YOU'VE heard of physiotherapy and you've heard of pilates, but have you heard of clinical pilates?
This is a new form of pilates, developed in Australia, to help in the recovery from injury. It is also used in sports to improve balance and resistance to injury.
Principal physiotherapist Alisha Bajerai explains that while pilates is not new to Malaysia, clinical pilates can only be found at Physio Savvy … for now.
“Pilates is used for core strengthening or fitness.
“Clinical pilates comes from Australia where it was developed for injury prevention and for treatment of pains – in that sense it has a very different approach. What we are aiming for is improving function instead of core strength.
“What we do is to help the patient gain strength in that area while correcting any injury in that nerve pathway.
“There are very few injuries that won't benefit from clinical pilates. It can be used on almost all patients and injuries,” says Alisha, explaining that the treatment is customised according to each person's injury, age and body.
Physio Savvy, which opened its doors in 2012, with one centre in Sri Hartamas and another in Bandar Utama, has five physios.
Another method that Physio Savvy uses is postitional release technique – a soft tissue treatment technique.
“If you go for a massage it would be very superficial. Soft tissue treatment is similar to a massage technique but involving a lot of movement. What we do basically is to make your muscles more functional.
“We also do joint mobilisation. I chiropractor would do a manipulation and crack everything, which we do as well. But, with joint mobilisation, we would take the joint to the end of range and then beyond the range and that would free up the joint. Then there's a step before that where you mobilise it by just taking it to the end of range as that will increase the range of movement in the joint.
“So, if someone has a frozen shoulder, that can only get to 90 degrees. We would mobilise the joint itself as well as the soft tissue structures around it,” explains Alisha.
Injuries are part and parcel of an athlete's life. So how do you know when you should go for surgery and when you can opt for physiotherapy for strengthening?
“Basically, you want to look at how long they've had the problem, their age, what type of injury it is. In the case of a knee injury, you want to see if you have ruptured your ligament completely especially if you're a high-level athlete, playing competitively for a living. You will want to go for surgery to fix the ligament which will then require a lot of rehab afterwards.
“If it were a small injury such as tendonitis, then you would want to go for physiotherapy as you don't need surgery.
“The main thing we focus on is manual therapy. Unlike the hospitals and other private practices that use a lot of electrotherapy.
“We go for a different approach because we are trained to diagnose the muscle cells, rather than being reliant on the doctors. So, we always conduct a full assessment and based on that we do manual therapy.
“Almost everything we do relies on our hands and whatever knowledge we have.”
Although Physio Savvy does not work with the National Sports Institute right now, they do have some athletes coming in for treatment.
Alisha agrees that there is more demand for physiotherapy and other alternative treatment like chiropractice today.