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Meet Amanda Painter of The Rowing Doc in Highlands

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Painter.

Amanda, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Being an entrepreneur is driven by a sense of purpose mixed with a desire to change the way healthcare is provided in our society. I believe in providing quality healthcare through an emphasis on preventing injuries rather than reacting to them. I also believe that people just want to be heard. My first priority when I work with people is to listen. This is a skill that seems to have been removed from healthcare in favor of profit margins.

After five years as a staff physical therapist, I realized I hated my job. My patients weren’t getting the care they deserved with the way our healthcare system is designed. Specifically, insurance companies dictated how I treated with regard to the length of appointment time and a number of visits. This left me frustrated and sad. On Memorial Day 2018, I met a group of healthcare professionals all eager to provide the best care possible and start enjoying our profession again. Because of this supportive network, I decided to make a change and started my own business as The Rowing Doc.

I began rowing in 2001 and over the past 18 years have fallen in love with the sport. Rowing has an ability to unite people in a boat and have people work together in silence. No other sport encourages teamwork in silence. When you are in a boat with your teammates in perfect synchronized motion and your boat glides effortlessly across the water, there is a true sense of accomplishment and serenity. My love of rowing has led me to create a business that helps other people row effectively and pain-free so that they can continue their passion for as long as they desire.

Not only have I created a business around my love of rowing, but it has also inspired me to set a very large four-year goal. In December 2022, I plan to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. It is amazing how one year ago I felt defeated and trapped, and now all I see is hope.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being an entrepreneur has definitely not been a smooth road. Honestly, the first time I rowed, it was a means-to-an-end. In high school, I had to participate in a sport every season but basketball was my true passion. During the season, I injured my ankle for a second time requiring ankle surgery, meaning playing basketball was much more challenging. It wasn’t until 2002 that I enjoyed rowing. I rowed for the remainder of high school and joined the crew team my freshman year of college. When I started rowing in college, I was put in a boat with people who hated the sport. I couldn’t understand why people would voluntarily wake up at 5 am just to complain. Since I am not a morning person, this was not really ideal as I enjoy the silence. Consequently, I quit the sport I loved, which was really hard to accept, since I had chosen a division one rowing school for this reason. Despite that experience, I started rowing on the rowing machine for another 10 years and it wasn’t until this year (2019) that I returned to the water and re-ignited my passion for this sport.

As a Physical Therapist, I always wanted to own my own practice and in February 2018, I decided to open a clinic in a CrossFit box. However, by late May 2018, I realized I wasn’t moving forward with my clinic because my heart wasn’t in it. I realized I left the classic physical therapy office because I was miserable. I was concerned that I would create a business (brick and mortar) that would likely prohibit me from living the lifestyle I desire. So I started this online business because I have dreams. Not just to cross an ocean, but also to help people from anywhere and everywhere the way they deserve to be helped, and listened to.

There are people who lift you up and encourage you, and there are people who do the opposite. My mentor calls it an abundance mindset. Before I found a group of healthcare professionals with the abundance mindset to help lift me up and push me to succeed, there were the nay-sayers. People said it wasn’t possible to create an online physical therapy practice. There are also those who say I am competing with them and I should just be happy as an employee. There are even people who said I would fail. I didn’t need to be with negative people when my own brain is already telling me the negative things on a daily basis. The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is finding people who are like-minded and getting out of your own head. Once you find your tribe of people, hold on tight, because you need them to counter all the negativity.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Rowing Doc story. Tell us more about it.
Have you ever been to physical therapy? Well, if you have, you will probably be shocked to hear that I operate 100% virtually, online, through a computer. No massages, no in-person meetings, but all through your computer or phone. My services are either course based, or through FaceTime -like calls where I can help people almost anywhere. You can be at your office, in your home, on vacation skiing, have pain, and get help without needing to drive to see me. That is something most people don’t think of, but honestly, most of what I do is education. We often forget how much we know and how little others know. I can share my knowledge with you and help you from anywhere. That is what technology and innovation have created and I am honored to create a business with that in mind.

I am The Rowing Doc and my business is Strong and Empowered Rowing and Strong and Empowered Physio. I help people row on the water or with rowing machines without aches and pains so that they can do what they love and stay active without unnecessary surgeries and enjoy life to its fullest. I provide online one-on-one consultations to help people not have pain so they can get back to activities more quickly and not be scared. I am currently working on a 6-week online course to teach people how to row on the rowing machine more effectively so that they don’t get hurt in the future, I am also providing rowing training programs, mobility programming, and strength training programs that are individualized for you and your body and lifestyle. Not only that, but I plan on having CEU courses to help fellow Physical Therapists that want to work in CrossFit boxes, get comfortable with the rowing machine, along with lots of other mini-courses.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see a major shift in the physical therapy profession in the next five years, but realistically it may be ten. There are a couple of trends that are taking place slowly, and that will likely become the norm in the future. The first is cash-based services. The healthcare system does not have people in mind but rather profits/money. People want to be listened to, they want to know they aren’t alone, they want to know that someone cares, and they want answers. Sadly, there are too many people getting temporary fixes, medications, injections, and some are just being tossed from person to person. I personally saw six different health care professionals before finding someone that was able to help me with my issues and to find someone that actually listened to me and cared. I had to pay out-of-pocket, but it was the best thing I did. There is a large group of physical therapists moving to a cash-based model because we simply want to help people. We want to spend an hour with our clients, listen, and help them reach their goals. More and more physical therapists are beginning to do this and it’s because we are thinking of our clients. Along with this, more of us are starting to go online with our services so we can provide tele-rehab services from the comfort of your home for convenience.

Healthcare has resulted in people getting stuck in the system without resolution. I believe that in 10 years, people will understand what physical therapists really do and will see us as primary care providers for musculoskeletal injuries. Physical therapists want to help people to achieve the best functional outcomes. If we can’t, we will send you to the best provider that can help you. Many physical therapists have Doctorate degrees and have been to three years of graduate school mastering our knowledge of the human body. The amount of knowledge we have related to the musculoskeletal and nervous systems… and so much more is extensive. Physical therapists truly compliment medical physicians’ work to create a healthy balance in people’s lives. There are shifts happening and I hope they continue.


  • One-on-one online video consultation – $110.00
  • 6 week learn how to row on the rowing machine course (coming July 1) – $397.00
  • Rowing and strength training workouts with video consult – $49/mo
  • Personalized mobility assessment and program – $89
  • Rowing for Physical Therapists Course – 129.00

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Delaney McGinn

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