True Physiotherapy – Part One

 by Kate Greenaway-Twist, Goonellabah NSW

I have been working in Physiotherapy for over 30 years. I graduated from Sydney University in 1984 and worked in teaching hospitals for the next 2 years. For the following 6 years I worked in private practice, learning as much as I could from more experienced physios, but I found there was a hardness to the way physiotherapy was practised and so I went overseas in search of a more gentle way to treat the whole body.

In Boston, USA, I did courses introducing me to the importance of the connective tissue in the body. I experimented with more gentle ways of releasing this tissue for my many clients that had complex chronic spinal pain.

I came back to Australia in 1997 and moved to the Northern Rivers region of NSW, working in Community Health for 4 years full time and then 4 years part time. I treated the full range of ages and conditions, from babies to the elderly. Since 2002 I have been self-employed, working in a wonderful complementary healing clinic called Universal Medicine in Goonellabah and for 2 years until December 2016 I also worked in a family medical practice nearby. Over the years, I have undergone such a transformation in myself and my work that the way I am with patients, and how I approach my treatments with them now is a world away from even 15 years ago.

It has often been suggested to me by patients and other physios that – ‘you need to write about the work you are doing, share it with other practitioners, physios and people who are used to the old style of physio – and it has dawned on me that how I live, how I work, how I support my patients physically, emotionally and energetically is what I would call True Physiotherapy, which has inspired this article.

Almost all the physios I have met from when I graduated to now – have all had a genuine care for people, and they are very skilled at observing movement and analysing where the body is moving or performing in a dysfunctional way. The fundamental approach of standard physiotherapy is to problem-solve and implement methods of treatment that correct the dysfunctional joint movement, or excess muscle/soft tissue tension. All with the goal of decreasing pain and improving function.

There are 2 main problems with this approach:

  1. Having a treatment driven by a goal that the practitioner wants the body to achieve is imposing. It does not allow for the body’s natural healing processes to take place. I remember feeling it just wasn’t helping the body heal by pushing on joints to get them to loosen up or getting my patient to push their leg or arm against my arm and then stretch their limb forcefully for more joint movement and muscle length.
  2. The way physios are educated and practically trained is to focus on the one main area of physical dysfunction and symptoms. It is not about considering the body as a whole, and certainly doesn’t take into account the emotional status or energetic vitality of the person.

As a result, physios mostly look at the body with a very narrow focus – this reductionist approach may help an acute condition of one joint or body part and a few muscles, but it does not truly support the many patients who have chronic complex physical and emotional problems. As a young physio when I worked in this way I was always uneasy, as I knew this way was a) not considering big parts of the picture that made up the whole story for the patient and b) treating them in this narrow way was imposing on the body; it was me saying, I know how you should be and move, and this is the technique I will use to fix you’. Essentially, I realised this came with a force – even though I thought I was doing the ‘right’ thing. Many patients say to me now that they are often more sore for days or weeks after they have had standard physiotherapy treatment than they were before.

What was making me uneasy in treating in this standard way, was that it was not taking into account the bodys ability to heal itself.

The body has a remarkable intelligence to continually heal and bring itself to a greater level of balance and harmony. This includes everything in the body – the organ systems, nervous system and the movement system the musculoskeletal system.

Understanding the body in this way opened me up to consider the person in a truly holistic way – as a physical being, an emotional being and an energetic being. When I was a young physio, I was not trained in understanding how emotional stresses or poor vitality affected the body, leading to organ dysfunction and physical dysfunction. All I was focused on was what was the physical problem and how do I fix it. Now I consider all these factors and help support the person to understand the deeper disharmony in their body that eventually causes the physical problem. I gently assist the body to enhance its natural healing process and support the person to reconnect to their natural quality of gentleness.


Read more:

  1. True Physiotherapy – part 2.
  2. Holistic Physiotherapy – Patient Testimonials. 

301 thoughts on “True Physiotherapy – Part One

  1. If we only focus on the function and making better an issue in the body by finding a solution then we will never really stop things returning because what has caused these issues have not been truly dealt with and healed. Serge Benhayon presents and teaches a way that looks at the all and going to the root cause of an issue and heal from there first.

    1. I love this way of going to the root you talk about. It is remarkable that it is not in any way focusing on the issue itself, other than the fact that it being the end point of many many steps along the way. The starting point is always the already present grandness of love, harmony and oneness that is our true essence, before we took the first of the many steps away from the truth of every one of our particles. I find the appreciating our life issues in this way to be very inspiring and empowering.

