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Welcome to the blog


The Physiotherapy 4 Life Blog will give you some useful hints and tips for a healthy and happy lifestyle and keep you up to date with new findings and research.

By Helen Brandreth, Jan 10 2014 12:03PM

Do you have any idea how long it takes to develop or break a new habit? What’s your best guess – 14, 21 or 28 days?

Decades ago, some research carried out by a well respected plastic surgeon claimed that it took 21 days for his patients to adjust to the loss of a limb. Therefore, whilst a drastic form of research, he assumed this must be the length of time is takes to change a habit.

A more recent study by a University College London psychologist offers an alternative theory.

Patients were trying to learn new habits, such as eating fruit daily or going jogging. Results confirmed that it took a lengthy 66 days before the new behaviour became automatic, with a substantial failure rate. Individual changes ranged from18 and 245 days before any changes stuck. Naturally, it was found that some habits (such as smoking or drinking less) are far more difficult to change than others.

Anne, a client at Physiotherapy 4 Life, teaches English to overseas students. When we discussing how she wanted to introduce regular exercise into her weekly routine, she explained how she sets her students a series of challenges, starting with easy ones that become more challenging as time goes on. I liked her ideas and thought it might be a useful one to share, whilst encouraging her to ‘take her own medicine” and follow the same process.

For example, for a 7-day challenge, Anne challenges her students to read an article in English every day or watch television for 30 minutes. She always starts with something small and achievable to keep everyone motivated. After reviewing the ‘easy’ successes, the habits to develop become progressively more challenging. Next, she may set them a 30-day challenge, where students choose between 3 and 5 activities that they will do regularly, either daily, weekly or once/month. Again, reviews show how successful (or not) the habits were to develop.

It started me thinking that everyone could benefit from a similar routine. Perhaps, you could aim to walk without stopping for 15 minutes each day for one week? Or, you might set yourself a habit to eat two pieces of fruit every day for 30 days. It doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive, just something that fits easily into your life that brings health and fitness benefits.

Another myth is that you can’t miss a day when trying to adjust to a new habit. This is truly unhelpful and will make it harder for you to re-start if you “fall off the wagon”. So, forget about this and don’t give up! It really doesn’t matter if you have a weak moment and break your habit. Just pick yourself up and start again the next day. Remember that habits are meant to be difficult to change.

Diet and fitness articles at this time of year cling to the 7 or 28 day “miracle fix” because our self-help culture demands quick success. Don’t be fooled, habits are difficult to change and our brains are designed to take short cuts designed to make many habits automatic.

Have you ever decided to stop eating chocolate then eaten a whole bar? We keep doing something even though we want to stop. Does that sound familiar? It does to me too.

What’s required isn’t a drastic change, but finding an alternative way to achieve the results you want. So, why not start small? Set yourself a 7-day challenge but don’t beat yourself up if you fail. Just dust yourself off and start again. Once you’ve succeeded with a 7-day version, challenge yourself to something longer or more difficult. Remember, as babies, we learned our skills a little at a time. Changing habits as an adult can be as successful if we follow the same format.

So, what’s your challenge for the next 7 or, if you’re feeling brave, 30 days? If you dare, please share it with me and I’ll encourage you to stay on course. Good luck!

By Helen Brandreth, Dec 18 2013 09:25AM

Around 7 million people will make resolutions again after the festive season but – be warned - years of research prove that the most of them will be broken by the end of January!

Rather than make “dramatic” New Year’s resolutions, I suggest you consider making lifestyle changes. What does this mean? It’s simple. Consult a physiotherapist who, after an initial assessment of your current fitness and muscle movement ranges, can recommend medically approved changes to your current fitness regime or daily routine. Long-term, this will help to make you healthier, fitter and happier.

For example, many people declare they want to lose weight and get fit but neglect to follow the advice to consult an expert before beginning a new exercise programme. Expert advice doesn’t just mean your doctor or a trainer at the gym, as you could consult a physiotherapist before you begin any new exercises.

All too often, enthusiastic athletes injure themselves by pulling muscles or over-stretching, rather than building up fitness levels slowly and safely. They visit us to recover from injury, but why not consult a physiotherapist before injury occurs? We provide initial assessments and recommend ongoing fitness and/or stretching exercises.

