Author Archives: MHEALTH


I’m In A Little Bit Of Pain, Can I Come And Visit You?

Bill: Well I assume you’re referring to stage four lockdown in Melbourne, Australia at the moment where we are still open to business but we’re only treating people who require essential care. Steve might want to elaborate on what essential care means.

Steve: Essential care is that we can’t see people for routine treatment so people who might be coming for regular maintenance. However, we can see people who genuinely need care that may deteriorate or worsen to a point that they may need to see someone in an emergency department or a specialist. 

So the best way to decide if we can see you is to call us and speak to one of the physiotherapists and we’ll go through some questions to see if it’s appropriate for you coming for face to face. And it may be that you come in for face to face and then we switch to telehealth.


What’s The Best Way To Start Your Day?

Steve: The best way to start your day would be, once you’ve gone to the toilet as most people do when they start their day, go to the kitchen and as you’re making breakfast while the kettle’s boiling, so do some exercises, do a couple of stretches, couple of backbends, couple of squats, couple of whole-body movements to get you going and get oxygen in the muscles because oxygen brings the life into the body and into your muscles and help prepare your body for the day, I mean you don’t know what you’re going to do necessarily that day. 

You might lift something a little bit heavier, you might have to run to quickly cross the road because the man went from green to flashing red. There’ll be moments in the day that you actually can’t prepare for, you know, for what happens to you, but you can sort of prepare yourself for how you respond to that situation.

Bill: Back when I was a lad, you know I’m just the next generation after that, and sports teams used to do static stretches where they put a foot up on the fence and lean forward and do a static stretch. If you go and see a sports team warm up anywhere in the world these days, it’s dynamic movement, so there’s motion that’s happening so there is a squat, not necessarily a static stretch so I suppose expanding on what Steve’s saying, do some dynamic work in your kitchen which is that squat beside the kitchen bench, the push up. 

And then ideally, out the door for a walk, and just get that oxygen into your brain and into your body and get going for the day. So make the time in the day to get some exercise done before you, after you head off to work, take children to school, etc.


Why Is Stretching Every Morning Important?

Steve: Well, I always like to say, if you’ve got a pet dog or a pet cat, what do they do when they wake up? Does anyone walk up to your dog or your cat and say, Hey there, grumpy! I’m not a dog person. I’m not sure what you call your dog. Hey there Winston, I think you should stretch now that you’ve woken up! There you go, now you’re ready for your day. These movements that a dog or cat or other animals do is innate. Sometimes we’re so conscious of what we should and shouldn’t do we, just, again, I guess we get caught up in not doing the basics. 

So when we wake up, stretch, you’ve been lying fairly still for 6-8 hours I think it’s really important, get the blood going around the body because it’s been pulling, you know, in certain places overnight, get the heart going, get your blood going, get some oxygen into those muscles you know and that’s gonna help set up your motor patterns for the day. So whether it’s static stretching or dynamic stretching, as a friend who was a coach once said, just do something, get moving, get the little stretches or big stretches going, and it’ll just set you up for a wonderful day of movement. 

Bill: The motion is the lotion.


Top 3 Chair Exercises For Seniors And How To Get Started

Bill: Steve and I have gone on record before saying that the most important exercise in the world that’s ever created is the squat and the version of the squat will be sit to stand. So standing up from the seat so much that your feet go out of the top of the spring. Touching the seat not necessarily sitting all the way back down, and then just coming back down to the seat. It’s normal that you should be able to lift your own body weight like this between 10-20 times and not really having an issue doing that. So you notice I’m not pushing up with my hands or anything I can just lean forward, push myself straight up in the air. So that’s number one, sit to stand between 10-20 times. 

One of my other favourites, you’ve got a little bit of a side angle here but my knees are pointing directly ahead of me here toward in front. I’m gonna keep my knees there and I’m going to watch my left hand come around my body, just hiding my knees here and I’m looking at my left hand, holding that arm round as far as I can, the muscles in my shoulder are all working quite hard at the moment. 

