how amazing it would be to take someone’s pain away. But, I wasn’t able to completely solve the problem that day, I just didn’t have the knowledge I needed. Knowing where the problem is, and knowing how to fix it are two very different things. I realized shortly thereafter, that a physical therapy degree would be a great starting point for me.
My manual skills quickly grew as I began to work as a massage therapist to pay my way through college, and then as a physical therapist and orthopedic clinical specialist. My skills evolved through the years thanks to a tactile version of photographic memory. I remember in detail how a person’s tissues feel from one manual therapy session to another, even if there is a week or two between treatments. This ability to sense change in a client, or the lack thereof, pushed me as a young physical therapist to create more effective manual techniques so that I could affect change with every visit. I was somewhat obsessed in my desire to produce long-lasting relief with the least invasive hands-on therapy. The traditional techniques didn’t always do that. Through time, my work evolved into a distinct system of advanced manual therapy, which we copyrighted as The Bowstring Method. ®
When I opened the doors of Body Reform in 2005 with my wife Mary, we had a great flow of clients starting the first day because we chose a location in Beverly Hills, which was a perfect central point for many of my existing house call clients. The practice was designed from the very beginning to be a place you wanted to be, as opposed to a “clinic” you had to go to. We wanted it to inspire trust and comfort with art, music, views, and warm friendly people. We like to think of our ambience as a way of treating the patients’ nervous system, even before he or she sees a therapist.
Body Reform’s hour-long sessions of The Bowstring Method® of manual therapy, and our movement re-education and functional training program, has created a very solid and enthusiastic client base. By far, our largest referral base is from word-of-mouth, allowing us from the very beginning to maintain a thriving cash-based practice. Friends send in their friends, because they know we can help them. We’re very often described as the place people go when they can’t get relief elsewhere. “If you have pain, they can probably fix it!”
Body Reform continues to build capacity by very carefully hiring experienced therapists as we get busier, so that we can maintain timely accessibility and the quality of hour-long sessions as we grow. All therapists at Body Reform are also trained in The Bowstring Method® so that they can integrate our work with their already impressive skill set. This year we are also developing our teaching materials and methods as we plan to begin offering seminars in The Bowstring Method in the near future.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I certainly don’t feel like we’ve “struggled” in a negative way. We’re fortunate that our business is our passion, so over-coming the challenges that come with creating and growing our small company has always ended up feeling rewarding and up-lifting. Even some of my personal obstacles have gone on to inspire methods that make me a better therapist — and a healthier one. Old athletic injuries, as well as the symptoms that result from the physical nature of being a manual physical therapist for 25 years, are a huge reason the Bowstring Method® of manual therapy exists. The system is designed, not only to affect long-lasting pain relief to patients, but also to protect the practitioners’ fingers and joints so that both the therapist and the client feel good at the end of a session. Also, I’ve always been able to refine or modify my skills to overcome my various physical ailments. We teach that type of skill to our clients as well. The truth is, one of the reasons we’re so good at Body Reform in understanding our client’s injuries, is that we’ve had plenty of our own to learn from.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Body Reform Physical Therapies – what should we know?
We know that freedom from physical pain allows you to enjoy your life more fully so we do our best to keep you in the game, on the set, on the slope, doing the deals, in the studio and on the playground. If you’re free to say yes to opportunities, that’s when we’ve done our job. Our clients are our best referral sources, largely due to our one-on-one, hour-long, hands-on manual therapy treatments with board certified medical professionals. Our success is anchored by our own unique reinvention of physical therapy, The Bowstring Method® of manual therapy, combined with movement therapy and functional training. We have also very carefully and patiently built a team of seasoned manual therapists that share our ‘patient first’ philosophy. This has allowed us to maintain the highest level of quality as we’ve grown. Quantity means nothing to us, without quality. We’re also very fortunate that we’re unencumbered with the dictates of insurance companies since we’re a cash-based clinic. Our treatment protocol is based on what we know works the fastest — not on what insurance companies will reimburse us for.
Our team’s skill set is so good, we consistently eliminate the need for surgery. We are so fortunate to treat the amazing clientele we have. We have fun every day, and great clients continue to flow in.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Without a doubt, we consider ourselves very lucky. My wife and I were born in small rural towns to loving parents who valued education, hard-work, and the belief that we should contribute to the society around us. In addition, at every significant turning-point in our lives, we had a relative, a teacher, a mentor, a client or a friend whose generosity of thought or deed helped propel us forward. Even random events and strangers have brought us good fortune. Do we have grit, tenacity, courage, and a serious work ethic? Absolutely! But without luck, our “boot-strap” story probably wouldn’t exist. We’re also fortunate enough to abide by the idea that if we stay open-minded instead of fighting something that can be construed as bad or unappealing, something positive can flow from it. So, our “bad luck” can become good luck.
- Address: 9665 Wilshire Blvd. #450
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
- Website: www.BodyReformPT.com
- Phone: 310-247-8414
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @bodyreformpt
- Yelp: Body Reform
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