Hand's On- What is it?

I had a great phone call with Kelly Hopcraft, Physiotherapist, today talking to her about Hands On treatment.  My first question, of course, as I'm sure yours is, "What is Hand's On?"

Well, Hands On is manual physiotherapy. Kelly uses her hands not modalities. Using all her knowledge of the human body, her knowledge of our multi-faceted injuries and issues, Kelly is able to assist with myofascial release, mobilization and passive range of motion. Add in there passive stretching and decrease in pain and suddenly Hands On should be on everyone’s To Do List!

Mobilization increases and improves our joint mobility and range of motion. Hands On therapy can also improve muscle flexibility and break up scar tissue that is forming. It also realigns muscle and tendon fibres in the body, thereby decreasing pain. Unlike a massage, Hands On can treat joints as well as muscles.

I broke my arm a few years ago while skating with my Grandson, and after the bone knit I had bad tingling in my hand and then numbness. However, these problems didn’t actually come from the break area, but higher up my arm and into my shoulder. Who knew? Kelly did; she also helps to educate clients so we can better understand our bodies. Tingling in feet can come from the lower back, and as with me, tingling in the hand can come from the shoulder. Happily, Kelly also shares with her clients exercises that you can do at home. You don’t have to stay away from Hands On believing it is a forever type of thing; you can help yourself with her education and exercises, and go back if you should need more treatments. My hand sometimes is problematic in the winter, or when the humidity is extra high in the summer, but in between times I do my exercises and jog along very happily, with no pain or numbness. However, I did give my skates away J

Kelly confirmed that Hands On can help with golf and tennis elbow problems; hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis (especially as the waiting list for a knee replacement is 2 years!) Other areas that can be helped with Hands On are neck pain; upper and lower back pain; shoulder and rotator cuff issues; tendonitis; ankle sprains – pretty much anything really!

I asked Kelly how Hands On works together with Pilates and she explained that they correlate well. Pilates is all about strengthening and flexibility and Hands On helps you get the range of motion you need and the joint mobilization. Hands On basically gets at the issues that exercise can’t reach.

Core is important in Pilates, and Kelly explained that it supports your spine. Low back pain issues can cause some spine stability loss. Your core gives support to the spine and helps to prevent more pain and injury. Using Hands On and Pilates to strengthen your spine and core feels like adding ice cream to your apple pie!

- Kathryn Recourt