  2. I love this blog. It reminds me of the importance of working with the body and the being of a person and that when we do it supports not just the client but the practitioner as well.

  3. The view that the body has a problem that needs to be fixed will always be very 1 dimensional. However we do absolutely know that there is more going on, but it feels like we are too scared to go there because it doesn’t fit the current model for evidence base. Seeing our patients and all people in our multidimensional layers is really the only way that medicine and healthcare in general is going to move forward. It does however ask us all to take full responsibility for our choices.

  4. Once you experience a physio who lives with integrity, doesn’t have emotions that are projected into the session because they have recognised the importance of every aspect of how they live on the sessions they offer, then you can never accept less than that from any practitioner. Kate Greenaway is an example of one such practitioner.

  5. Even when a child has cuts and grazes because they have fallen over, the cuts and grazes need attending to, yes. But the next significant question needs to be, how come you fell in the first place? e.g. what within their physical, mental, psychological, energetic make-up contributed to a lack of presence and co-ordination? If they were distracted from the task at hand what else was going on for them?

    The Universe does not do ‘random’ and nothing happens in isolation to the whole of our life. It is not wise for us to have a medical paradigm that pretends otherwise.

  6. The way Kate shares she is working now (which I have experienced with her, it is very profound) it takes away the arrogance we can have in fixing the other, that we can do so.
    Even the soul lets the body experience the pain as a message that it is moving in a way that is not serving soul’s purpose. It is to support the body by aligning to the deep quality we carry within us.

  7. What a very beautiful blog. Assisting us all to know that there is another way of physiotherapy, equally for a practitioner and client. It is so profound to hear you share in detail about the ability of our body to heal itself and the energetic space we need to let it do its way…And the ability we have as a client (human person who undergoes treatment for a condition) can equally take this space to do what he or she can to support the body. This takes the pressure and demand off that someone needs to fix it – but rathers places the power and ability to heal back to the client, with then the absolute support you as a professional (physiotherapist in this case) can give.

  8. We have been focusing on fixing and regaining function, and for the most part can do this very well. Yet there is far more to healing.

    The overall dynamic in the person’s life within which the issue came about, the re-alignment of many conscious and unconscious aspects of their lives, the deepening call for the care and attention with which they are living and the reawakening awareness that the issue is prompting within them, ALL of this requires honouring.

    If support can be offered for this, great. If not, that is okay too. But Kate Greenaway’s example is important. Let’s not pretend all is done and dusted when we have patched someone up, regained function and sent them home. That would be doing a disservice to our client.

  9. It has become such a knee jerk reaction to try and fix something and find a solution so we can manage and cope with something that is going on with our bodies. But to take the responsibility that we are the creators of our own outcome and that everything we choose has an effect on the body turns this right around. The pride that we live in and all the investment in what we have chosen can get in the way of stopping and seeing the truth. To heal the root cause as does Serge Benhayon and the teachings of Universal Medicine we cut through and arrest what has been at play and have the opportunity to start a fresh.

  10. As we all know, everything is energy and so naturally the body must be treated in a way that takes this into consideration, the physical issue and the energetic cause or momentum behind the physical outplay. It is awesome to hear about someone in your field actually wanting to treat the whole body and not just a part.

  11. Love the fact that you are approaching the whole body during a session. We tend to isolate and section the bits that aren’t functioning properly however the body is one organism and should be treated as such.

  12. You raise such an important point here Kate for practitioners regarding allowing people the space to determine what and how they change or even what they want to let go of. Otherwise it is an imposition and change is unlikely to take place.

    1. This is hugely significant. Life and the Universe is forever unfolding and expanding. We cannot possibly imagine we will know everything because we have studied some textbooks and gained some expertise however great we may be in our field. Kate Greenaway’s offers a great example for everyone working in supporting another in life: the utmost care attention and honouring of the unfolding taking place by the individual and offering our expertise to support the process.

  13. This is telling that there is so much more to healing than just fixing physical symptoms. What you share is so important as it considers the whole – and I would not necessarily have thought in the past that how we are emotionally has an impact on our organs, but it does.

