Tommy and Susan (Sellers) Bates opened Vilonia Therapy Service at 1070 Main St., about two weeks ago, serving the entire family from grandma to teenager to toddler.
"We serve the whole family," Tommy said. "What we say is that we provide your most beneficial care for your most beneficial time in life."
The sign out front of the newly constructed business says orthopedic physical therapy and pediatric therapy. Tommy, who has practiced outpatient therapy service for 12 years, takes care of the orthopedic side. For the past 9 years, he has been practicing with a partner Nathan Tumlinson in West Little Rock. Actually, he said, the Vilonia business is a satellite business of the West Little Rock clinic where he still remains a partner in that business.
His field of expertise is helping people of all ages dealing with pain and recovery. His customers include injured athletes and those with neck, back and spinal pain as well as anyone recovering from rotator cup surgery and knee replacements. Seventy-five percent of the time, he said, there is a specific movement that will promote healing. He strives to find it.
"The body is made to heal," he said. "Sometimes, it needs a motion to kick start that healing."
Tommy said he is one of two in the state certified to use the McKenzie Approach — a four-year continued education curriculum. His goal is to determine the underlying pain generator, develop a treatment stage and utilize a series of individualized movement strategies for the resolution of symptoms. The final step is prevention of recurrence, he added.
Susan handles the younger customers specializing in working with pre-school and school age children with a gamut of developmental delays including speech, reading and fine motor skills.
"The earlier you start, the better," she said, explaining her skills.
Susan is originally from Vilonia. Her parents, Ed and Linda Sellers, are educators in the Vilonia School District. Tommy is from Texas. Both were athletic during their high school and college years. Tommy played minor league baseball for about three years for the Cleveland Indians prior to an injury. The couple attended college together at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway — graduating on the same day in 1999. While they teased about opening a clinic together one day, the concept is a new adventure for them, they said, but a situation they feel comfortable in.
A growing area, the couple made the decision to move to Vilonia and cohesively offer their services as well as take advantage of living in a slower pace environment. They are making plans to attend ballgames and soccer as well as become active in school events. Tommy said he might have the opportunity to even do a little coaching. They have three children — Reagan, Grayson and Katie.
"I have the best memories of growing up here," Susan offered. "I want my kids to have the same experience."
The office hours are from 7 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. until noon on Fridays. The administrative staff includes Jeannie Mayhan and Sue Patrom. For information, call 501-796-3240.
The public is invited to the grand opening is to be held at 6 p.m. today with a ribbon cutting to be held by the Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce. Following, hot dogs and burgers will be served as well as a tour of the clinic.