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Inspiring Conversations with Jane O’Brien Franczak of SerendipPT

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane O’Brien Franczak.

Hi Jane O’Brien, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
SerendipPT was founded out of my frustration from working in traditional physical therapy clinics, the control of the insurance industry and large therapy corporations, and my implicit trust in the direction I was leading. After 30 years of working in the physical therapy industry with insurance-based clinics, I could not take it any longer.

I am Jane Franczak, a physical therapist who has gone rogue. In 1992, I moved southwest from my hometown of Baltimore. I found my way to Sedona, AZ, and enrolled in Myofascial Release (MFR) seminars. MFR changed how I treat patients and how I approach life. It wasn’t long before I began working at Therapy on the Rocks, the Western Myofascial Release clinic in Sedona. I had the good fortune to work directly beside John Barnes as a therapist in his clinic and as one of his instructors for the seminars. Sedona was my home for 5 years; as new opportunities emerged, I moved away.

I owned a physical therapy practice in Lake Tahoe, NV, for 10 years. Skiing and hiking kept me active when I wasn’t working. Being a business owner was both challenging and rewarding. Wearing the various hats of a therapist, marketing director, chief financial operator, CEO, manager, or HR director was tough. I did, however, maneuver my schedule to allow for time off to train as a pelvic health physical therapist, teach with the Myofascial Seminars, ski once a week and take off for 3 months when I had my twins. Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis forced me to close my doors.

We moved back home to Maryland after 24 years out west. I worked for Johns Hopkins for 3 years before moving to the eastern shore in search of a smaller, quieter town. I then worked at several other practices but found that I was not a good fit for these practices. My desire to treat patients using myofascial release principles, one-on-one, focused, and centered, was impossible in these settings. The sheer number of clients I was required to see every hour did not allow for much more than assigning exercise programs to each one and overseeing them from afar. I could not provide more than 15 minutes of hands-on work to anyone. My frustration led me to launch SerendipPT, a cash-based practice, in 2018. I focused on treating people with pain and pelvic floor disorders. I rented a room in an upscale gym and started treating clients 2 days a week while working for a local traditional clinic the other 3. My business quickly grew. The clinic let me go on Valentine’s eve since I could not work full-time for them.

I was about to start a new job when COVID hit. Everything shut down, including my new job. I prayed that God would show me my path. I prayed many rosaries stating my intentions. I asked friends to help me to trust the process. As it turns out, people continued to call me for treatments. I set up shop in my basement because the gym was closed due to the pandemic restrictions.

In May 2019. I found a local healing center called Evergreen in Easton and rented a treatment room. People from the western shore began calling for treatments to relieve their pain. I rented a second room 1 day a week on Kent Island. To fill in the gaps, I worked at a skilled nursing facility.

SerendipPT quickly grew, and by September 2019, I resigned from the SNF and jumped full-time into my practice. Eventually, I found that I needed to gain back some of my time. I treated the clients, managed the schedule, the operations, the finances, etc. I hired a bookkeeper. Then, I hired a social media assistant. I enrolled in a business coaching program. My coach encouraged me to believe in myself and my vision. They helped me to see that I needed systems and automation as well as an assistant so I could accomplish more growth and have free time. My practice and my team continue to grow. I love the work that I do. I have learned that obstacles have to stop us. The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.

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?
COVID – was certainly a struggle; all of my work stopped. I had no income. I was over 50 years old with 27 years of experience. No one wanted to hire me. It was too expensive and not moldable. I had to work in an SNF ( skilled nursing facility) to earn money while building my clinic. I worked for the SNF 5-6 hours, then worked in my clinic 5 more hours.

FEAR – Even now, when my caseload decreases, I have to fight my tendency to go into fear. I never want to go back to the traditional PT clinic.

