They tried to make me go to rehab: 10 good reasons to go!

When Amy Winehouse sang this on "Back to Black"  you knew she meant it, but probably also wanted to shout:"Go to rehab!" because the world could see she needed help, and anyone with a heart would want that for her.

Like Amy, we all have things we daren't/won't/can't imagine addressing, particularly with our health, that those who care for us really wish we would.

Rehab has a lot of connotations. And I thought, since I'm offering it as a service at Qi to Health, should come out of the closet and explain how amazing it is... and what's in it for you.

  1. Hygge of the Body
  2. Making change
  3. Re-abilitation
  4. Re-skilling/up-skilling/mastery
  5. Mindfulness of movement
  6. Heal thyself!
  7. Know thyself!
  8. Giving the performance of your life
  9. Switching on the lights
  10. Finding the missing piece of the jigsaw
Let's start with the warm and fluffy stuff: rehab can sound scary, and I wouldn't want to scare you away from something that might change your life for the better!
Hygge is a lovely concept: a Danish and Norwegian word "creating cosy and convivial atmospheres that promote wellbeing" and a state where all psychological needs are in balance. How lovely is that?
I can definitely embrace this, to the point where I have been given the nickname "Cosy" by friends and as I write this, am sitting wrapped in a gigantic fur wrap I got for Christmas.

But when you consider your body... your experience of it, of being in it...how is that working?
Generally I see people who, by definition, it's not working for them. They've come for help because they've had enough of not feeling the hygge. Tired of aches, pains and often unexplained injuries that keep occurring?

The truth is, most of our injuries and repetitive strains are because of HOW we do things. This always has a WHY underpinning it. Usually these are habitual, actions we perform sometimes thousands of times a day, and underneath our consciousness radar. Until we develop this awareness, become conscious, we can't even begin to change the situation. And doing the detective work to find those out is my job.

So we take a hot bath, have a massage, rest a bit, go on holiday. And it comes back! Because we're still doing it.
Rather like banging our head on the wall daily, then going to the doctor for paracetamol. It's not the answer.

So the great thing about rehabilitation is that you start to get to the real causes of the pain: your unique movement habits, posture habits, working out where it's going wrong, why it's not working, and re-able you to have the skill and ability to perform it better.

Buttocks on!
Often we think that where we feel the pain, is the site of the problem. But often, tight, sore muscles are part of a pattern of compensation for areas that aren't cutting the mustard somewhere else in the chain. Gluts are a favourite for this. We need them to work when we're weight-bearing to protect the hips and maintain our upper bodies in a functional relationship above. If that's not happening, you can see how the neck and shoulders can become the innocent victims of what's going on below.

The gluts, like other supporting muscles in the shoulder (Serratus Anterior) need to fire at the right time ie when they're needed to stabilise joints. Having your gluts switched on is a bit of a rite of passage for many people with knee, hip and back pain.
When I first started the JEMS rehabiliation training I spent a long time with 2 Arsenal phsyios trying to get mine to wake up. It felt like an eternity before they flickered into action. This is despite a pretty athletic history.
The next day, I woke up in my hotel room feeling like I'd been kicked by a donkey. My gluts had obviously not worked much for many years...
But my own rehab-journey: focussing on this for a good few months and learning to strengthen other pelvic muscles while relaxing my lower back extensors in the "Bridge"exercise and bouncing on the Swiss ball made the biggest difference! Years of lower back pain and morning stiffness gone. I'd spent a lot of money on treatment with some great, well-intentioned people. But all they'd really managed to do was to relax and mobilise an area that was too weak and already hypermobile. Wasted money, as none of those knew anything about rehab...and what my body really needed.

The changes that need to be made are often very small and subtle. If we look at a movement you've been struggling with, perhaps getting up out of a chair. It's often really illuminating to film this, or we use mirrors, so you can see what's really going on.
It's often possible to get people doing that without pain in a few minutes with a little adjustment to technique.
Talking about the CORE has become very ingrained; but did you know that cocking your head back switches is off? Getting up from a chair with a relaxed, long neck means the core stays working. Cue a much more aware, controlled movement. Sometimes it's as simple as that.

Or lifting your arms sideways, overhead? A fireman I was working with found that just by turning his thumbs up, rotating the head of the armbone backwards as he lifted, meant he could do this pain-free for the first time in years. He asked me why nobody had ever taught him that before...

All this is very much in the spirit of being "Mindful of the Body". Most modern thinking in health and therapy recognises that the mind, the nervous system has to be engaged for significant and sustainable change to happen. And this really helps you know yourself and gives you the awareness to perform movements more gracefully, effortlessly, beautifully. Without strain and injury. And mastering these movements helps those muscles and joints heal. Often where they've been grumbling for a long time...

I certainly love that I can now make such a difference to people's lives: whether it's performance in sport, playing an instrument, picking up a toddler, getting the washing out of the machine or yourself out of the car without hurting.

On the training, we get to watch many videos of people, some well-known athletes being put through their paces and watching the transformation. Joanne Elphinston has been advisor to the British Olympic team and works with sporting bodies and athletes worldwide. Coupled with my own experience of what a difference it can make where nothing else has, gives me real confidence in helping people.
I have seen the most amazing changes in people who have pretty much been written off, unable to walk, walking normally again.

No-one can make you go to rehab... but you might find it holds the piece of the jigsaw you were missing. The key to healing, relief, comfort and long term recovery. Just go!