Snehal Tobkes, PT, DPT, OCS
Owner, Physical Therapist
Snehal Tobkes is East Meadow’s leading physical therapist who helps active adults 50 years of age and older successfully recover from chronic, nagging injuries without having to rely on pain pills, complicated exercise routines, or multiple visits to specialists’ offices.
“I’ve always been a ‘people person,’ and my friends know me to be a great listener who likes to help. It’s probably why it never really feels like I’m ‘working’ when I help people make the best decisions they can for movement health.
A phrase I hear all too often that ignites my PT Brain is: ‘it’s just a part of getting older, and there is not much I can do about it.’
I can assure you; there is A LOT you CAN do about it! I’m here to help you discover what your body has always been capable of doing, and you just needed some help in finding out how!
We need to take care of ourselves more than we sometimes allow ourselves to do. Prioritizing and putting YOU first because, without you, everyone else you care for can be impacted.
I’ve been there too, and especially during this past year. The work-life balance is even more critical now, and solving your pain problem is one less thing to worry about. If you tell me your journey to this point, I’m here to listen.”
Snehal enjoys working with people who also want to live their best life. She has been practicing the art of helping people make better decisions about their health since 2004 when she completed her training as a physical therapist. An outdoors enthusiast and all things Labrador-retriever-lover with interests in the science and wonder of the human body, the often underestimated benefits of good nutrition and healing foods, she enjoys exploring new ways of movement and exercise.
Snehal Tobkes, PT, DPT, OCS
Experience & Certifications
- Myofascial Cupping & Core Training 2021 Moment Institute
- Post-partum Corrective Exercise Specialist (In Progress-2021) Core Exercise Solutions
- Pilates, Yoga & Physical Therapy 2019-2020, Restorative Yoga, Sacroiliac Joint Protection, Pilates & Breath Work, Functional Movement Systems, Therapeutic Exercise
- McKenzie Mechanical Diagnosis Treatment Method 2018, Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar Spine
- Women’s Health Rehabilitation & Pelvic Floor Function 2016, Herman & Wallace
- Myofascial Release Therapy 2010 to 2019, Barnes Method, Active Release Technique, Anatomy Trains, MedBridge -Balance, Geriatrics, Herman & Wallace-Women’s Health
- Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) 2013, APTA Board Certification
- Functional Movement Patterns & CoreFirst Strategies 2005-2007, Institute of Physical Art
- Adjunct Lab Professor 2006-2010, New York Institute of Technology
- Doctorate in Physical Therapy 2004, New York Institute of Technology
- Bachelor of Science 2000, New York Institute of Technology
Questions For The Profile:
Name: Snehal Tobkes
Preferred Pronouns (for my reference): She/Her
Preferred Email (for my reference): firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone (for my reference): 516-587-0256 (personal cell phone)
Degree/Major pursued at NYIT: Bachelor of Science Interdisciplinary Studies 2000, Doctor of Physical Therapy 2004
Graduation year: 2004
Current job title: Physical Therapy Clinic Owner and Physical Therapist
Current Company or industry: Kinetic Physical Therapy
Main campus location: Old Westbury
Hometown: Syosset, NY
I am a first-generation immigrant from Mumbai, India. I came to the US in the early 80s, and my parents moved from Queens to Syosset, NY, around that same time. I attended elementary thru high school and college in Nassau County. My father is a retired dentist, and my mother is a real estate broker in the North Shore area. My one sibling, my brother, followed in my father’s footsteps and became a dentist.
My family on my father’s side has many people in the health care profession, so it was in my ‘blood’ so to speak, that I continue in medicine. When I transferred over to NYIT to complete my bachelor’s degree, I knew I wanted to pursue the sciences, but I was unsure what I would do exactly. I’d always been happiest in jobs where I worked with people, whether customer service in a retail store or working in a movie theater at a concession stand.
One summer, I decided to volunteer at a physical therapy clinic, and it turned out to be a perfect fit from day one. I loved chatting with people as I helped them through their exercise routines and watched as the physical therapists transformed people’s lives.
Being a part of that transformational process and being around brilliant people who taught me so much about movement and mobility, it was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. Helping people move better and make good choices about their health, it’s what sparked my interest in the field and still does to this day.
I continued to work as a physical therapy aide while I finished my bachelor’s, and I would continue this until I graduated from the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program in 2004. I loved anatomy and the science of exercise. I had figured out how to work with and motivate all different personality types during my years as a physical therapy aide. This gave me a solid foundation in communication which has been invaluable in my physical therapy career. All of this stemmed from the early exposure to the sciences during work-shops and summer programs my parents would enroll me in. They felt from an early age that I had a gift for communication and empathy. I was lucky to have the opportunities!