I’m not moving anywhere but I’m getting really good activation around my shoulder curl and I’m getting lots of spiral rotation which is usually what we use in the spine for treatment. When people have problems with their spine we use rotation techniques. That’s the left side, I might hold that back around like this looking at that for three seconds. And then repeat it five times each side, turning around to look at it, keeping my knees pointed straight ahead, five times each side. That’ll be number two. 

Number three to get a little bit of cardio going is just sit on the edge of the seat and walk your feet, so hands across your chest so you’re not holding on, just walk your feet, lifting your knees as high as they will go. For some of us that might be just lifting low, others will be able to bring their knee all the way up nice and high so you can see some lovely Richmond socks to put some proper colour against Steve’s St. Kilda jersey there. And being able to walk without leaning back, stay nice and tall. Doing a minute of walking on the spot on your seat it’s actually really good work for everyone. Anything in particular you want to add there, Steve?

Steve: Ah yeah, I quite like, if finding that one too easy or too difficult, doing marching on the spot, holding onto the chair. So Bill if you were to stand up and walk behind the chair to go in front of you, and maybe even have the chair to your side so you can really kick those knees up towards the ceiling. Marching, yeah, nice. And then the faster you go the more you’re gonna get that cardio and that heart rate up, yeah. Fantastic. So we’re working on balance, strength, cardio, it’s a nice exercise, that one.

Bill: It’s typically difficult marching on the spot for a minute, it’s amazing how many people get out of breath doing it. And just to get your knee, your thigh above the horizontal is a difficult action for a lot of people.


Does Pilates Require Any Equipment?

Bill: The original pilates program is actually called controllogy. So Joseph Hubertus Pilates was not so bovaristic to actually name it after himself and that required those 34 movements, movements required no equipment whatsoever. 

However, when he set up his studio, he devised all sorts of equipment which may have a fully functional pilates studio so you can have equipment based and what’s called mat pilates as well. Steve’s been around a few pilates studios in his time do you wanna add something to that?

Steve: I was just gonna say it’s exactly the same as Bill, you just need a floor and for our elderly other clients you just need a chair.


What Are The Advantages of Telehealth?

Steve: So, in our experience by running telehealth and Zoom classes and appointments, there’s actually quite a few advantages. One, you don’t have to leave your house which, I know we’re isolated at the moment and in lockdown, but it means you don’t have to find a park, you’re not running late, running from the office from here to there, you’re really comfortable in your own environment so it can be quite confronting when you meet a health professional for the first time that you don’t know them, and for someone it takes a few minutes to build that rapport, we’ve found that that rapport actually is reduced, or, the rapport’s increased but the time to make rapport is reduced. Because most people are quite comfortable in their home wearing whatever they’re wearing and we can connect to them quite quickly and effectively. So they’re some big advantages that we’ve found.

Bill: One of the other advantages particularly with things like ergonomic setup, often we’re relying upon a client’s description of what’s actually going on in the house and when you’re inside the house you can see it makes it a lot clearer and we generally get to the root of the matter a lot faster. You can see it actually almost, you know, remotely be in their premise. 

Steve: Yeah and following up from that too I found most people who are doing their rehab in a particular room will go to that room for their rehab. So we can go through your rehab or your exercises in that spot that you would actually do it at home and there’s to be able to continue that on your own most people have better results by doing their exercises cause they’re already in the spot that they would have done it as opposed to coming in the clinic and do the exercises here and think oh I haven’t got a spot for this but we can actually work with you and brainstorm the right table leg or the right piece of equipment to lift that would come from your own home.

Bill: I’d also had a number of international calls, so clients who may have seen me and have moved over sees, so there’s huge benefits to consult someone in Wales from Australia or consult someone in America from Australia.


Is Pilates Difficult For The Elderly?

Steve: Pilates is as easy or as difficult as you make it. So we at mhealth target the exercises to challenge the person whether they’re elderly or adolescent or anything in between. And we are equipped to get the person to move better and move well. 

