How Do I Find A Great Physical Therapist?

There are a lot of questions that should be asked before booking your first visit at a Physical Therapy Clinic.  Here are some of the most important ones to make sure you are seeing a good clinician and get the personal attention you need for optimal care.

    • Is each session 1:1 with the physical therapist for the entire session, or do aides and trainers carry out my exercise program?
    • How long is the 1:1 time with the PT each session?
    • Are the physical therapists board-certified specialists by the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association)? In what area are their certifications?
    • Do the physical therapists have advanced manual therapy training in spinal and peripheral joint mobilizations and manipulations?
    • Do you have private rooms, or is the clinic one large open room with lots of tables?

Not all physical therapists are created equal.  As in any profession, some are more dedicated that others, and you will receive the best care with a physical therapist who is committed to advanced learning.  Here are a few ways you can find a great PT in your area.



DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

        • “The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a postbaccaluareate degree conferred upon successful completion of a doctoral level professional (entry-level) or post professional education program.”      – APTA



Link to Find a specialist

        • This is a link to the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.  There are 9 accredited board certification a physical therapist may obtain.  There are strict requirements to become eligible to sit for a board exam and maintain certification, so you if you find a PT who holds an APTA accredited board specialty certification, you know you will be in good hands!

CCS – Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Certified Specialist

ECS – Clinical Electrophysiologic Certified Specialist

GCS – Geriatric Certified Specialist

NCS – Neurologic Certified Specialist

OCS – Orthopedic Certified Specialist

PCS – Pediatric Certified Specialist

SCS – Sports Certified Specialist

WCS – Women’s Health Certified Specialist

Oncology – New specialty added in 2019



Link to Find a Fellow:

        • This is the website for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).  It allows you to search for those who have completed their advanced fellowship.  Holding a fellowship is the most exhaustive post doctoral level training a PT can get.  It combines clinical work, research, and mentorship.

Initials to look for:  FAAOMPT:  Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists

        • “Fellow” status in the AAOMPT is both a membership classification and a professional credential. As a professional credential, a “Fellow” in AAOMPT is an international recognition of competence and expertise in the practice of orthopaedic manual physical therapy by a physical therapist licensed in the USA. To achieve the Fellow credential, a physical therapist must complete a credentialed fellowship program in orthopaedic manual physical therapy. The “Fellow” is a physical therapist who has demonstrated advanced clinical, analytical, and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal (orthopaedic) disorders. Fellows serve their patients and the public by demonstrating excellence in clinical practice, education, and research.”                    – AAOMPT



        • A physical therapist may be certified in Manual Therapy from a variety of different Organizations.  Manual Therapy focuses on joint mobilization and manipulation and provides a physical therapist with advanced hands on techniques to rehabilitate patients.  Each organization teaches a slightly different method of practice, but all lead to advanced clinical practice.  A physical therapist must take a series of courses and pass a certification exam in order to carry one of these advanced designations.

COMT:   Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

MCMT:   Mastery Certification in Manual Therapy

MTC:     Manual Therapy Certification

CMPT:   Certified Manual Physical Therapist

CFMT:   Certified Functional Manual Therapist

Link to find a COMT manual therapist:

        • This is a list of Certified Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (COMT) from the Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars.  This is a highly-regarded manual therapy curriculum that allows for DPT graduates to advances their manual therapy skills in joint mobilization and manipulation.

Link to find a NAIOMPT manual therapist:

        • This is a list by state of Physical Therapist who are certified in Manual Therapy from The North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy



Link to Find a vestibular specialist:

          • This is the website for the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA).  It allows you to search for those who have advanced training in vestibular rehabilitation.


Link to the APTA:

          • There is a “Find a PT” link on the top menu.  This is the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website.

Prenatal and Postnatal Massage Therapy at EQPT

Massage Therapy for the expecting mother requires proper bolstering and positioning equipment as well as an experienced massage therapist who is aware of positioning restrictions during the various phases of pregnancy.  We are fortunate to have an experienced massage therapist on staff who is certified in the treatment of prenatal and postnatal mothers.  Polina Savelieva treats clients at Equilibrium Physical Therapy which is located at 261 East 78th Street, 2nd floor, Manhattan, NY, 10075.  Click the link below to watch her bio and learn more about practice.

During pregnancy, there is a significant increase in the demand on the musculoskeletal system from the excess weight and altered center of gravity. This can often lead to low back pain among other muscular stresses and strains.  Prenatal massage therapy allows for recovery of the musculoskeletal system during this time of high demand on the body and also is associated with decreased labor pain.

There is a postnatal recovery period where the new mother must recover from the end of pregnancy through delivery. Massage therapy has been clinically proven to relieve postnatal pain and stress, which facilitates a speedy recovery of strength and flexibility.

Here is the abstract from a recent study:

“Massage therapy has been demonstrated to be effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, anxiety, and leg and back pain. Cortisol levels decreased and, in turn, excessive fetal activity decreased, and the rate of prematurity was lower in the massage group. In a study of labor pain, women who received massage therapy experienced significantly less pain, and their labors were on average 3 h shorter with less need for medication. An underlying mechanism we have been exploring is that these effects are mediated by increased vagal activity. This likely occurs by the stimulation of pressure receptors that are innervated by vagal afferent fibers, which ultimately project to the limbic system, including hypothalamic structures involved in autonomic nervous system regulation and cortisol secretion.”

      – Field T. Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Mar;5(2):177-181.

Get to know Polina Savelieva, LMT – Massage Therapist

What Is “Direct Access” to Physical Therapy?

Direct Access is a state governed law which allows patients to go directly to physical therapy without a physician prescription! 

In New York for example, patients can go directly to a physical therapist for an evaluation and a course of therapy without a prescription for up to 10 visits or 30 days (whichever comes first).  If you require care beyond 10 visits (or 30 days), your physical therapist can refer you to a physician who can consult with you and send a prescription back to your physical therapy clinic.

There is also an even easier option!  During your first 30 days of direct access treatment, your physical therapist can send your evaluation and a plan of care to a doctor who you already have a relationship with.  Your doctor can sign that plan of care and send it back to the physical therapy clinic, which then becomes a legal prescription for the continuation of care.

The American Physical Therapy Association has been fighting for Direct Access laws for years, and now all 50 states have some form of “Direct Access” to physical therapy.  Check your state’s direct access laws to learn more about your location.


Come Take a Video Tour

A positive, bright, and stimulating atmosphere is necessary for an enjoyable rehab and wellness experience. EQPT is a custom-built studio with tons of natural light, bamboo floors, two beautiful mirrored studios, private treatment rooms, and hand selected original art from internationally recognized artists. Each treatment room is appointed with a manual therapy hi/lo mechanical treatment table, memory foam pillows and a skilled smiling clinician.

The clinic has state of the art equipment in the Alter G antigravity treadmill, a commercial grade total gym with a plyometric platform, oak stall bars, and video nystagmography for vestibular diagnostics and treatment.

EQPT is proud to feature the art of Michael Kagan with several prints around the office and a large 45×80 original oil on canvas as the clinic’s centerpiece. The waiting room has a fun vibe from a hand sculpted wall climber installation, and our private treatment rooms are filled with curated works from various artists and photographers. Feel free to inquire with the desk if you would like to communicate directly with any of our artists, we would love to make the intro for you!


Welcome To Our Blog

We are happy to kick off our shiny new blog to keep you posted on all the exciting things happening at Equilibrium Physical Therapy!  Stay tuned for news, thoughts and discussions from all of our great clinicians focusing on a variety of niches and topics in the world of rehabilitation, wellness, and fitness!

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