  14. The way you deliver this Kate, it just makes complete sense that the way you walk, talk and carry yourself flows right on and into the quality of treatments you give. If any profession should be all about honouring the body then surely this is it. But what I hear in what you share is that this energetic law applies equally to us all. Whatever job or role we do, the quality we live is what we deliver. If the quality’s not great our body cops the lot and has to deal with the resulting toxins. So it’s clear we are all practitioners administering sessions in every moment – it’s just up to us, whether it is healing or not.

  15. I have heard it said that true medicine is treating the whole of the person not just their body or an aspect of the body but the whole. How and why did such a condition come about for the person is a question asked but only on a temporal level. How was the person truly in their being and what is it reflecting about the quality of their life? Perhaps these are questions we do not want to know the answer to because it reveals how sick and deeply irresponsible a lot of people really are.

    1. By refusing to go there and consider such questions, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. The type of reflection you talk about, would provide an understanding that the symptoms we notice have been building for a long time. and this points to the fact that the sensible place to start is the choices that end up as the symptoms.
      Does this show our irresponsibility more acutely? You bet it does. But the result of us not wanting to observe and be honest is humanity being sicker and sicker every day. Either way our choice.

  16. I love that Kate that the body has an amazing ability to organise itself to heal. We forgo that intelligence for the knowledge of the different professions associated with medical help. We will gain so much if we simply realise we are from intelligence and that intelligence can guide us along with what we know from the world of science. It is a marriage whereas currently the one intelligence has divorced the other, fortunately this can never be so as the body is forever with us waiting for us to listen.

  17. “The body has a remarkable intelligence to continually heal and bring itself to a greater level of balance and harmony.” And so it is that any modality that is offered as a tool to truly support the body back to balance must also come with the WHOLE aspect – not leaving any the lesser. Thank you Kate for this beautiful reminder!

  18. The way forward for our treatment must be one that considers the energetic being, that understands the emotions and lifestyle choices and the stresses and how they impact on the body, I agree with Kate on this. Physio treatment I have received has been, much like the fitness industry about pushing to get an outcome. It feels we all would benefit from less pushing and more understanding and allowing for the body to heal and to develop.

  19. Treating dysfunction and symptoms without looking at the bigger pictures pertains in all areas of support from a business perspective, education of parenting in the home. Either way one is offered more when they are willing to delve deeper.

  20. What is shared here is very significant:
    Again and again throughout history humanity has come to a point when it has been assumed that man has all the answers. And again and again we have been shown that the Universe and nature have an order, flow and wisdom that is far grander than the little snapshot we have managed to so proudly gain. Why are we not learning?

  21. The level of arrogance or is it ignorance – maybe both – with which humanity keeps reducing every aspect of life to a fraction of its glory is astonishing.
    In the area of the human body alone which is the area I have been focusing on, there have been many cases showing that our current ‘intelligence’ does not have the answers. For example what other factors are responsible for ‘placebo’ affects having an effect? And how come some patients buck the trend of the expected path of illness & disease, and their case labeled “spontaneous remission”?
    When so many of us tend to bury our heads in the sand big time, people like Kate Twist are precious points of light to show by example that there is a far more expansive way to approach healing, medicine and our relationship with the whole of life.

  22. I know for me as a Physiotherapist understanding that I am there to support and facilitate the human body to naturally heal in the way it needs to, rather than forcing it to mend or trying to fix it based on my own ideas has made a huge difference to how I practice and has been of great benefit to me and my clients.

  23. I have noticed that people often turn up with their issues and all they seem to be interested in is for the symptom to go away. It is relatively easy to use a technique or two to alleviate the symptom.

    But now that thanks to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine I have personally experienced the difference between the treatments offered which support me to engage with and heal the various patterns and issues that have resulted in the issue, to in contrast treatments that focus on ‘fixing’ the issue, I know that whenever we do the latter, as a therapist we come across as a hero, yet in truth we are short-changing the client in a very big way.

  24. Thank you Kate for your wise words in sharing that any given outcome that is imposed upon another cannot be a true healing.

  25. So Kate! How long before you are running and writing the physio courses so that all our upcoming health practitioners have the extraordinary awareness that you have come to?

  26. “how I live, how I work, how I support my patients physically, emotionally and energetically is what I would call True Physiotherapy”. Kate what an amazing reflection of what true work is, it is whole life work, a way of being that carries a true quality in all that we do. Despite knowing this it’s so easy to put life into different boxes, work, home etc.. rather than live truly as everything affects everything else.