So without challenging anything in life, there’s no growth, but of course, we don’t want to make exercises impossible and hurt the client, so the exercises might start off a little bit easier and build, but the idea is to make them challenging because the more you challenge the muscle, the more it learns, the more it grows, the more efficient it gets, and that exercise becomes easier, and then we go again challenging you in a different way.

Bill: And, and the really interesting thing I find working with people who are, you know, older or getting older is that you can make massive improvements very quickly. So just because you’re old doesn’t mean that you can’t do physical things. Again, having a skill cognition with you to guide you through that process is, you know, it fast tracks that. 

But, you know, do we get old because we stop moving or do we stop moving because we get old? It’s the first one. We get old because we stop moving. So start moving again if you’re not moving and you will feel younger.


What’s The Connection Between Mental And Physical Well-being

Bill: The mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing are like a handshake. They are so intimately associated and there’s a lot, there’s a lot written at the moment in the popular press so we can go from people like Mark Divine with his book with Unbeatable Mind to, I’m just looking beside me, here I’ve Shannon Harvey’s book which is The Whole Health, which talks about the connection, there’s actually a film done on that book called The Connection. They’re just, they go hand in glove. 

Steve: Yeah, I was gonna say it’s very rare you find somebody in a lot of pain who has a clear head and, you know, you’ll find a lot of people who walk into our rooms or they say on telehealth, if you’re in pain the body is quite worked up and the more that you’re worked up the more that you’re thinking about your pain the more you’re thinking about the pain and the harder it is to relax and you kind of in that fight or flight space. 

So we work hard on moving you to rest and digest, slow the breathing down, get people a little more relaxed and once the body lets go, then we can actually work on the physical, we can actually do what we need to do. And sometimes, you know, if we have get that person to feel relaxed or comfortable or there’s something going on in their life, mentally, yeah, physically it’s just not gonna work until we settle those other things.

Bill: Talking about, Steve’s sort of alluding to pain neuroscience there which is a part of, a huge part, of what physiotherapists will do with you when we train. But to give you a little bit of a fun spin on that there’s a lovely YouTube video by a lady called Amy Cuddy, who’s an American psychologist and she talks about using a wonder woman pose to actually get your head in the right space to then go and present to, you know, present a physical, sorry present a board paper or public speak, etc. So that’s a bit of fun to go and have a look at.

Steve: What’s the pose Bill, you’re gonna show us? 

Bill: Wonder woman pose?

Steve: Yeah.

Bill: Ah you know the one, I’ve actually got the belt that repels the bullet as well so the, you know, you can see me back here. 

Steve: Yep.

Bill: You might do this. That is the pose to get yourself in the right headspace to then go and perform physically. And, you know, also if we don’t think twice about it now when we see footballers or basketballers with their headphones on and often they’ll be listening to apps like Smiling Mind before they go out to their big game. The connection is really really solid and it’s solid for each and every one of us.


What Equipment Do I Need To Perform Physio At Home?

Steve: You need yourself. That’s the most basic thing you need. You need a body, once you have a body you can do physio. You can stretch, you can flex, you can mobilise, you can do everything, strength and everything. 

However, things around the house like a can of beans or an ice pack, kitchen bench, a chair, you don’t need anything special in your home to do physio except all the things you have around you. 

If you want to do some more and you want to lift your game and do more high-level stuff, sure, there’s things like air bands, handheld weights, balance boards, the stuff we can always add, but at its basic, all you need is yourself and a few household items. Bill, did you wanna add anything?

Bill: I agree totally and, creative clinicians or creative therapists will actually be able to guide you in using things around your house. Some of the bloodsport we find in the clinic, we have some pretty fancy flash computerised, high-level equipment in our clinic. 

We might get elite level athletes and they’re all keen to get going on the very expensive, you know, pieces of equipment. We can spend three minutes with them and have them on the floor because a clever clinician will know exactly where the chinx in the athletic armour or where the problems are and where to focus. So, yeah you can certainly do things with just equipment at home, and it scales up from there.