Marc Bastien

REACHING ONE’S FULL POTENTIAL

Interview by Derrick Scott and Mathieu Manning
Images © Vesta’s Photography

When one thinks of physiotherapy, they often associate it with recovery after an injury or rehabilitation following surgery. However, physiotherapy is much more than that. It can transform lives, improve mobility, and enable people to pursue their sporting passions.

Marc defines physiotherapy as a multifaceted discipline centered around enhancing mobility, flexibility, and strength to improve the quality of life. He emphasizes that physiotherapy can vary depending on the practitioner but essentially revolves around helping individuals overcome their physical limitations and enjoy the activities they love.

“If you have difficulty performing your daily activities or participating in the sports you love due to physical constraints, a physiotherapist is typically the professional you would turn to for rehabilitation,” explains Marc.

A Personal Journey in Physiotherapy

What makes Marc’s journey unique is his personal connection to physiotherapy. At the early age of 14, he underwent back surgery during which two rods were inserted into his spine. The extensive rehabilitation process he embarked upon to regain his sporting activities and daily life sparked a deep interest in him.

“At the time, I didn’t have access to a physiotherapist, but my family played a crucial role in my recovery. My brothers, one a gymnast and the other a hockey player, helped me with strengthening and conditioning exercises,” shares Marc. “This experience ignited a passion in me, and I decided that becoming a physiotherapist was my calling.”

An Early Decision

It is rare to encounter someone who knew their calling at the age of 14. Marc’s early decision to pursue physiotherapy is admirable. “I consider myself fortunate in this regard,” comments Marc. “Knowing my path from a young age simplified my educational and career choices. Physiotherapy is an extremely rewarding field, and I feel blessed to be a part of it.”

Evolution of Sporting Passion

Marc’s academic journey took him to the University of Ottawa, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Marc’s passion for sports is evident throughout his journey. As a hockey player, middle-distance runner, member of a swimming team, and even a triathlete during his university years, he deeply immersed himself in a range of sports. This diversity of experiences ultimately led him to embrace his passion by becoming a physiotherapist. “I treat all my clients like athletes, aiming to help them reach their full potential,” declares Marc with enthusiasm.

After graduating, he decided to stay in the Clarence-Rockland region. “Eastern Ontario reminded me of Northern Ontario, where I come from, and I had family in Rockland. I was drawn to the area, and here I am, seven years later, still living here, running my business, and raising my children,” shares Marc.

The Early Days

Marc’s initial role as a physiotherapist began in a clinic in Ottawa. He gained valuable experience working alongside experienced mentors. “I started as an assistant during my studies, which facilitated my transition into the profession,” he explains. “I worked there for about two years before deciding to open my own clinic.”

An Entrepreneurial Vision

“My university friends remember me always talking about wanting to open my own physiotherapy clinic,” he recounts. “After working for a while, I realized I wanted a different approach for my practice, centered on my values and goals. The opportunity arose for me to rent an office in Bourget, and the rest is history.”

When Marc decided to open a clinic in Bourget, some cautioned him that the village was too small for him to succeed. However, he chose to follow his intuition and dream. “I thought, why not? At worst, I would rent the space for a few years, work as a physiotherapist, but everything went well,” he recalls. Today, seven years later, Bastien Physio has two locations, one in Bourget and another in Rockland, and Marc couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

The Key to Success

The key to Bastien Physio’s success lies in Marc’s approach, focusing on quality care and building trust with patients. “For me, it was a priority to have more time to dedicate to my patients and not be constrained by time constraints,” emphasizes Marc. “Patients don’t want to feel rushed; they want to be heard. This approach has been very well received by the community.”

As the conversation progresses, Marc emphasizes the importance of his personal values. “Quality of life and overall health are essential values for me,” he says. “This not only influences my professional practice but also my life outside of work. I have a family, and I want to spend time with my loved ones. I also want to give my patients the tools they need to take charge of their health and not rely on me constantly.”

Direct Access to Care

The accessibility of physiotherapy has also improved. Marc points out that physiotherapists are now considered primary healthcare providers, meaning that patients often do not need a medical referral to seek treatment.

To illustrate the process of seeking physiotherapy, Marc provides an example involving shoulder pain. He explains that individuals can schedule an initial assessment directly with a physiotherapist without going through a doctor, a departure from traditional practice. This assessment allows the therapist to diagnose the problem and create a personalized treatment plan to alleviate discomfort and restore mobility.

The Future of Bastien Physio

When asked where he sees his business in five years, Marc shares his goal of continuous growth and improved efficiency. “We might consider changing the name to reflect our expanded services and growing team, but our priority will remain offering high-quality care to our local communities,” says Marc. “I want us to continue focusing on rural areas that may not have easy access to physiotherapy.”

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in demand for physiotherapy, which Marc attributes to better awareness and education about a healthy lifestyle. “Thanks to social media and easy access to information, individuals are better informed about their options for pain management and rehabilitation,” he points out.

For Marc, his greatest professional satisfaction lies in helping people regain their quality of life and witnessing their progress over time. He concludes the interview by saying, “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else in my professional life.”

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