Meet the Team: Gabriel Wong

We’d like to introduce you to the team and people behind the company! In this week’s post, we’re proud to introduce Gabriel Wong, Westcoast SCI’s dedicated founder and physio!

How did you end up at Westcoast SCI?

Prior to Westcoast SCI, I worked at a clinic where I saw multiple patients simultaneously – sometimes four at a time. Seeing multiple patients at once wasn’t an effective treatment method and it was the source of a lot of stress for me. A few years later, I burnt out and decided to take a new direction with my work. I went into public practice at a hospital, which involved copious amounts of administrative work as a physiotherapist there. Unfortunately, I was still unhappy with my efforts as a physiotherapist and it made work difficult.

However, during my time at the hospital, I was part of a multi-disciplinary team of nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and social workers. I found myself treating the nurses for injuries and assisting in their fitness regime outside of work at the hospital. These impromptu and casual appointments found their way into Richmond’s Minoru Park as either one-on-one or group sessions.

Thanks to word of mouth I found that demand for my services was growing. I eventually became so busy I needed to hire some help and find new space for the aforementioned physiotherapy sessions. All this, of course, was happening on the side of my regular job at the hospital. Needless to say, I was pretty busy and nearly in over my head. Seriously, it was nuts. In spite of that, I still found some time to read like crazy on my daily commute and that’s where some crazy ideas started to formulate. Around this time, I converted my detached garage into a studio and that became an additional service space. As my side physio and personal training service began to grow, it became harder to continue working at the hospital. In the end, I left the hospital due to the pace that the private servicing snowballed.

Between then and now, I established Westcoast SCI and hired a great team of people to help me provide concentrated support for clients in need of physiotherapy treatment and personal training. “I wouldn’t be where I am without my staff and teammates, new and old. They helped mold Westcoast SCI into what it is today.”

Westcoast SCI is partnered with Twist Performance and Wellness in Port Coquitlam, which is a much nicer facility than what I was previously working with – complete with proper treatment rooms! Moreover, we opened a new location in Vancouver along Broadway and Cambie and are continuing to grow.

What’s your approach or philosophy when it comes to physio, fitness and health – how do you synthesize that in your helping clients?

Physios are stereotyped to help people after injuries. And we are 100% here to help them with those injuries, but we’d like to also assist people in preventing injuries, such as by teaching them how to move, sit, and stand correctly. It’s not just about weights, squats, and the gym. People don’t really know where they might be really stiff and we show them how to improve and maintain their body movements to get rid of that stiffness. I think we really specialize in creating programs that go beyond eliminating pain and restoring mobility, we’ve got a team that’s earnest in improving the general well-being of our clients through specialized physical activity and rehabilitation.

Your title as a physiotherapist might seem self-explanatory but how do you provide for clients? Do you have any specialties when it comes to the services you’re offering?

Typically, we get clients that have been discharged from another physio. We don’t just focus on the injury or single body part. We look at the whole body as connected system to see what might be the main source of a problem. For example: Knee pain – we don’t just use exercises that relieve the pain. We would look at the client’s posture, lower back, and hip – as all these things might be causing the knee to be sore.

What’s it like working at Westcoast SCI?

I love it. It’s my thing!

Is there anything you’ve learned from being at Westcoast SCI?

Balancing work and life. Setting boundaries before you become consumed by work is something I’ve gotten better at and am still learning. Westcoast SCI is a bit like my baby and so I’m dedicated to nurturing it but I’m negotiating a balance between taking care of the business and having my own life.