Based on 30 years of clinical experience, the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) was founded to establish reproducible, outcome-based programs based on consistent evidence-based correlations, discovered with patient biomechanical, respiratory, and neurological functional patterns and limitations. With over 60 Postural Restoration Centers and over 100 certified therapists, the PRI has gained momentum within the chiropractic community. Chiropractor Skip George was interviewed by the PRI because in 2014 he was the first DC to become Postural Restoration Certified (PRC). Dr. George shares what drew him to attend a PRI course and how his subsequent education has enhanced his chiropractic career. The original interview appears here.
How did you become interested in PRI® and when did you attend your first course?
In early 2012 I was at a Craig Liebenson, D.C. seminar in Scottsdale, AZ. when he mentioned the Postural Restoration Institute as a powerful tool emerging in rehabilitation and sports performance. I was intrigued to learn more about PRI! I attended my first course taught by James Anderson in Scottsdale and quite frankly it “rocked my world”. That course, Postural Respiration, changed my paradigm on rehabilitation, sports performance and my entire approach to chiropractic. I discovered that PRI was actually more “chiropractic” than I could ever imagine considering its approach to neurology, alignment, posture and position of the human body. PRI was really a breath of fresh air since I was able to drop some stagnant ideas and approaches that I had learned long ago and needed to replace. I wanted to become and stay more relevant in this new world of rapid changes in healthcare and innovative approaches like Postural Restoration Institute.
How do you integrate Postural Restoration within your chiropractic practice?
First, I think that the more tools any practitioner has in their toolbelt the better. This is the 21st century and the advancement of sports and rehabilitation science is growing faster than anyone can imagine. I am well versed in some of today’s most contemporary approaches to rehab and performance. From my perspective, PRI is the most powerful model for integrating biomechanics, respiration and neurology. I integrate PRI into an assessment program that tells me the unique issues a particular patient has then I provide a precise prescription for a technique that provides a specific solution. This fits perfectly with a chiropractic practice. In a short amount of time time you can gather a lot of information and provide treatment that will help not make your adjustment technique easier to administer but make it last longer and more effectively.
How do you use traditional adjustments that you learned in school?
I still adjust patients but with more ease and effectiveness when used with repositioning techniques with Postural Restoration Institute. PRI is just pure logic and observation based with tests that provide a baseline to guide treatment that the patient is involved with. I prefer having my patients take an active role in their care vs. a passive one that just relies solely on manual therapy or adjusting.
How much time do you spend with each patient? It depends on the need. I may spend as little as 10-15 minutes with a few of my patients but mostly up to an hour with many patients depending on their unique issue. Having a powerful tool like PRI enables me to practice the way I want to and I am not dictated to by the insurance companies. Patients have no problem paying out of pocket for comprehensive competent care. I think this is the model that makes most sense moving forward for any practitioner, DC or PT.
Do you do more exercise program than manual?
I use more exercise programming now, specific to that patient, than ever before. For instance, I am formally full body certified with ART but use much less manual therapy because of the effectiveness of PRI. In addition, and this is just my personal experience, it is much easier on my thumbs and hands than using manual therapy!
I know that you are also a CSCS along with your Certified Chiropractic Sport Practitioner (CCSP). What kind of athletes do you specialize in training with your sports performance training?
Pee-Wee sized to professional athletes come into my practice with a large sprinkling of weekend warriors and aging baby boomers that want to move well and feel as good as they can! I think my favorite athlete is at the high school level where the chance for good biomechanical coaching can be provided early enough in their lives and sports careers to make a difference. Once a patient has been healed from a biomechanical issue or injury, I like to provide specific strength/functional training to provide a more solid base for prevention and durability. I have learned more about identifying movement “faults” with PRI than any other approach I have used especially with athletes that have extension or rotation movement pattern issues (Which almost every athlete has!).
What would you say to other chiropractors who are considering taking a PRI class or becoming Postural Restoration Certified™?
Times are changing rapidly in the healthcare field. We have a great profession with a lot to offer but after 35 years of practice I can say from a “chiropractic veteran’s” perspective we need to step up to the latest, most effective technology and science available and not be afraid to challenge every status quo and outdated notion in our practices or profession. PRI is leading the way in rehabilitation and sports performance science and provides a scientific approach to treatment . I have developed a deeper and more sophisticated appreciation for spinal, rib and pelvis mechanics which are driven by the diaphragm and nervous system than ever before.
The best career advice I can offer is to become a master at your craft and develop as much competence as you can by keeping up with a 21st century approach while letting go of old ideas from the last century! Postural Restoration Institute provides a perfect link of neurology, respiration and biomechanics of the spine and entire body that fits perfectly with chiropractic philosophy. The PRC or Postural Restoration Certification is now available for those practitioners who have a passion for learning and want to be excellent and caring about their own competence and the wellbeing of their patients. One more thing. PRI is a science that takes time, energy and attention to be proficient. Every step of the process is challenging and totally fun. I challenge anyone that wants to have satisfaction on a deeper level and a more solid job security in their practice to attend a PRI course and pursue becoming Postural Restoration Certified.
Who have been your mentor(s) in your career?
