This post is part of Kitchissippi Favourites, a series of sponsored profiles about some great local businesses. You can find them all in the May 26 issue of KT.
Elliot Vlad likes to tell the story of one patient he treated who had recurring neck pain that kept her from her passion – running. The advice she received from various medical and therapy professionals was to stop running. Elliot’s advice: “Keep running but let us address your pain with a whole body approach.” She recently completed the Boston Marathon.
Elliot, who specializes in manual osteopathy, and his wife Tamara Bond-Vlad, a physiotherapist, are the therapy power houses behind Life Therapies. What began as a small business in their own home, has grown to 13 practitioners in a beautiful old converted house in the middle of the West Wellington strip.
Their mantra, “Helping you master the art of pain-free living” sums up the vision they have for all their clients. The idea behind their multidisciplinary clinic is that the body gets treated as a whole with a combination of natural and traditional therapeutic services.
Each client that walks into this homey and absolutely non-institutional environment is treated as an individual. And each individual is given a tailor-made strategy to facilitate healing, whether it’s through osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, life coaching, holistic nutrition or stress management counselling – or usually a combination of two or more.
“We use a family approach,” says Elliot. “Our philosophy is quite simply to deal with the underlying cause of what a patient’s issue is in a personal way. If this was my mother coming in, how would we treat her?”
Elliot’s passion for healing comes from a very personal near-tragedy. A former world-class gymnast, at 17 he was in a very serious car accident that left him paralyzed. After spending a year in hospitals, he began the very arduous process of beginning to heal. This involved teaching himself to walk and learning how to overcome pain, depression, frustration and defeat.
As difficult as it was, it was this catalyst that put him on the lifelong course he would follow: the journey of the art of healing.
He has a Kinesiology degree, is a registered massage therapist and following a seven year program, became an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner in 2010. It was his own experience with the belief that health is about balance – in life, body, mind and spirit – that fuels his passion to heal others.
What sets Life Therapies apart from other clinics is what Elliot calls the fluid nature of the clinic and wide array of therapies all under one roof.
“We are unique in that we have one file per client, along with a communication chart that follows the client to each practitioner,” he explains. “Each client gets an individually-made treatment plan.”
It all boils down to pain and what the underlying causes are, keeping in mind that pain, or rather lack thereof, and emotional wellness go hand in hand.
When clients first call Life Therapies, they are carefully questioned to determine which therapy might best suit their needs. And because they are open on Saturdays, and start early and close late on weekdays (7 a.m. – 8:30 pm most days) it’s easy to schedule appointments around workday commitments.
In line with their vision of health promotion, Life Therapies also offers workshops and special courses on health and well-being.
Elliot and his wife love that they live close enough to walk to work. While many of their clients are from the neighbourhood, many come from as far away as Perth and Montreal. This community business is thriving and growing, but Elliot’s commitment is to never lose the quality and vision of personal care and individual treatment.
“Our clients are our extended family,” he says. He jokes that the biggest compliment they get is to find one of their clients still there, two hours after an appointment, sipping tea.
“Osteopathy is what has made me the man I have become today,” says this fit, proud, father of three. Watching him walk through the office, it’s hard to believe this person was once told he might face the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
“You should see me on the dance floor,” he quips.