What is the meaning behind IPA?

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In 1978, when the Institute of Physical Art was founded, it was originally named The Institute of Preventative and Rehabilitative Physical Therapy. Quite the mouthful! (And not so intriguing.) Thus, in 1979, founders Vicky and Gregg Johnson knew they needed to search for the name that would capture the true essence of the journey IPA would embark on, while also knowing they needed something short and catchy.

They wanted a name that would express the creative application of knowledge required of Physical Therapists to treat the individuals that walked through the door. The perfect combination of skill and knowledge from years of education and a need to think outside the box.

Inspired by the influential physical therapists that had come before them, Gregg and Vicky had some ideas that they wanted to incorporate. Dr. Paris founded The Institute of Physical Therapy, a PT continuing education organization. To Vicky and Gregg, the word “institute” represented the structure and framework that they would impart on PTs, and “physical” just had to be there – we are physical therapists after all! Something was still needed, though. That last bit of inspiration that would make IPA unique.

Another physical therapist that had impacted Gregg and Vicky came to mind – Maggie Knott, one of their mentors. She taught that all patients have existing potential. As they reflected on her lessons, they felt that each body was like an empty canvas from which an artist creates a masterpiece, maximizing the potential of the elements laid before them. This was the epitome of what they wanted to teach. They wanted to inspire the artist in every PT and to teach them to use skill, vision, and heart to guide each patient to their maximum potential. And as the name Institute of Physical Art came to them, they knew it had that perfect balance.

Little did they know that at the same time a brew from the past would be making its comeback!

-Diane Richmond PT, DPT, CSCS

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