Mathew Pulickal – A New Level of Care

“I wanted to bring a new level of care to Ottawa and make it accessible to anyone, not just elite athletes. I wanted to establish clinics promoting good, research-backed rationales and positive outcomes-  a unique culture that would make us different.”

Using the energy, focus, and tenacity that once made him a national-level sprinter, Mathew Pulickal, the hard-working visionary behind the Ottawa Physiotherapy & Sport Clinics franchise, has accomplished just that. Today, his nine (and counting) clinics, which span the city from the suburbs to the core, enjoy a professional and atmospheric distinction among Ottawa’s crowded physiotherapy landscape.

Pulickal’s success is predicated on two things: the diversity of his clinic’s services and the carefully cultivated culture in which they’re offered. In addition to offering  all of the standard physio treatments, each facility specializes in other unique, therapeutic approaches such as aqua therapy, custom knee bracing, dietician services, dizziness and vertigo therapies, ergonomic assessments, treatment-related yoga instruction, and more.

But where the franchise truly excels is in its leading-edge provision of manual and manipulative therapy. This advanced form of training is highly specialized, limited to Fellows of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapy (FCAMPT). It allows these highly skilled practitioners, of which Pulickal’s clinics can boast ten out of a mere one thousand in the entire country, to help clients achieve better results, recover faster, and stay healthier; a remarkable route to recovery.

Photo by Nicolai Gregory

The clinics’ other specialty is Intramuscular Stimulation, known most commonly as IMS. IMS is a total system for the diagnosis and treatment of myofascial pain syndromes, chronic conditions that occur in the musculoskeletal system when there is no obvious sign of injury or inflammation. And again, while qualified practitioners are few, Pulickal takes pride in having a healthy percentage.

Before opening his first private clinic in 2008, Pulickal had worked primarily with athletes. He was a seminal force at such high-profile events as the World Triathlon Championships, the World Track and Field Championships, the Summer Olympics, and the Pan American Games. He’s also served the CFL, the NHL, World Cup Soccer (FIFA), and every Canadian interuniversity organization you can name. While he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of helping competitors achieve their goals, he began to develop ideas of his own: “I started to wonder why this type of attention and resources couldn’t be applied to anyone who needed it, not just those in a competitive situation,” he reflects.

Inspired by his work, Pulickal set up a modest, three-bed facility in a small commercial hub in Barrhaven. From there, he was determined to expand into a franchise, one in which each clinic would offer an atmosphere as distinctive as some of its services. “I’m a firm believer

in the positive impact of a supportive and collaborative organizational culture,” he maintains. “It’s important to create an environment where both the staff and the clients can feel relaxed and where there is a strong element of being a part of something together.”

Photo by Nicolai Gregory

The clinic’s culture is rooted in the dedication of Pulickal’s staff, who receive equal attention and care as his clients do. Each employee is afforded a variety of learning opportunities, fostering a creative, inclusive and empowering work environment. These learning opportunities include roadmaps to inner-clinic leadership roles, access to career resources and other learning tools, and frequent, open communications that provide timely, constructive feedback. The result is a sense of professional and personal belonging based on transparency, trust, and mutual respect.       

“Establishing this culture has brought together a team of strong and resilient leaders that have enabled me to grow my business,” Pulickal explains. The clinics also enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with the University of Ottawa’s student placement and mentorship program, another manifestation of Pulickal’s dedication to guidance.

And while leading by example has earned Pulickal a number of awards, the true reward lies in the rehabilitation of his patients. The business’ core values—caring, integrity, community, dedication, and family—create a supportive and inclusive environment where patients receive high-quality care while feeling valued and respected throughout their rehabilitation journey.

Photography by Nicolai Gregory

The newest clinic opened in Manor Park in February. “It’s going so well,” Pulickal beams, “it’s motivating me to go after clinic #10 and hit those double digits!” But that dream might have to wait. Right now, Pulickal is enjoying some hard-earned “me time.” The Orleans-based entrepreneur remains devoted to spending more time with his wife and four children. Then, there are his aging parents, the Indian immigrants who taught him the values of risk-taking, hard work, and above all else, gratitude.    

“Whether it’s helping someone achieve a new personal best, guiding them through a challenging recovery, or simply being a supportive and encouraging presence, knowing that I’ve made a positive difference is incredibly gratifying,” Pulickal confesses. “Seeing our clients grow, improve, and achieve their goals is a testament to the value of our work.”

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