This blog post is a bit different as it is more of a newsletter to keep you all updated on what I’ve been up to lately, and how I’ve been using lockdown to help develop my knowledge and help to expand my services in the future. First, I will answer perhaps the most pressing question that many of you will no doubt want to know, which is when I will be returning to practice as normal. This is obviously a very troubling time for many, and while there have been major steps taken recently to ease the lockdown restrictions and return to normal life, unfortunately my profession has not yet been included within this. Therefore, we will have no choice but to wait a bit longer, however hopefully I will hear good news in the next couple of weeks, and I will of course keep you all updated on any developments.
One benefit the lockdown has given me is the opportunity for self-development. This I feel is of vital importance in any profession, but especially in those such as mine where you help to improve the health of individuals. It is essential therefore to actively engage in as much Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as you can, in order to achieve the best outcomes possible for clients. While I have not been treating patients, I have had more time to do this. The first bit of CPD I did was an online course focusing on lower limb biomechanics and foot orthotics. This has led to a better understanding of foot and lower leg issues, which also compliments the focus of my masters degree (which specialised in the foot and footwear), so it is fast becoming an area of particular interest for me. Furthermore, I feel this course provided a good foundation of knowledge for potential further study in this area in the near future, as I have started looking in to options to soon become qualified to provide orthotics to my patients. If you would like to read about the benefits of using orthotics, then there is a blog post on them that I published last year, and you can read it HERE.
Upon completion of the lower limb biomechanics course, I soon moved on to my next one, as I am now making good progress working through the online components of my Diploma in Fitness Instructing and Personal Training. When the gyms open again, I should soon be able to complete the practical training too. This course combines the level 2 gym instructor and level 3 personal training qualifications. This is something I have been considering doing for a while, as not only do I feel it is heavily interrelated to what I already do, but I think the expansion to my services that I will be able to offer upon qualification will immensely benefit my clients who choose to take advantage.
I often talk about the importance of strengthening when it comes to alleviating biomechanical issues – in essence, most injury problems I see are due to weakness in certain muscles. This then affects the alignment on the body, placing excess stress on other areas, resulting in musculo-skeletal pain. My usual approach when this occurs is to encourage the patient to strengthen the areas where these weaknesses are present, and I normally give some basic strength exercises to set them on their way. However, these exercises; which revolve around bodyweight and resistance bands, are only really useful as a start. In fact, after a couple of months of doing these types of exercises regularly, their effectiveness begins to decline. Essentially, they are only good for ‘beginner’s gains’, as even the strongest resistance bands you can buy don’t typically give anywhere near the level of resistance you can get from gym-based exercises. Therefore, although perhaps not something that many people are eager to do, getting in the gym is necessary to become robust enough to prevent injury, and I’d like to give people the confidence to give this a try. After all, the gym is not just a place for the young, ripped and toned, and neither should it be!
"the gym is not just a place for the young, ripped and toned, and neither should it be!"
I also have further news on the training course front, as all being well (coronavirus permitting), in September I will be starting my level 4 sports massage qualification. This course will add to my current skillset to help me get the best outcomes for my patients by learning more advanced massage techniques and postural assessments, amongst many other things. Again, I will keep you posted on this.
Finally, I would like to provide an update on a question I often get asked by clients, which is whether they are able to claim back their treatment costs through their private healthcare provider. I am pleased to say that as I have recently been accepted into the Sports Therapy Organisation (STO), and the National Association of Massage and Manipulative Therapists (NAMMT), I am now able to potentially offer this. However, please know that whether you can claim does depend upon several factors. Chief among which, is the specific company that you are insured through, as some private healthcare insurers recognise sports massage, whereas others do not. It will likely also depend upon your specific policy that you have, as some companies may offer different plans. You will also need to make sure that the STO or the NAMMT is included on the insurance policy’s list of accepted affiliations. Therefore, with all this in mind, if whether or not you can claim will influence your decision to book in, I would strongly advise you to check the details of your own insurance policy before doing so. Please also note that you can only make a claim for the sports massage side of my business, and my other services such as gait analysis do not qualify. Frustratingly, the current state of play is that many companies do not accept sports massage, possibly because it is a relatively new profession. However, as it is becoming more and more popular, I am hopeful this will change in the future.
I hope you are all keeping well, and I hope to see you back in my clinic soon.