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EW Motion Therapy: Our Story

January 20th, 2024 | 5 min. read

EW Motion Therapy: Our Story
Alana George

Alana George

Content Manager // EW Motion Therapy

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EW Motion Therapy has been serving the greater Birmingham area since 1999, and we are proud of our legacy as a company. We have helped thousands of patients/clients reach their goals, and we consider it a privilege to do this every single day at our six clinics. But I’m sure you’re wondering: who are the people behind this whole operation? How did the company start? Well, sit back and relax, grab a cold drink, and I will tell you the entire story. 


The Founders

Let’s start at the beginning (a very good place to start) and introduce you to the two founders of EW Motion Therapy. The EW in our name represents the last names of our founders: Mike Eskridge and Ethan White.


Mike Eskridge ran track and cross country in high school and during his college years at UAB. He loved physiology and sports medicine and had many friends in the field. So, when choosing his career path, he decided to become a physical therapist because they can interact much more with patients than regular physicians, and he was very interested in physical therapy school. 


Ethan White played baseball during his time at Auburn University, and while on the plains, he met Kathy, now his wife of 30 years. Kathy was involved in a volunteer program at Auburn, and when Ethan decided to tag along one day, he met the physical therapist who ran the volunteer program. She was a skilled physical therapist who loved her job and helping others, and Ethan was amazed by that. He was already interested in physiology, so his career choice was a no-brainer from that point on. 


So when did these two aspiring physical therapists meet?

In PT school at UAB, where Mike was one year ahead of Ethan. One day, they were both playing intramural basketball in the gym when Ethan fell and hurt his knee. The other players called over Mike, who had made a name for himself as a very trustworthy student.

When Mike examined Ethan’s knee, he told Ethan to put ice on it when he got home, and it should heal soon. Even though Ethan later got an MRI that determined it was a torn ACL, they became friends as they worked at Princeton Hospital outpatient therapy from 1993-94. They went rock climbing, camping, and mountain biking together and made bonds that would last a lifetime. 


The Business Idea

During their time at Princeton Hospital, Mike and Ethan gained experience with incredibly skilled clinicians. Their career paths took them on separate ways for a few years, but their bond stayed strong, and they both desired to go into business for themselves. They would continue to grow while making their clinic precisely what they wanted, and they knew that patients would benefit greatly from their skillset and philosophy. 


By 1999, Mike was ready to take the leap of faith, as he wanted to go into business with Ethan no matter what. Ethan was a little more hesitant, and for a good reason: the physical therapy market was not doing well during that time.

Nevertheless, they started seeing patients at Eskridge and White Physiotherapy in early 2000, out of two 10x12 rooms on the third floor of an office building in Homewood. Mike and Ethan’s product gained a great reputation among patients, and doctors who had worked with Mike and Ethan before had a lot of faith in them, so the business continued to grow. 


The Philosophy 

Mike and Ethan went into business for themselves because they wanted to do things differently. They were determined to judge their success based on the relationship built with their clients and putting them first no matter what. 


They wanted to take time with clients to listen to their stories and leave their egos and medical experience at the door. They recognized that everyone has unique potential and desire to foster that during the patient’s treatment as much as their health. And even though each patient has different goals and barriers, fundamentally, they are treated the same. 


Putting patients first is one of EW Motion Therapy’s core values, and they are not just words but are lived by every therapist every day. That is how we have stayed in business for over 20 years; our clients trust us because we bring out the best in them.


Mike and Ethan also wanted to change how physical therapy was done. EW has manual therapists and whole-body integrated treatments, and they are foundational to who we are. This is reflected the most by our incredible team of therapists. 


The Team

Mike and Ethan nurture professionalism in those they hire and look for those who have the physical therapy skills and form strong connections with patients. They also significantly invest in mentorship and training to create a team that is driven to constantly better themselves and never stop learning. 


Combining their philosophy with great therapists gave Mike and Ethan more business in Homewood than they could handle. They were getting requests from patients to expand, not only in space but also in what they offered. EW ventured into more wellness products in 2004, hiring Jon Delk to help grow the business, and then bringing in Jesse Douglas to help Jon begin personal training


They decided to expand outside of Homewood in 2010 with a new clinic in Trussville. Over the past 13 years, they have opened four more locations in Tuscaloosa, Hoover, Meadowbrook, and Liberty Park. Mike and Ethan’s product quality is consistent across all four clinics, and it will be in any future clinic because they train and empower future leaders from within the organization. 


The Future

Today, across our six clinics and with each of our hundreds of patients, EW Motion Therapy is dedicated to continued growth, staying on the cutting edge of physical therapy and wellness while keeping our core values the same. Externally, we want to bring EW to more communities across Alabama and the rest of the southeast. Internally, we want to provide more paths for our team to grow in their skills and grow into leadership positions. 


Our success will be determined by the measure that Mike and Ethan set into place over 20 years ago: whether we improve our patients’ quality of life. If we can do that, then EW Motion Therapy will continue to grow and better the lives of many.


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