OVERWORKING –Before having an assistant, I managed ALL of the tasks, from answering calls to scheduling, ordering supplies, etc. I was working late nights and all day. I didn’t have much time for my family, many evenings or weekends. It’s a challenge to balance work life and family life and take time to relax.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
At SerendipPT, we resolve pain and pelvic floor dysfunctions so people can get active and stay active without pain medicines or surgeries. I specialize in Myofascial Release therapy and dry needling. Myofascial release is the basis for every treatment. MFR is s full-body, hands-on approach that releases restrictions in the body, releasing pain and restoring function. At the start of each session, I look at the client’s posture to determine where the lines of force are pulling the person off center, assessing for tension in the fascial and muscular system, restrictions in the joints, and noting the pelvic alignment. Combining my physical therapy with myofascial release, I apply a treatment plan individualized for the client. Lasting relief is achieved by balancing the skeletal frame, releasing fascial restrictions, and giving permission for the expression of emotions.

Dry needling relieves pain, restores normal muscle function, and reduces spasms. Occasionally, Dry Needling is added to a treatment plan to address stubborn areas of pain and tension called trigger points. (Taut bands of tight tissue). Dry needling involves inserting solid filament needles into muscles with trigger points. The needle allows the therapist to reach areas difficult to access therapy goals can be reached more quickly by using dry needling.

Unlike traditional physical therapy clinics, I do not send the client into a gym with tech to do exercises for 45 minutes expecting the movements to cure their pain. At SerendipPT, the client spends the entire session ( 1 or 2 hours) with me on a comfortable massage table, receiving treatment. When we say 1-on -1, individualized sessions, we mean just that. Just the client and the therapist are connecting deeply to release tight tissues, educating them on self-care, unwinding the emotions, and correcting at the core.

Clients are given stretches and self-care strategies so they may continue to treat their issues at home. Most people come in once a week for 6-8 weeks, then enroll in a once-a-month Wellness Warrior program for tune-ups. Others may come for one treatment to relax. Because SerendipPT is a cash-based clinic, we are not driven by insurance rules and reimbursements. We can spend more time doing manual therapy to resolve the issues. Most people recover faster at SerendipPT than in the traditional clinics because of our focus on manual therapy. Unlike massage, Myofascial release provides lasting results. As a PT, I can mobilize and manipulate joints as needed. Our treatments are comprehensive, authentic healing. The proof is in the pudding, my teacher. John Barnes has wisely said. If you are doing good work, it will show. Most of my marketing is word of mouth. I have been blessed with amazing teachers and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in West Baltimore, near Catonsville. My father died as an infant, so my mother, a nurse, raised my sister and me to be self-sufficient, strong, and independent women. We were taught to love God, be loyal to our family and friends, and enjoy life.

Our neighborhood consisted of large families with many children wanting to play. I recall playing with my friends on bikes or in the snow for hours. My neighbor and I would play all day setting up disasters with Lincoln logs, Barbies, and Johnny West men. It was the 70’s, and disaster movies were the thing- The Towering Inferno, the Poseiden Adventure, Airport 71, 72, 73, etc. We would spend all morning setting up the disaster, break for lunch, break it apart and start the rescue mission. My barbies were the nurses; His men were the demolition crew. We used my mother’s medical tape to put everyone back together. I guess I was training for a health care practitioner job.

In high school, I babysat for an orthopedic surgeon and fitness instructor. The children and I worked out Jane Fonda’s videos. I read the health magazines when the baby slept, so I began to love fitness and proper nutrition. That couple was instrumental in my path to becoming a physical therapist. We had several nurses and doctors in the family. I enjoyed hearing their stories about patients and the interactions of the medical staff. My mother encouraged me to study Biology at Loyola College in preparation for physical therapy school. I worked as a cosmetic chemist at Noxell Corporation ( now Proctor and Gamble) before I enrolled at Boston University as a physical therapy student.

Pricing:

  • $179/session
  • Discounts packages available
  • Total Body Diagnostic – $75
  • Injury Consult – Free

Contact Info:

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