We had the good fortune of connecting with Adam Iannazzo, BS, MPT, PT and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adam, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Physical therapy has a branding issue. The industry is plagued by the “more is better” business model and by pseudoscience treatments that either help or harm the patient. I treated patients with the traditional interventions for almost 15 years with no better result than doing nothing. I was educated to stretch to pain, “break” scar tissue, provide repetitions and sets based on only 3 sets of 10 and use passive treatments with no evidence to back them up. We emulated put too much stock in manual therapy that did not do what it claimed to improve or change. I noticed that therapy was damaged by clinical entropy: Getting worse at your profession while gaining experience by not changing with the times and clinging to original theories that are long since debunked, like icing an injury. There is no evidence that ice helps speed healing and robust evidence that it slows the body’s ability to heal. It slows normal circulation, decreases the immune response and stops people from moving the injured part. Physical therapists are recalcitrant in changing based on evidence and the ridiculous “ice controversy” demonstrates this clearly. I decided to change my treatment methodology. I would look to science, those smarter than I and only use those interventions that have been tried and shown to be true to the evidence: Tried and True Physio was born. It has not been easy enacting a change in such a large industry and I am often ridiculed for my teachings. However, I can say with full confidence that I get better results and get them fast! My patients get better in less time, stay healthy and do not need me when a flare up occurs. This is the goal. This is Physiotherapy, not physical therapy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I was in my teens, I decided that I did not like working for people. I had very different opinions of how to manage time, people and what was the most important part of running a business. While working on my masters degree in biology and then physical therapy, I was working as a welder and electromechanical assembler in the semi-conductor industry and the owner of that business told me I was not a worker and I was an owner. That little piece of advice has stuck with me until this day almost 25 years later. I worked as a staff physical therapist for almost a full year and the company pushed me past my physical limits by requiring a certain amount of work to be done daily that was not sustainable and I moved to San Diego. It was my one and only goal to work for myself and that is exactly what I did. I found a business partner that already owned a business and during the following six months, while trying to prove myself a valued partner to a person I had never met, I worked harder than I did in the whole original first year. The work was for me and while it was more difficult and time consuming, it was for my company. I truly enjoyed building a business that would enrich my own life as well as my future employees. Unfortunately, that business did not work out the way I planned and while it lasted years, it did not provide the service I expected to those that needed it the most: our patients. When I left that business, I vowed to never place importance on income and put all patient outcomes first. To empower my patients with the knowledge on how to treat themselves and to promote independence on their own ability to heal over my ability to heal them. I would literally put their outcome over my income: Always. The day I began my next business, it changed me. I felt consumed with pride in the my patients improved, rehabilitated and learned. I did not make the income I previously did but at least sleeping at night was better. Just four years later, a purchase and a sale of a commercial building, moving twice, a business purchase and as always, patient outcome focused therapy, I can say with confidence that this is the winning business plan: 1. Put your customer first. 2. Your employees are next and the lifeline of your business. They are brand. 3. Ethics should drive your decisions and choosing the difficult road over the easy will almost always bear more fruit than taking the easy but less ethical. 4. Admitting fault, when you don’t know and asking for help is the way to success. 5. Hire very slowly and end relationships that do not align with your morality. 6. It is cool to be kind.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My friends interests align well but are also diametrically different. San Diego, pre-Covid is a perfect place to do anything and everything in the same day and I would start with a trip to get Mexican food from a local mom and pop (Madre y Padre) shop called Los Quatro Milpas! The food is genuinely home cooking that is perfectly flavored. The tortillas are so flavorful and of course HUGE! After that, COFFEE!! Philz, small roasters and little craft coffee places all around San Diego can be a perfect place for a cup of Joe. The beach, mountain hiking, Balboa Park are staples but I think a trip to Catalina Island is unique as the weather is so Mediterranean. Avalon for breakfast, some snorkeling or scuba and then an ice cream after lunch before heading home would be a great day. Cinepolis for a movie and dinner to round out the day and relax can be both entertaining and comforting with the food and even a drink if they desire. Honestly, the list can go on forever but spending time at home joking around watching old movies would be better than it all.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My loving, ever supportive, patient, strong and super smart wife that is the most amazing mother to our perfect daughter Grace. She motivates me, keeps me grounded and if it wasn’t for her love, I don’t know where or who I would be. To be sure, I’m better because of her. To Siba:I have never worked with a more ethical, hard working and dedicated part of my work family. Getting to know you after I took over has been an honor. I depend on your ability to figure out the most difficult parts of running the office and I’m so proud of how much you have grown in the role of office manager. Marisa: It’s been a perfect 20 years of working together, being apart for a bit and then reconnecting that helped grow our friendship and working relationship into one of the strongest bonds of my life. I trust you implicitly with my business and together we have seen it all but the future has so much more to offer. Thank you to my team. I love you all.