BUILD YOUR D.R.E.A.M Body
Our philosophy is to "build health" rather than treating symptoms. This also applies to our physiotherapy approach to treating injuries, rehabilitation, injury prevention and fitness. While we do look at each injury and person individually, the overall process is similar for everyone- which is outlined in the diagram below.
The goal is not only to get you out of pain and back into action as quickly as possible, but also to give you the tools to become resilient and strong. Our goal is to help you avoid having to come back to physio (or chiro, osteo etc) over and over again with niggles and injuries.
This model has come through years of experience working with clients, and has refined in the last 12 months learning from our mentor Zac from zacccupples.com (who in turn was mentored by Billhartman.com). These two Physiotherapists have changed the game in terms of how to improve pain, mobility and strength in the most efficient way. The assessments we have learned from them aim to identify the most important limitations and patterns, and then exercises can be customized to target these in a systematic fashion.
Lets break it down....
1. RESTORE BREATHING
Breathing is one of the most important functions for staying alive, so your body will prioritise this over freedom of movement through the body. If your diaphragm and ribcage are not functioning the way they are supposed to (which can happen for various reasons) then you will start to use other strategies to get air in. This can include using muscles around your neck, chest and lower back- which will in turn lead to changes in joint position and movement.
We will use certain tests to determine how your ribcage and diaphragm are functioning, and what compensations this is causing through the body. The first step in the process is then to use certain exercises to get this all working properly.
2. RESTORE MOVEMENT
Full movement variability means having access to full motion throughout the bodies multiple joints, in all planes of motion (forward/back, side/side and rotation). The body moves as one cohesive unit, not as individual joints. If one area lacks full movement, then another area above or below may have to compensate for this which can lead to increase load or strain in the area- and ultimately pain or injury.
By restoring full motion through out the body, we share the load and reduce strain on loaded areas. This can be very effective for reducing pain and discomfort, as well as allowing injuries to heal quicker
Restoring optimum breathing (step 1) can restore a huge amount of motion through the body. Whatever is left over can be improved by using exercises that will challenge you into the movement that is limited.
3. BUILD STRENGTH
Once you have full mobility, or as full as possible, then working on strength is the next step. More and more research is showing that progressive strength training is beneficial for most injuries and pain conditions. Having adequate mobility from step 2 will allow the strengthening to target the right muscles, rather than using other muscles to compensate (which can sometimes aggravate the problem). The strength exercises will be customised to your goals, as well as your current weaknesses.
4. BUILD CAPACITY
Capacity is basically being able to perform work, or an activity, for a certain period of time- and respond positively to it (ie. not get re-injured). If someone's goal is to run a marathon then, after strengthening the required areas, they will need to build up their running capacity. The same for someone wanting to return to rugby. Another persons' goal may just be to walk up the mount, but this will also require building capacity to do so.
Great, you have built things up and reached your goals! But like every house, maintenance needs to be done to maintain your improvements and prevent injuries and degeneration.
The D.R.E.A.M Foundations of Health
No matter what health issue you are dealing with, be it a injured lower back or Irritable Bowel Syndrome- the foundational principles are the same. These principles are summarized by the D.R.E.A.M acronym below. Although these don't have to be perfect to get results, if there is a crack in one of the foundations then this can hinder progress towards your health goals..
DEAL WITH STRESS: Stress is unavoidable, but we can manage our stress and somewhat control how our bodies respond to stress. From a physio perspective, stress can lead to altered breathing and movement patterns. It will also slow down healing if we are always in the "fight or flight" response. Part of the exercise component is learning how to breathe efficiently which can help alot with stress. Mindfulness is also a very powerful tool
REST: Adequate sleep is so important!
EAT: Good nutrition is essential for healing, and health. A poor diet can lead to defiencies in certain nutrients, and also increase inflammation which can make pain worse in some people. But nutrition can be confusing. Luckily we have studied nutrition extensively, including a Massey University certificate, so we are able to help you find the right nutrition approach for you and and your goals.
ADD: For some people, despite a really good diet and lifestyle, supplements or medications are required to help maintain health in the body. Also, adding other health techniques such as the Wim Hof Method or Saunas may be required for some.
MOVE: We all know how important exercise is. Injuries and pain can hinder us from exercising, but there are always alternatives or smaller doses of exercise that someone can do until things have improved.
