Please read my profile and publishing history below. Thank you.
Matthew J. Taylor, PT, PhD
The story so far….
Born August 5, 1958, Chambersburg, PA. I grew up in Freeport, IL. Middle child with an older and younger sister. I attended small parochial schools through high school. Jock, student leader, Zeppelin fan, nerd (college calulus as a senior) and valedictorian of my class of ’76 with 41 classmates. Fell in love with life sciences and headed to Creighton U in Omaha due to my coach’s (Kent Shadden) encouragement as a pre-med student.
I filled the back window of my parents station wagon with school decals: Creighton x 2 yrs, Iowa State U x 1 and then graduated with a BS in psych/pre-PT from Northern Illinois U in 1980. I saw the lifestyle of my upperclass friends as they entered the med school grind and declined. Tried engineering for a semester (the ISU gig), then put the two together arriving at physical therapy by subtraction so to speak. Along the way explored the priesthood, but met a young Iowa coed sophomore year and the rest is history. Got engaged to Jennifer Collins May of 1979.
I was selected to attend the U.S. Army/Baylor University Masters of Physical Therapy program in 1980. At the time one of only two masters level programs, 13 selected from over 800 applicants. Being paid as an officer allowed us to move up our marriage and we got married June 21, 1980 in Scranton, Iowa. When we pulled away from the big party on her farm that night our destination was San Antonio, TX. What an adventure for two midwest 21-yr olds. The program at Baylor continues to be one of the finest orthopedic programs to this day. I was well trained as a musculoskeletal physician’s extender and loved diagnosing and manual therapy (radical concepts back then). Learn the parts, know how to move the parts = successful outcomes…or so I thought…
The Army Years 1980-1988
What a great chapter…amazing continue ed, espirit de corp and big responsibilities professionally. I served under Norris “Fred” Jesse, Ret. Col., who taught me as much about being a dad and leader as being a PT, at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO where my record for screening evals of ortho sickcall was 26 trainees in one morning! Three years of intense immersion in not only evaluating (to include ordering labs and X-rays) but the latest equipment as PT went through its own boom period of technology (Cybex, micro-current, electronic body fat, etc). We rehabed ACL’s just out of 12 wks of immobization and menisectomies took a 4″ incision!
One additional duty I was assigned was that of post fitness facilitator that plunged me into the fitness world, training at Ken Cooper’s revolutionary Aerobics Institute and leading by example as the skinfold caliper user monitor (SCUM) having a 12% BF and running/cycling, buying the new Nordic Track and Soloflex (to balance my hot Apple IIE computer with extra 128K memory card). From there we headed to my own clinic at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD at the top of the Chesapeake Bay from Apr ’85-’Apr’88.
Significant to my development were two events that would shape my future. One, the amazing human spirit I encountered working with burn victims as a specialty designator of mine. To witness these people fight back from 80-90% burns told me at the deepest levels something more is at work in healing and health than mere mechanics. The second was the first emergence of what my wife and I jokingly call, “The Curse”: the insatiable itch to push past the status quo and make even bigger changes. For me, the first expression was studying for and getting my securities and insurance licenses after hours. I soon learned I’m no salesman, but I also learned I could do about whatever I put my mind to accomplish… a new insight for a guy that was raised to not make waves and to follow the rules.
The Galena Years 1988-2003
In 1988 we left the military to get back closer to family and give our children a stable home location. We opened our private practice, Taylor Physical Therapy, in Galena, Illinois, pop. 3, 500. We took a part-time PT and single aide office and built it into an organization with 17 employees servicing the entire county. In 1995 we opened an integrated health club within the physical therapy practice, Taylor Fitness, Inc. when we moved into the new 4500 sq. ft. clinic and gym.
Despite the material success of the practice, I was still not satisfied with the portion of my patient population I couldn’t fully support. My entire clinical approach changed after my personal healing experience of my debilitating chronic back pain involving yoga therapeutics. Initially just a shrewd business move to offer yoga in the mid-90′s, my sampling that class would define the rest of my career by discovering the power and gentleness of an aware, new relationship with my physical body and the imbalances of my emotional, mental and spiritual life. Imagine, my trying to control everything, breathing from my chest in the striving created collapse and compression on my spine that resulted in a persistent posterior lateral derangement of the disc that didn’t respond to all of my mechanical interventions!
That led to my yoga-years, where pursued lots of training, plunged deep into practice, became the first PT to start teaching rehab professionals around the country in 1998. For more on the yoga period, read more here…its extensive but fun. Here’s a fun promo shot for my first nationwide advertizing campaign.
So no one told me yoga is the science of change…and change things did in 2003. The hospital where we had our contract got burned by their administrator, so the board brought in a new guy who managed to convince some board members that if they got rid of Taylor, they could have the income we were making for the hospital. Through a tough, ugly process we finally left town with 20 cents on the dollar of the value of the practice, with no support from a board we’d served for 15 years to give the community state of the art services. Ah, life! So that brought the “opportunity” to go start afresh with a the kind of practice I’d been preaching about around the country….something new and better to serve both the client and the therapist better.
The Desert Experience July 2003 – Present
We had two children attending Arizona State that year and figured let’s join them. Jennifer had just completed her MSW and wanted to do Hospice care. The state has true direct access….and a PT clinic on every corner!
I had the crazy idea that I’d open a clinic with no referral base, no PT equipment, just empty beautiful space for the therapist and clients to discover a more aware way to health and comfort. (Did I mention I finished by PhD out here, too?) So we built our own clinic…that took 9 months until April 2004 to complete. I opened the doors and waited….and waited. Finally by February 2005 the networking and word was out. Haven’t blinked since, dropping insurance except for Medicare in Sept 2007. At the time of this writing (July 2010) in the midst of the Great Recession, next available evaluation slot is after Labor Day.
What did I learn during this process?
I learned that I have a profound passion for bringing back the full humanity of health care in rehabilitation.
I learned and am learning that emerging science reinforces my personal experience of healing and that with the scope of practice of rehab professionals we can facilitate transformational healing and change.
I know that I work day and night to bring forward a higher level of conscious to leave behind a better world for these three amazing young adults Jennifer and I have been privileged to raise.
The rest of this website outlines where I am today in my quest to Create the Future of Rehabilitation…Now!
I hope you and I might write this next chapter together…
I’d like to hear your story now…
Physical Therapy & Yoga Therapy
Dynamic Systems Rehabilitation Clinic, Founder
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I enjoy bridging rehabilitation with yoga therapy http://www.drofyoga.com
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