What could be a more enjoyable and encouraging way to stick to your fitness routine than rewarding yourself with a physiotherapy massage to help your tired and aching muscles? Why do you think so many professional athletes have regular massages? Not just because they enjoy them (as it’s often uncomfortable) but they’re good for health, fitness and post-exercise recovery.

Physiotherapy 4 Life prides itself on helping people return to their healthy lives after serious illness or surgery, in addition to those wishing to maintain their existing active lifestyles. We regularly offer ongoing advice on including fitness into daily routines, building up strength and stamina with proven techniques.

How do we do it? After an initial consultation, we advise clients on how to start some form of safe exercise or build upon their existing fitness levels. Tips may include straightforward ideas, like walking with family and friends – which also “ticks” the save money and spend more time with the family resolutions!

If it’s inspiration you seek, consider these free fitness tips:

- Get off the train/tram/bus one stop earlier and walk to your destination.

- Do some stretches as you wait for the kettle to boil (at work or home).

- Boost your fitness with fun – learn something new like dancing or swimming, bop to the radio as you do the housework or come along to our specialist physio Pilates classes.

- Regardless of work deadlines, make sure you get up and walk around once and hour to stretch those muscles and relax your eyes.

- Always keep a healthy snack (fruit or nuts) nearby.

- One ‘naughty’ treat (chocolate or biscuits) isn’t the end of the world and everyone deserves a treat sometimes.

Finally – if in doubt, consult a physiotherapist! We’ll be happy to assess your current level of fitness, offer advice and encouragement about exercise and massage your tired muscles.

Everyone at Physiotherapy 4 Life wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy, healthy 2014.

By Helen Brandreth, Nov 6 2013 10:25AM

Physiotherapy 4 Life offers bespoke physiotherapy massages to aid the healing process and to protect muscles. Through expert massage of muscles and connective tissue, our physiotherapists can enhance recovery or promote relaxation and general well-being.

Did you know that a physio-based massage focuses on treating soft tissues that have been affected by stress, injury, and illness?

Our fully-qualified Physiotherapists use approved manual techniques to improve circulation or muscular relaxation and assist with pain relief. Our massages can help to minimise the risk of injury and accelerate healing, enabling the client to return to activity more quickly.

Experienced Physiotherapists use extensive “hands on” assessment techniques to identify each problem. After the initial consultation, your physiotherapist will recommend the best treatment for you. That’s why Physiotherapy 4 Life does not list its massages under general headings, such as deep massage or Swedish massage. We want to be sure that the massage we provide is exactly what each client needs.

We can diagnose tight muscles and overactive or injured areas. Each massage begins with a range of approved soft tissue mobilisation techniques to improve movement, followed by recommended massage techniques to resolve injuries or problems.

Our massage treatments can be preventative or performed to speed up the healing process after injury.

To add to our bespoke massage service, we only use a range of high quality 100% natural massage oils. Rest assured that there are no added preservatives or chemicals! The oils we use are chosen by the client and are there to enhance every experience. If you prefer the scent of lavender, that’s what your physiotherapist will use.

Our bespoke massages include:

30min appointments - £30

45min appointments - £40

60min appointments - £50

Additionally – book 5 massages and receive the 6th one free!

Please contact us via the link to make an enquiry or book a massage:

Rik, one of our clients says this, "As an avid runner I am always managing to pick up niggles. When I returned to live in Sale, Helen was recommended to me by a friend. I booked an appointment as I had a tight calf. Helen was friendly, knowledgeable and very clear in her treatments. She addressed the issue and provided advice on exercises and preventative methods. I have now been seeing Helen for over a year to address my running niggles and everytime I feel like a new man after seeing Helen. Highly recommended service".

By Helen Brandreth, Jul 19 2013 12:19PM

Today we have a guest blog from Rupy a client at Physiotherapy 4 Life, would demonstates there may be more to physio than you may think...........

I like shopping. I like drinking. I like going to restaurants. I like the cinema. I like the theatre. I like going to visit friends. I like going on holiday! I like trains. I like stuff…yatta yatta yatta! I like a lot of stuff. I like stuff that involves doing things. Like getting out of the house. That’s pretty important when wanting to do stuff. But often as a disabled woman who wants to do things and who relies on hoists and slings and big accessible toilets…often doing stuff in itself can be a barrier. That is because, as weird as it sounds, I spend a lot of my life computing where accessible toilets are…accessible toilets with hoists. Not very many I’m afraid. And when I find out that somewhere has a hoist, I get extremely excited…like it’s Christmas or something! My favourite place on earth is the Trafford Centre. It is like the most accessible place EVER. Full of shops, restaurants, other leisurely activity stuff and an accessible toilet with a hoist. However, although the Trafford Centre is awesome, and although it is very tempting, I can’t move in, and wrap myself up in this accessible bubble!