  27. The physiotherapy approach that you use is the most natural one, yet the least common. Thanks for sharing it here in this blog for it to be spread and to restore a connected way of treating patients based on a holistic view and deep respect for them. There is much more in the body than what we can see in its shape.

    1. This approach is indeed supportive on a far bigger scale than the usual targeting of eradication of symptoms. It sets the bar for the way to truly look after patients.

  28. This is so how the future of physiotherapy must be taught Kate. It is so ludicrous to work on just the physical as therapists and not on the rest of the body. And the understanding that our responsibility as health care professional needs to be our foundation from the outset, to know that how we live, move and eat, is crucial to the quality of our treatments.

  29. I can see how interesting it must be to work in physiotherapy having the knowledge that can potentially ‘fix’ another person who may be in pain or with limited movements. And it is great to read how you could see through all of this and in to the person who you were treating, and could sense that they perhaps actually already had inside of them what is needed to heal, and all you need to do is facilitate this. It takes away the potential for glamour from you and and of being identified by your practise, as it truly becomes about people, the person you are treating and so on. This to me is the mark of a real practitioner.

  30. Since I have come to understand more about my body it has become obvious that when I am sick, tired or emotional I begin to move very differently. At these times my body can feel very heavy and moving is not as easy as it usually is. It doesn’t make sense that the majority of healing professionals, especially those working with the movement of the body, don’t take the patient’s overall condition into consideration; after all everything is energy and therefore how we feel must affect how we move and from the smallest movement to the biggest, every movement matters.

  31. As a patient it makes the world of difference when my practitioner knows my body has the ability to heal itself and that there is a way, a timing and a rhythm that is unique to this body. I feel way more supported in my commitment to heal when this aspect is part of our relationship.

    1. Yes Adele, this itself is hugely healing. The acceptance that we are very capable of sensing and knowing what is going on for us and the return to our natural care, appreciation and honouring of the wisdom offered to us by our own body, is immensely empowering, on many many levels.

  32. I was an extreme case of what you are talking about, the fact that it is not so useful to just hone in on the ‘problem’ joints and muscles to loosen or tighten them up without “considering the body as a whole, and certainly doesn’t take into account the emotional status or energetic vitality of the person”.

    I have a severe case of scoliosis with 2 extra side bends and a twist in my spine where my body has tried to compensate. So as you can imagine there are a lot of joints and muscles in my body that can be targeted specifically to loosen or tighten to support me simply to stand up straighter.

    These are the kind of treatments I did seek before coming across Universal Medicine and my start to deepen my understanding and addressing the various general issues I had with my relationship with life, Universe, people, expression and responsibility. I was not even thinking about my scoliosis. But after a while I noticed I had naturally started to be more upright and straight.

    From such a stark experience I don’t see it as just a nice idea to considering the patient’s whole life in any treatment, I would categorically claim that it is absolutely vital for any true support and healing.

  33. As in everything else, working towards an image of how one has to be does not truly helps anyone. It does not help because it does not meet the body you are working with and go together from there, but it seeks to force the body towards a functioning that is alien to it.

  34. “I know how you should be and move, and this is the technique I will use to fix you” – this method of ‘fixing’ the body is not sustainable in any sense; by not addressing the underlying cause and looking at ways to change this, what’s to guarantee the ‘fix’ will last? And fixing the physical ailment may also leave undealt with stress, emotions or issues, so the ‘fix’ may only be very surface level.

  35. Beautifully expressed Kate for when we reduce our body into parts we totally miss the divinity and exquisite interactivity of its wholeness.

  36. We should have learned by now, because nature has been showing it to us, that focusing on one part of anything, only helps that part… for a while. But sooner or later we tend to find out that some other area was compromised as a result.

    It is worthwhile stopping and considering that the reason we are struggling with so much in life is because of the way we are relating to life. Looking at life in segments and reducing our awareness and relationship to the whole does not work.

  37. “What was making me uneasy in treating in this standard way, was that it was not taking into account the body’s ability to heal itself.” So true. I have found that when I clock something not quite right and nominate it and then book an appointment to see a practitioner- be they medical or complementary- healing can start to happen overnight….

  38. After a period of receiving treatments with the understanding and consideration as offered in this blog, any treatment less than this in comparison feels quite dishonouring of my body and my process of unfolding in life and makes me feel abused in some way.

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