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The best bits of my journey as a physio

Updated: Jan 26, 2020

In 2013, a couple of years after completing my degree, I volunteered for 2 months at Hillside in Belize. Working in a developing country you don’t have the luxury of being a specialist Physiotherapist – you are a general Physiotherapist for anyone who needs Physio; neurological, paediatric, musculoskeletal (MSK – my specialist area) respiratory, or orthopaedic; so it was a real test of my skill set, and a steep learning curve for me. In addition I had two new physiotherapy students each month, whom I provided with assistance and knowledge to help them grow in the early stages of their profession.

I tried to pass on my knowledge of Pilates to the locals, however, this was somewhat lost in a country where education is limited and patients want medication to take their pain or symptoms away. Instead we held classes to educate on the importance of healthy lifestyle; diet and exercise to manage symptoms as opposed to masking the pain/symptoms. Learning Q’eqchi and Mopan (the traditional tribe languages) phrases was fun. Travelling out to villages was often impossible due to flooded roads!

I came home feeling guilty for having a television and bed, coming from a country where a family are lucky if their home has walls! Regardless, the locals were so grateful for anything you said or did for them – they may not have had material possessions but they made up for it in warmth, generosity and gratitude. Exploring the many waterfalls, swimming into caves, river tubing and zip lining into the thick jungle were some of my amazing adventures there.

The following year I decided to raise money for this incredible healthcare clinic and I completed the Brighton marathon in 2015, raising $1500 for Hillside.

One day I hope to return to see how things have changed and whether I can make any further impact on this wonderful developing country that stole a piece of my heart! Belize also made me decide I needed to live by the sea – such a calming influence whatever the weather! So I upped and left family and friends to the first place I could find a job by the coast – and arrived in Herne Bay (about an hour away from aforementioned friends and family!) – the first town that I felt like I could happily settle down in.

Since then I have worked for the Royal School for Deaf Children in Margate (RSDCM) – another place that stole a piece of my heart! Working for children with disabilities, while very challenging at times, was also very rewarding. I felt like I was paid to play! I always came home with a grin on my face and a story to tell. Sadly the RSDCM closed December 2015 and all the staff were made redundant. Now I have returned to my MSK roots, with predominantly orthopaedic patients at the Chaucer BMI; a wonderful hospital with friendly, caring staff and an atmosphere that allows you to feel calm and comfortable. I can’t say I don’t miss working with children but the elderly are pretty splendid too – we tend to lose our inhibitions as we get older, making it much easier to understand my patients’ intentions, as well as letting out the odd hilarious comment!I hope this has helped you understand a little about me and what to expect from Pilates. Now I’d love to meet you! So come along, correct that posture, fix those niggles/imbalances, strengthen your core and have some fun!

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