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Hidden Gems: Meet Nancy Imbeau of ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Imbeau.

Hi Nancy, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Growing up, I spent much of my time outside of school doing gymnastics and dancing competitively. I became interested in anatomy and biology in high school at A.C. Flora here in Columbia, partly due to experiencing and witnessing multiple injuries during my time as an athlete. I quickly realized that it was challenging to find a healthcare provider who could speak and understand the language and physical demands of dancing, gymnastics, and other similar sports.

I became very interested in and passionate about rehabilitation and injury prevention, specifically for dancers and other similar athletes, and eventually went on to get my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at UofSC and later my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Pittsburgh. I met my future husband, Andrew, at UofSC, and we moved out west for several years while he attended graduate school for his MBA at the University of Utah. Throughout college and graduate school, I maintained a “foot in the door” with various dance organizations while pursuing my degrees and continued to feel there was a gap in access to knowledgeable healthcare providers for dancers and performing artists, relative to other athletes.

Following graduate school, Andrew and I started our professional careers in Charlotte in 2014, myself as a physical therapist with a large orthopedics practice and Andrew as a wealth management advisor, with plans to settle down there for the long-term. In the summer of 2015, we were made aware of an opportunity to acquire a physical therapy practice in Lake City, SC. Andrew had grown up in Florence and his family was still living there, so we considered the opportunity for several weeks and ultimately decided to take the plunge. We left our full-time positions in Charlotte, emptied our savings, and moved in with my in-laws in Florence shortly after that to start our business.

In the beginning, we knew next to nothing about running or building a physical therapy practice, but Andrew knew enough about business from his time in graduate school to at least give us a starting point and allow me to focus most of my time on seeing patients. Through a lot of trial and error, we put the pieces together over time and were able to grow the office in Lake City from a handful of patients each week to a 3-clinician caseload in a little under a year. We continued investing back into the practice and community there, and opened a second de novo office in the heart of Florence in 2016. As we continued to grow and build our reputation founded on clinical excellence in the community, we were fortunate to be able to bring on several other extremely talented clinicians and staff over time, who helped expand our practice specialties and access to individualized rehabilitation services in Florence county.

Once our office in Florence was stable, we were able to turn our attention toward building what would become Columbia’s first dance medicine physical therapy practice. That was in 2019. Through a series of twists and turns (including the opening of two other offices – Camden and McColl-Bennettsville in 2020 – our son being born, and a pandemic mixed in there), we eventually found what is now our space in Columbia in the former Little Gym location on Rosewood Drive. We chose the Rosewood area because we felt that we could meet a community need as another outpatient orthopedics healthcare option in that area at the time. We also felt that the relative proximity to several local dance studios, cheer/tumbling gyms, gymnastics centers, and mulitple college/university campuses would be convenient for potential dancer patients and other student athletes.

We opened our doors in Columbia in January of 2022 and have been so thrilled to see our vision of expanding high-quality healthcare services to the community in Columbia, and especially the dance community, continue to become a reality. Our office in Columbia is truly unique relative to other traditional physical therapy clinics. We are the only PT practice here that has a full-sized dance studio space included in its layout, with 800 square feet of sprung dance floor, a ballet barre, and mirrors. This allows us to bring a dancer or other similar athlete into the clinic, treat them, and then reassess any dance-specific movements that may have been previously painful, immediately, to determine the success of the treatment and allow for “full-out” dance movement in a real dance space. We have two full-time Doctors of Physical Therapy who specialize in dance medicine in our office, including myself. As a bonus, our studio space includes 12 infrared heaters, which allows us to not only keep the studio warmer for our dancer patients (more optimal for injury prevention), but to also offer after-hours hot yoga and conditioning classes with our RYT 200+ certified yoga instructors through our partner brand, MOMENTUM.

As an organization, we are a team of manual therapy-trained clinicians providing one-on-one, evidence-informed care in multiple areas of clinical specialty practice, supported by our friendly and welcoming administrative staff. Among other things, our offices also offer dry needling, personalized blood flow restriction, astroturf for agility work, suspension trainers, squat racks and cable machines for functional movement patterns, Normatec and GameReady recovery systems.

We have been humbled by the support we’ve received from the community in Columbia since opening our doors this year,  and we look forward to continuing to grow and serve each of our communities for years to come.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think very few business ventures offer a smooth road, but as they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” We’ve definitely had an adventure, to say the least. I think our greatest struggle was continuing to be patient and trusting in the process of building something over time to create a sustainable practice with a positive reputation. There are almost always opportunities for short-term gains in business, regardless of what type of business you may be in, but ultimately most lasting successes are garnered over a long period of time. There have been many decisions put in front of our leadership team that could have sent our company on a very different path. We’ve always tried to consider first and foremost what is best for our team, followed by what is best for our patients, before we implement changes or make decisions. We believe that a lot of the challenges we’ve faced have been instrumental in getting us to where we are now. Sometimes you have to lean into those unexpected detours, but also ensure that your decision-making is logical and will still allow you to keep the lights on each month, especially during periods of growth.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine?
Our mission at ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine is to inspire and promote wellness through comprehensive rehabilitative and preventative physical therapy and occupational therapy services. We are committed to providing our communities with the highest quality of care, emphasizing patient experience, education, and optimized clinical outcomes.

We are an evidence-informed rehabilitation practice that offers one-on-one care for a variety of neuromusculoskeletal injuries and conditions. It is well known that a vast array of healthcare issues can be solved through lifestyle changes, which includes increasing movement quantity and/or improving movement quality. Our goal is to help our patients improve their movement experience, thereby improving their human experience. That is why our motto is “Move Better. Live Better. Play Better.” We also discuss other lifestyle factors with our patients, including fueling/nutrition strategies, sleep hygiene, and stress management throughout an episode of care because all of these variables impact pain and pain thresholds. We are very proud of our reputation for clinical excellence in each of our locations.

In our Columbia office, we are one of just a few dance medicine practitioners in Columbia. As dancers in multiple styles and former gymnasts, we can speak the language of dance or gymnastics with our patients and fully understand the unique physical demands and needs of those patients. Dancing, particularly, is unlike most other athletic endeavors. It is often a year-round sport, requiring anywhere from 10-30 hours a week in the studio for class and rehearsal time on average. Dancers and gymnasts are often susceptible to chronic pain and overuse injuries, such as tendon, ligament, or bone stress injuries, and often get a very short “off-season” from their craft. In addition to the physical demands of dance, there are also components of grace and artistry needed to be successful and an expectation to make everything look easy, when it is in fact extremely physically taxing. At ProMotion in Columbia, we get that, and as a result, we can develop treatment strategies that are specific to those needs. Our goal with all of our patients is to keep them moving as well as possible for as long as possible.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Maintaining a positive culture and work environment is the best thing you can do for your team and yourself as a business owner.
If you prioritize quality and service, you’ll be fortunate to accrue many positive outcomes and maintain a good reputation over a long period of time.

Pricing:

  • We are in-network with most major insurance companies
  • Our yoga class schedule can be found on the MindBody app or on our website.
    • Single Drop-in: $20
    • 5-class pack: $85 (exp. 75 days from purchase)
    • 10-class pack: $150 (exp. 4 months from purchase)
    • 20-class pack: $260 (exp. 6 months from purchase)
    • 1 month unlimited: $99
    • 1 month student/military unlimited: $89

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Nancy Imbeau

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