My first mentor is my lifelong friend Bob Sleight, D.C. who suggested I go to chiropractic school. He was like an older brother who got me two great jobs in college. He had a physical and mental toughness that I respected and admired. I have never met anyone who read Dorland’s Medical Dictionary cover to cover and remembered it! One of the jobs Bob got me was managing “Vince’s Gym” in the San Fernando Valley, CA. He was leaving Vince’s and he handed me over his post. For anyone who remembers Vince Gironda, or the “Iron Guru”, it was a memorable experience that has lasted a lifetime!
The next job Bob also got me and introduced me to my next mentor, Dr. H.J. Terwilliger or “Doc.T”. I interned with him my two last years in chiropractic school. Doc T. was generous with providing me with a salary that enabled me to work my way through school and showed me how to create a professional and friendly rapport with patients. Dr. T was part of the “Greatest Generation” that came back from the World War II grateful to survive and eager to work. In addition, he had a terrific sense of humor and I still use some of his “quips” today. He had the attitude that you never stop learning your entire career and I am eternally grateful for the privilege of knowing him.
Craig Liebenson, D.C. was instrumental in introducing me to Janda’s work and my friends Jeff Tucker, D.C., DABCR and Richard Cheung, D.C., ATC have been two key people in helping chiropractors become PRC’s. Gray Cook, P.T. and Lee Burton, Ph.D provided me the opportunity to teach FMS to chiropractors and chiropractic students.
Paul Hatherley Ph.D has been a friend and mentor for 35 years and has been vital in my success personally as well as professionally balancing the internal with the external aspects of career and living a meaningful life.
How do you go about mentoring others in your profession?
I get many emails from not only D.C.’s but P.T.’s and ATC’s with questions about PRI, how to set up a practice in today’s healthcare environment and how to integrate PRI into a busy practice. I hope that becoming the first chiropractor to “PRC” inspires a whole generation of chiropractors to whole-heartedly put their professional efforts into the work of always expanding their “toolbox” starting with PRI. If you are a team chiropractor for any sports team, amateur or professional, PRI is absolutely necessary for providing sound movement and durability.
Who have been your mentors within PRI?
My first contact with PRI was James Anderson and I must say that being in a class or talking with him about PRI is inspiring. I heard him talk about this guy Ron Hruska who created the science of PRI and I thought who is this guy? Is he a wild professor who is a creative genius? Well, he is and Ron is the most friendly ,warm guy with a great sense of humor that you will ever meet. Talk about a “teddy bear” of a great guy who is not only really smart but totally relatable as a human being! Ron is a friend who is always interested in everyone he meets. He has an innocent curiosity and warm sense of humor that is infectious!
Jennifer Platt has been a huge mentor for me in this PRI journey. She has really helped with any and all questions, always returns a phone call and has tirelessly helped to bring chiropractors to PRI as well as everyone else. She has guided me through the PRC process and is the behind the scenes force in PRI and everyone knows she is a major part of the glue the binds the success of PRI. She has been one of my biggest supporters to help me become certified with the institute and further my career as a faculty member.
I mention Mike Cantrell now simply because of the order of meeting my mentors in PRI. Mike is one of the most talented people I have ever met and has helped me to grow in PRI knowledge in ways that would have not been possible had it not been for him providing long hours of breaking down slides and PRI concepts with me even when he was exhausted from teaching a course all day or travelling several weekends in a row. I appreciate and respect his dedication to this work and am grateful for his friendship.
As a chiropractor, which PRI course has been the most influential in your development as a professional?
Wow that is tough since every course has had a huge impact on me. Postural Respiration, when I first took it, intimidated me since it just shook up how I viewed the human body! To think that the diaphragm and management of air affected every joint and every move one makes was such a revelation. Myokinematics took me over the edge! Those two courses spoke loud and clear to me that this is a significant science that has such an impact on patient care. I also was a little sad! I wished I had this knowledge when I first started practice years ago! I didn’t want any more time to pass before I learned and understood more PRI principles.
You are currently training to teach Postural Reparation next year. What have been some of the highlights you have experienced in this training process?
Another wow! How about having Mike Cantrell, James Anderson and Ron Hruska as mentors in this process? This is been a privilege that few people can imagine. What I love about this process is that PRI brings professionals from so many disciplines and it is a big tent for us all. It doesn’t matter what initials you have behind your name since everyone is simply there to learn from each other and share this science. The big highlights have been getting to know some really smart, dedicated and super friendly human beings that care about being the very best at what they do. What could be better?
What are you looking forward to most with teaching this course to health care and fitness professionals alike?
Making a real difference for everyone I meet that improves their professional competence and personal satisfaction. It is really satisfying to see the impact PRI has on practitioner and patient/client in terms of healing and performance results. And, I want to share a “paradigm” shift with my profession to help chiropractors fulfill more of their potential by expanding their ability to be more masterful at providing the latest technology for patient care. I also look forward to learning more from everyone that comes to a course, student or instructor. I will always be a student even if I am teaching. Again, what could be better?
What activities do you enjoy doing in your free time in sunny San Diego?
When I get a chance I like to go surfing at one of my favorite spots. Hiking Torrey Pines is a must or going east to the mountains about an hour to hike in the “high country” is a favorite.
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