The Yellow arrows
Identifying your goals is the first step, and one of the most important steps. What are you wanting to do with your body? Do you want to return to a sport? run a marathon? walk up the mount? Sleep through the night without waking?
We are all unique, and are goals are unique and important to us. Behind every practical goal, there is also an emotional goal. For example, we may want to walk up the Mount, but the reason is because it brings us a feeling of joy and freedom, or maybe connection if we are doing it with a friend or loved one. Being able to identify these emotions is very helpful.
The reason it is depicted as the sun in the picture, as the goals shine light on what we need to acheive and aim for. Someone who is aiming to be able to play his computer game for 2 hours, will have a different plan than someone who wants to play a season of rugby.
The goals also power the other yellow arrows, which can be thought of as "power tools" for building your health. We can help design the house, and provide materials but it is you who must do the hard work (ie. do the exercises, make the lifestyle changes). Power tools help do this, but sometimes they run out of batteries. Having clear goals which bring up positive emotions is a way of charging the "power tools" (through Solar power!)
2. THE "POWER TOOLS" (YELLOW ARROWS)
These are tools that you must have to build their health. We can give you the best exercises, nutrition plan etc. but if they aren't implemented in a consistent fashion then they are ineffective.
Credit to David Zappasodi from his book "Immovable heart, unstoppable mind"
NOTE: These notes below are from 2017 and earlier. We still use PRI principles but our approach has since evolved into a more effective and simpler model.
At One Health Physio & Wellness, we incorporate the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) assessment and treatment methods. PRI is a unique and very effective physiotherapy approach, which acknowledges the fact that, despite looking fairly symmetrical, there are distinct differences to the left and right side of the body which can often contribute to compensations and dysfunction in the body.
How is the body asymmetrical?
In a nutshell, the right and left sides of the body are NOT the same, and therefore do not move the same.
The brain is different from right to left
The lungs have 3 chambers (lobes) on the right, but only 2 on the left
The right side of the diaphragm is significantly larger than the right
The heart is in the left ribcage, while the right is only lung
This asymmetry is not itself a problem, and is in fact a good thing and amazing design. However problems arise when we have TOO MUCH asymmetry and the bodies ability to compensate is maxed out. The body can deal with excessive compensation for so long, and then pain and dysfunction will develop. This can be the reason why “out of the blue” pain developed somewhere without a significant injury. Or you may have had an injury, but the way your body has been compensating caused the the injury to occur much easier.
How does this asymmetry contribute to pain and dysfunction?
The large liver is on the right side and the right diaphragm (breathing muscle) is also on the right. This makes the right diaphragm more effective for breathing, and we have a natural tendency to favour the right leg and lean to the right to make use of this. We also develop a neurological preference for the right side, which means the brain favours the right side.
Common findings we see as a result of this are
The left side of the pelvis is tilted forward on the left as the smaller left diaphragm is unable to provide enough stability, which can twist the pelvis to the right (your pants zipper will be facing right)
More pronation in the left foot because of the pelvis position
A restriction in the right ribcage, while the left ribcage is more “inflated”
Restriction in right shoulder internal rotation due to the right ribcage restriction
It is important to note that these asymmetries are part of the human design, and is part of what allows us to move how we do. However, if the body compensates too much for these asymmetries then this can lead to dysfunction and pain.
How can I tell how much asymmetry I have. and how much my body is compensating?
Although everyone has similar asymmetries, the degree to which this will effect your bodies function may be different to someone else.
The PRI system uses specific tests to determine what position your body is in, as well as how well your “core” is functioning . These tests assess your pelvis, ribcage, shoulder and neck position. This might tell us, for example, that your pelvis is rotated to the right and your your ribcage is counter-rotated back to the left (very common), which is then restricting the motion of your right shoulder and neck.
One of the tests we will check is called the Adduction Drop Test. Here is PRI founder Ron Hruska demonstrating this test. This assesses the position of your pelvis on both sides
What can I do if my body is compensating too much?
We will show you specific exercises that will work to reposition your body, with the goal of getting your pelvis and ribcage “neutral”. For example, if the left side of your pelvis anteriorly rotated, then the exercises will work muscles that can help bring back that side (eg. left hamstrings).
Once your body is “neutral”, then the exercises will be gradually progressed to make your body more resilient in daily activities such as walking, sitting, running, lifting.