From 2004 to 2011, I worked for several physical therapist-owned clinics, one physician-owned clinic, the NorthShore (now Northwell Health) Hospital system, and the great privilege of working as an adjunct for the NYIT PT Department.
In 2011, I decided to open the doors to my clinic and started building a practice in Huntington, NY, not far from Syosset, where I lived with my parents. The spark that started this endeavor was feeling that I never had enough time with my patients to give them all the hands-on care and exercises I new that they needed. I was on the verge of burning out and I had just found out that my husband was deploying to Afghanistan with the US Army Reserve for one year, this added to my stress!
And when I get stressed or anxious, I’ve found it easier to deal with if I continued to work and helping others always made me happy. It took my mind off my worries. So I threw myself into the busy work of launching a brand new private orthopedic practice in a town that had over ten established physical therapy practices already! I like a challenge! And that must come from my upbringing; education was a top priority as well as entrepreneurialism.
My father was a self-starter and had built a dental practice in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn which he worked for over 30 years, he had always encouraged me to start my own business, and I knew that there would not be a better time than now!
So I opened the doors in late 2011 and kept busy building the clinic..until October of 2012. Hurricane Sandy put a hold on that! It took another year to get past the post-Sandy economy’s downturn and another few years to make a profit as the private insurance companies began to limit and underfund physical therapy services severely. It was a challenging time in my life, but it all changed for the better in 2013 when my fiance returned, and we got married, and Kinetic Physical Therapy began to flourish.
My business model for Kinetic was to keep people moving, and the inspiration for calling my business ‘Kinetic’. A body in motion stays in motion!
I help people make the best possible decisions for their health and my specialty lies in orthopedics, myofascial therapy, and movement and mobility dysfunctions. Providing true one-to-one treatment for my patients, from start to finish, spending time to understand the person, and where they are coming from is extremely effective in getting to the root cause of the problem. I’m able to transform people’s lives and daily functions for the better, just like I saw the PTs do when I worked with them in my early training days.
From 2011 to 2019, I stayed in the Huntington location. In April of 2019, I opened the second Kinetic PT location in East Meadow, NY. I worked at both locations as the treating physical therapist and wearing all the business owner’s hats, lead marketer, web page designer, and recruiter. Things were going well at this new location and I was ready to hire my first physical therapist! Much like what happened to me back in 2012 at the Huntington location, in March of 2020, the COVID-19 Shutdown was here, disaster had struck again! This time I had to make a drastic decision to keep the doors open for the people that needed me and depended on me. I made the very tough choice to close the doors at Huntington and remain at the larger, centrally located East Meadow location. My Huntington office just didn’t have the space to social distance.
In East Meadow, I could continue to treat one person at a time in the private gym and private room space the same as I was doing in Huntington before the shutdown. So initially, I was able to do virtual visits using Zoom and Facetime to keep patient’s progress on track. I was able to start seeing people in person for emergency care during the later part of the shutdown while maintaining social distance precautions and re-opened fully in July 2020. Currently I am able to see patients in-person or on-line.
I chose NYIT to finish my undergraduate degree and then to apply right away for entry into the physical therapy program, which had an excellent curriculum for manual therapy, my main interest. NYIT was also one of the first colleges to offer a doctorate level degree in physical therapy. All physical therapy programs nationwide would transition up from the Master’s level after 2000.
It impacts people’s lives for the better and helps them make good choices for their well being and health. I saw this for myself when a physical therapist helped my dad, who had fractured both of his wrists after a terrible fall, recover and function again as a dentist. He felt he would never work again, but the PTs he worked with motivated him and encouraged him to reach his goals. It’s something that I love to do for people, show them what their potential is, and help them to achieve the thing that they were unable to do because of pain or injury.
I never thought that physical therapists could affect people so greatly, I think it has to do with the fact that we see our patients a lot more than their physicians do. Most plans of care last for 1 to 3months, sometimes up to 6 months. Seeing somebody 1-2x a week for that long, you really get to know them well! There have been so many times that we started treating one pain issue and another concern pops up and so on until, once resolved, restoring function and quality of life the person never thought they would regain and transforming what they thought was a ‘broken old body full of nagging aches
My title is Owner, physical therapist, entrepreneur.
Right now,I’m also completing certification in Post-partum Corrective Exercise and creating a program for Women’s Health Services and Pelvic floor dysfunctions. Recruiting to hire for front desk, and a physical therapist, hopefully by the end of the year. Basically rebuilding the clinic post-shutdown, integrating virtual visits with in-person visits. A hybrid I think we are all seeing more of in healthcare. I think I am very lucky having had a solid background in computer science and information technology, being able to switch gears and roll with the flow has been invaluable in keeping my business open during this time.
