As a manual therapist I have had my fair share of treatments, I have been treated by Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Sports therapists and Sports Masseurs, to name a few.
A majority of these have been very single disciplined with little if any explanation as to what is being done during the treatment or what is to be expected from aftercare, if I was lucky enough to be offered it. This is by no means the general rule but is sadly too often the case.
As a therapist I think we tend to stick rigidly to our primary discipline, in an attempt to deliver a well-structured treatment utilising our teachings. Having said this I have recently been treated by an Osteopath and a Chiropractor who have used many tools from their extensive toolboxes which were definitely not taught to them before attaining their qualifications. These guys are not afraid to ad lib a little and utilise a more functional approach to treatments, the latter of which now uses play as a tool for rehab, therefore allowing the client to increase ROM (range of motion) and improve proprioception (the body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position) in an enjoyable session, his clients come back again and again because the treatments are so entertaining.
Personally I started off as a personal trainer, I then included Sports massage, Aromatherapy, and have recently qualified as a Bodymaster Practitioner, with the renowned John Gibbons. I will shortly be adding acupuncture to my toolbox. In the last year I have accumulated 98 CPD (continuing professional development) points by adding those extra tools that have made my business more successful. I often combine these tools into a single treatment so I can deliver a more functional and successful outcome for my client.
This brings me to the Disclosure bit. What I mean by this is often we don’t give the client enough information about what we are doing and why. If we are performing METS (Muscle Energy Techniques), mobilising a joint or even releasing the Psoas (one of the Major Hip flexors that gets tight easily), we need to keep the client informed. By doing this we not only help to put them at ease, but we also make them more aware of their specific treatment and why aftercare is so important. We aren’t going to give away trade secrets, and if we could give them away all in one treatment then we are clearly not as knowledgeable as we need to be.
With more and more therapists popping out of the woodwork we owe it to ourselves to keep ahead of the game by making our treatments bespoke to each client. If we are well educated and multi-disciplined, other than what is written above our practice door or what we advertise on social media or our website, how do we distinguish our self from others? First impressions unfortunately don’t get a look in if others advertise the same way, word of mouth is obviously our best friend but once again if we don’t explain what we are doing and why, how can the client get the most out of the treatment and know they’re in the right place.
In conclusion, as therapists we hopefully always have our client’s best interests at heart, if we use all we have and explain why, then they are assured a fantastic treatment and we are assured a returning customer…