The Unique Exerciser Experience Offered by Amity Physical Therapy

Michael Dow, the founder of Amity Physical Therapy in Connecticut, understands that physical therapy shouldn’t be focused solely on the fitness equipment he uses or the skilled therapists he employs. Dow’s business revolves around the most important part of the PT experience, the exerciser.

“We are focused on patient experience and work backwards from there,” said Dow. “We want every interaction to be positive. When patients evaluate their experience in a medical facility they’ll talk about wait times, cleanliness, dealing with staff. It’s about attention to detail. Think of it as treating family every time they walk in. A lot of medical people don’t think backwards and think that patients are doing us a favor just by walking in.”

Mixing Disciplines

Dow has extended physical therapy past just rehabilitation. He created Amity Fitness, a wellness and performance division, to offer personal training, group fitness, strength and conditioning instruction.

“There are so many ways and options to stay healthy,” explained Dow. “Fitness goals are a lot different. And not something that PTs always think about. If you add both together that’s the ultimate. You need to look at all sides of exercise and movements, not just segments. I built a separate personal training facility in addition to the physical therapy that we offer. If we blend both disciplines together we can have a synergistic baseline on how we should move.”

How it Works
  • Amity Fitness does this by offering a thorough movement screening by one of Amity Physical Therapy’s licensed physical therapists. The screening reveals joint or soft tissue restrictions, strength imbalances or movement sequencing considerations.
  • A personal trainer coordinates with the physical therapist and creates a comprehensive training program suited to each client. A nutritional consultation further enhances a healthy lifestyle.
  • Clients receive regularly-scheduled orthopedic prevention screenings to ensure long lasting results.

Added Dow: “The key is the screening. The trainer gets suggestions on proper movements from the medical side.”

Smart Fitness Equipment Mix

Amity Physical Therapy started with one location in 2004, and now Dow employs 55 staff members and has three locations.

Each location mixes standard cardio like treadmills, cross-trainers, bikes and upper body ergometers, with a variety of functional and strength training equipment.

“First and foremost, I have a penchant for health and fitness,” explained Dow. “I want equipment to be high quality, attractive and reliable. I take pride in the architectural look and functionality and flow of a place. That’s how patients rate their experience. What people see, feel and use is extremely important. The equipment reaches all the variety of patients we serve. Pediatrics to geriatrics. You have to vary your treatment styles and have the equipment to support that.”

One key feature of Amity facilities is the SYNRGY360 functional training system. The versatility provided by the unit is a perfect fit for what Dow offers.

“If you look at the fitness industry, trainers are less about reliance on equipment and more on bodyweight and movement,” added Dow. “It’s innovative to blend the two. Clinicians do the best they can with the tools available. If I provide a variety of possibilities, then they’re more likely to use them and provide a great platform for people to get better.”