It’s going to take a long time for the world to understand the true essence of what makes a toilet facility accessible. But that doesn’t mean that you should become a recluse. It also doesn’t mean that you constantly have to work out ‘to pee or not to pee?’.

Today I discovered the amazing invention of the Shewee! Check it out! If I could use one of these when going out and about it would increase my independence so much. And although I still will probably need to use a hoist, technically, it should reduce the amount of times I will need to use a hoist during the day.

One of my aims is to become more independent when it comes to personal care and not have to rely on a PA all the time. In order for me to do this, I need to work out what I can do physically and the encouragement to push boundaries in order to reach my goals.

Helen is such an amazing physio. She takes a holistic view when it comes to working with individuals. Whenever I tell her my wacky ideas, she never discourages me or tells me that I am wrong, which a lot of past physio’s have done. I am working with Helen on achieving realistic goals, through planning aims and working through exercise regimes in order for me to live the life of an average 25 year old. I am hoping that I’ll be able to use the Shewee by myself instead of having to rely on carers or personal assistants all my life, and this is just one of the things Helen is helping me with. And although it sounds like a tiny thing, not worth doing, this practical help with add so much independence to my life.

I have been working with Helen for over 3 years now and during that time, my body has changed dramatically. I have low muscle tone and tend to get really stiff. Helen has definitely helped me improve this and my posture is so much more better than what it was.

In essence, Helen and Physotherapy4Life, are pretty awesome and without their help, I would not be as independent as I am today (even if it is learning to pee independently).

Thanks team!


By Helen Brandreth, Jun 26 2013 09:35AM

This week’s blog is written by a guest. Chris, a 54-year-old man saw me for rehabilitation treatment following after knee surgery. He writes:

“My family and I read your ‘physio for rehabilitation’ blog with great interest. It brought back memories of how important (and often funny) your help was to my post-surgery recovery. I thought others might find it helpful to hear my story.

I needed keyhole surgery on both knees, which had become extremely stiff and painful even though I’m relatively young. Regular flying and sitting around desks and conference tables didn’t help the situation.

Working for an international company, responsible for overseeing projects around Europe, I was especially concerned that I’d be unable to fly for 2 weeks (due to the danger of blood clots). More worrying still was that due to a possible lack of mobility and return of movement, I may have to be away from the office for up to 4 weeks minimum. I needn’t have worried, as Helen sorted me out!

Fortunately, the surgery was successful and without complication. I was discharged from hospital on a Thursday and attended my rehab assessment with Helen the following Monday morning. Helen read the specialist’s surgery explanation, took note of what movements were to be avoided then recommended post-surgery exercises to be done daily. Helen saw me on alternate days to assess changes in mobility, flexibility, movement and strengthening. If something was painful or a movement couldn’t be done, she recommended alternatives to keep my recovery moving. At all times, Helen kept me positive and encouraged by the treatment.

My family got used to seeing me lying on the floor doing my exercises as I watched TV at night or, during the day, took part in telephone conferences. My colleagues couldn’t see that part, although I’m sure some of them would have enjoyed seeing me!

Regular reviews with Helen kept me ‘on track’. Whilst not always easy or without discomfort, doing my exercises was a small price to pay for a surprisingly speedy recovery.

Due to Helen’s specially-adapted rehabilitation programme and my dedication to the exercises, I was back at work after only 2 weeks and 2 days. My specialist was delighted.

Even today, more than 18 months later, I regularly do the exercises Helen recommended to maintain movement and strength around the knees. I can’t recommend Helen’s post-op rehabilitation service highly enough.”

“Chris was committed and dedicated to his rehabilitation and followed instructions well. Rehab & physiotherapy following surgery is about teamwork. It was clearly explained to Chris what he needed to do, with strict limitations put in place. At Physiotherapy 4 Life we always explain why you need to do certain exercises or avoid certain activities (in the short term) we really feel this information helps with compliance throughout rehabilitation. We were able to move well through the progression of Chris’ exercises and functional rehab as he made excellent progress.” Helen, Director Physiotherapy 4 Life.

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