Exceptional health is available to everyone. There is an abundance of resources available help you. By being proactive you can also prevent serious health issues emerging. So who do you see and how do you know the best from the rest?
There are Personal Trainers, Exercise physiologists, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, Massage therapists, Naturopaths, Dieticians, General Practitioners, Specialists, Wellness Coaches and organisations like The Cancer Council – and more.
A Naturopath is my go-to for any health issue in our family that isn’t an emergency. A Naturopath has a university degree and belongs to a national registered body. They may still be stuck with the stigma of being ‘alternative medicine’ but from my experience they are an exceptional resource.
They can help with allergies and food intolerances as well as many other issues. I believe that they are the best people to see if you want to sort your diet out – they have a very good understanding of the relationship between diet and health and can test for foods that may be adversely affecting your well being and recommend ones that will work for you. Our naturopath fixed our daughters eczema when our GP was only prescribing steroid creams.
It is very worthwhile to have a coordinated approach to meet your needs. For example if you see a massage therapist you may also need to see an exercise professional to address the root cause of the problem. (Muscle tightness is generally the result of a weakness somewhere else in the body). Importantly the massage therapist should be talking to the exercise professional so that everyone is on the same page. This is efficient and will save you money, but you need to find the people who work this way.
If you want to exercise effectively and get results a good personal trainer is an essential start. Exercise is a science and literacy in the subject is necessary for achieving successful outcomes as would be the case with anything you do in life. A personal trainer should always start by addressing any functional deficits you may have. How is your posture and your core strength? And joint function and stability? Do you have restricted range of movement? It is vital to create a solid foundation before launching into full scale exercise programming otherwise you have a good chance of aggravating existing issues instead of actually fixing them.
A good personal trainer will have a network of allied health professionals they can refer you to according to your needs. If they don’t, I suggest you find someone who does. Health requires a holistic approach and multiple modalities are required over a period of time and a good trainer will be conscious of this.
An exercise physiologist uses exercise as therapy. A good example is using exercise to improve joint stability. This is a modality that is highly recommended if you have knee pain and may even be considering a knee replacement. You can get a limited number of visits to an exercise physiologist on Medicare with a referral from your GP. They will integrate well with an osteopath and massage therapist and should be able to refer you to a good personal trainer that they collaborate with for ongoing exercise programming.
As an example I had a new client who had a lower back problem as the result of a disc injury. She had been dealing with this for twenty years and had seen many doctors and with no real result. Ordinarily a disc will heal within six months however the muscle imbalances that form around the original injury won’t resolve without treatment. Unfortunately imbalances are not picked up on xrays or MRI’s. Almost reluctantly she went to see my osteopath but it took just one visit. For the first time in two decades she had full mobility through her lower back.
It is worth researching all modalities to find out how they can help you. They all have something unique to offer. Professionals who know what they are doing get results in a fairly short time. If you see someone who asks you to comeback repeatedly you are in the wrong place. Don’t be put off if you feel that a particular modality is not helping – it is also about the practitioner. It can be a painstaking process finding the right people but you will be rewarded once you have built your team.