The downturn in the economy, the uncertainty of the future, the changes in health care and insurances are all things I faced in my first year of business, right after Hurricane Sandy devastated Long Island, but I survived and thrived! All those things are still there this time, but the significant difference is now there is fear instead of just worry.
Fear of the virus, fear of the economy not being able to recover, fear of the political climate, and how it will affect health insurance for Americans as well as other significant human concerns.
In this climate, I decided to keep my standard of care the same but improve upon it by refusing to let insurance companies dictate the quality of care I give to my patients. I transitioned to a private-pay model of physical therapy because I need to give my people, who come to see me, the best possible care and that requires time. Time to listen to their journey, their symptoms, their fears, and goals and help guide them to a full recovery while making the best possible decisions for their health.
In my opinion, I think the ACA was great in getting uninsured people insured by offering new plans, but there needs to be an overhaul regarding physical therapy services. Right now, people are facing the choice between paying a lower monthly premium with a high deductible or a high monthly premium with decreased benefits. Most of the plans I see now have deductibles that start at $1000 and can go up to $5000. So for allied health services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, health insurance is not covering us. And we are the first line of defense to decrease co-morbidities in the aging population. Insurance companies would rather pay for dangerous pain medications and risky surgeries than conservative care that has been proven in countless research studies to have better outcomes. And now with COVID-19 we are seeing that overweight people, people with diabetes, people who do not exercise, are suffering worse. Health insurance needs to cover physical therapy services for reasonable reimbursement in order for small private practices such as mine, to stay open. What they are covering for telehealth or virtual visits is still less than in-person visits.
The root of most pain problems is the inability to change a habit or develop a new habit. I’ve realized over the years that most people can change if I can keep them on track for the first 30 days. And if they make it to the 90-day mark, old habits can change, and transformations in function and overall well-being will occur.
Although it is very challenging, identifying the personalities and devising the ‘plan of attack’ to get through to people is a labor of love but the reward is worth it. When I help a person to be able to go back to what they have been missing out on and the genuine appreciation they show you, it’s what keeps me going as a physical therapist and healer.
Courses in computer science, research, psychology, biology and anatomy, math, and technical writing prepared me very well for my profession. Every day, in various forms, I use technology to serve my patients better and remain connected. I have been able to teach myself skills beyond what a physical therapist does thanks to the basics I learned at NYIT.
Here is what I’ve learned over the years besides physical therapy: marketing my webpage, social media, online presence, digital, and print. Leadership/mentoring small business healthcare, networking business to business, accounting, sales, public speaking, human resource management.
These new skills were possible to acquire thanks to the development during my graduate studies at NYIT.
When I entered the world of physical therapy as a young volunteer in 1997, private insurance company reimbursement rates were starting to decline sharply. I started to see outpatient physical therapy clinics become more business-first and less people-first to remain profitable and stay open. Unfortunately, this gave rise to the “mills” that still exist today and may be called something else less terrible sounding..but still the same philosophies. When I became a licensed PT and started seeing how the feel-good rehab part of the job is at odds with the business portion in various settings (private practice, hospital, nursing home, home care), it became evident that if you wanted to make money and stay open, you had to have volume.
The insurance reimbursement rate per patient could not justify the amount of time you needed to provide effective treatment. The PT was seeing them for a smaller portion of the actual visit, and one of the essential treatment skills we possess, knowledge of how the human body moves and works, was unable to be utilized. Other professions started to do what we do. Small PT clinics had to find their niche area of practice to differentiate themselves from corporate clinics, personal trainers, and massage therapists. In a way, this may have been a catalyst for physical therapists in finding and honing their specific skill set, integrating exercises philosophies such as yoga and pilates, and offering treatments that did not exist before such as dry-needling and myofascial therapy.
I think we will start to see more “Wellness Centers” opening where integrated therapies help people recover faster and more completely. I’m in a space right now at East Meadow where I share clinic space with an acupuncturist, chiropractor and massage therapist. Clients love coming to one location where their care is looked after by many therapists, all with the common goal of helping people make the best choices and receiving the best treatments for the condition.
A game changer for small practices was the ability to advertise on Google and leverage social media to gain new clients. Once again the basic skills I had learned at NYIT allowed me to easily integrate the new way of advertising into my business.
One clinical rotation I was able to shadow Dr. Karen Friel (who later went on to become the PT Dept Chair..and still is I think?) for a few weeks and absorb information on teaching and instructing. This would be the groundwork for my interest in teaching and the expert level of communications I am at now as the owner of a small therapy business.
I love arts and crafts! Right now my interests are in candle making, beading/jewelry making, and improving upon my watercolor painting skills.