Working with Tommy Mitchell

Video excerpt from Road to Recovery courtesy of Hawthorn FC

Working with an exceptional athlete like Tommy is about exploration in the relationship as the direction of development and adaptation come together via discussion and practice.

In the above video, I am giving Tommy ideal feedback through his right ankle. This approach has changed the perception of use, and we have made great progress in better biomechanics for shock absorption and efficient running.

The rotation work we are doing using the power bands as feedback mechanism for the trunk-pelvis, trains the diagonal body (contralateral stability) for ideal recruitment via thoraco-lumbar fascia functionally and biomechanically. This fascia is the connection of the diagonal posterior sling. We were doing this also to help out the left lower extremity where Tommy had the break.

Training the transverse (rotational) plane is about knowing the long axis of the body and being accurate in moving in ways that train our locomotion pattern.

This work is both challenging and empowering because you realise that it is possible to facilitate the actual software of the brain/CNS where the patterns are encoded as our locomotor program.

Tommy’s dedication to be the best athlete/footballer he can be, will only keep expanding as the majority of the foundation of linking attention with movement is well developed.

We both look forward to getting a good run into 2021, with much improved causes and conditions for training and experimenting!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Blog: I Have Tried In My Way To Be Free by Phillip Marvin

I love Music and I love clear pointing.  Please find a great piece on the late Leonard Cohen by Phillip Marvin.


Posted in Awareness | Leave a comment

Guest Blog: Manual Therapy or Functional Exercises? by Hans Lindgren DC

Hans has the knack of making complex topics, easier to understand by distilling the essence.

Link to the full article below;

Please enjoy:

Lately there has been criticism raised against manual therapy and it has sometimes been quite aggressive. Comments have been made that if a Practitioner lays you down on a table the treatment is outdated and ineffective. Functional Exercises are instead being promoted as the answer to everybody’s pain syndromes. Much of this loud criticism is made with comments like “backs don’t go out” and “discs don’t slip” so therefore manual therapy must be ineffective.

First up I would like to assure all Practitioners who use Manual Therapy to alleviate their patients pain syndromes, that there is nothing wrong in your approach.

Let us look at the concept of Functional Exercises:

What is a functional exercise?

A functional exercise is any exercise that is performed with joint centration created by functional stabilization throughout the entire movement.

Joint Centration is the joint position where there is maximum contact of the joint surfaces allowing for maximal loading without straining the surrounding supportive tissues. Joint centration is a brain program, and functional training is therefore not just performing certain “functional exercises” but keeping the joints in functional positions while performing exercises.

We can therefore just look at an exercise to quickly determine if it is a functional exercise or not.

Manual Therapy is often, if utilized correctly, the quickest way to get a person out of pain. It is almost impossible to assess a person’s functional movement patterns when they are in pain. Pain will often distort movement patterns and not allow for an accurate evaluation. How would a squat pattern look for someone with acute back-pain, and if that person cannot squat properly should someone try to teach them how to squat in pain or would it be a smarter solution to get the person out of pain and then assess their movement patterns? A well-structured exercise program can often be very beneficial in the acute stages of back pain, but the movement patterns have to be properly assessed once the pain is gone.

The fact is that the answer to the question of whether we should promote Manual Therapy or Functional Exercises is that the combination of the two is far superior than either approach on its own.

We can illustrate this with a pendulum that just has swung out to one side, but it will turn and come back again.

Manual Therapy Functional Exercises 01

There is nothing wrong with Manual Therapy if it is combined with a Functional Exercise approach. Manual Therapy on its own is often not enough to create a difference in how the patient moves. The majority of the patients seeking help are in pain because they do not move properly, so if we don’t change how they move, how can we expect them to have lasting improvement.

The answer to the backpain epidemic is however not more or better treatment, but an approach designed to educate people on how to look after themselves better to PREVENT problems. Manual Therapy (and even in certain cases surgery) will always be in demand, but it should not be the aim.

Prevention is much better than cure!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a proper study done comparing the benefits and effects of Manual Therapy versus Functional Exercise regimes? Then just imagine a third group where the two were combined: Manual Therapy to alleviate the pain as quickly as possible, and then assess and implement effective functional training. I bet that after x number of months, while the manual therapy group were still seeing their practitioners very 2 weeks, and the Exercise group were struggling with some basic “non-functional” movement patterns, the combined group would be out squatting and deadlifting.

The Practitioner of the future will have very effective manual skills, and also be trained to assess and correct their patient’s movement patterns with properly executed functional exercises.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Holy Trinity of Ideal Function: Observation, Palpation, Supervision.

I recently attended ‘DNS applied to the Tennis Athlete’ in LA which was facilitated by Professor Pavel Kolar.

Pavel is an extraordinary Clinician because of his training, his experience, and his ongoing commitment to the evolution of DNS.  He also has a superb team of Physiotherapists who travel the world delivering courses and contributing to the further development of the System/Approach.

I was having a drink with Hans Lindgren DC one night during the course, and we discussed Pavel’s Observational and Palpatory skills.  He doesn’t take a patient history prior to assessing them, as he doesn’t want this information to bias his findings!  He will also check scans after assessment, to see if his palpation was accurate to the information in the scan.  It is this level of big picture upgrade of  global function which sees the DNS Approach continue to lead the world in its ability to bring best practice to the table at the result level.

The third skill I want to highlight is the supervision of exercise/movement.  Pavel and the Team of Prague Physiotherapists are exceptional at creating Global Centration.  This means that the entire posture is organised for Global efficiency via the process of Developmental Kinesiology.

My confidence in DNS is a product of the changes I have noticed in my posture/stability/function as I practice, play and experiment with the neurodevelopmental perspective, and the incredible changes that I observe in my clients, as they improve through practice and understanding!  Number one for me though, remains that DNS is Intrinsic to All of Us as Humans.  If you have taken the time to study Evolution, you would appreciate how amazing it is, that we have the capacity to stabilise as Upright Organisms!

If you are seeing me in a consult, I will follow this process of Observation, Palpation (Bodywork) and Supervision.

I observe standing posture, single leg stance, squat, quadruped, Prone plank, kneeling lunge and most importantly your walking pattern.  If you are coming from a sport or task based background, I will ask you to shadow the patterns that you want to improve or understand better, and this is a wonderfully buy-in for both of us, as we go deeper!

I use a proprioceptive form of bodywork, to check in with the observations, and begin to change the habitual perception of the body.  The treatment opens the window for change.

When we go to the exercises, we start with the integration of respiration/stability in supine.  The challenge for the vast majority of us is to learn that the diaphragm can change its shape to activate intra-abdominal pressure.  This pressure is the basis for stabilising the spine from inside!

Functional Ideal Posture-Stability from Clinical Rehabilitation by Kolar

Learning how to bring the diaphragm into a horizontal position, and maintain this using stabilising function, is the basis for lengthening the spine intrinsically.  This is practiced in supported positions, and progressively taken into more challenging positions, where coordination and balance challenges come increasingly into play.

The posture-movement spectrum that is observable in the first 15 months of life, is the movement template that is the key to full-function through your life-span!  This is because transverse plane function is the key to gliding and the highest performance of skilful movement.

Our walking, running, hitting, striking, kicking and throwing patterns all require efficient rotation to be sustainable.  You’re never too young or too old to start!

Call me for 1-1 consults or consider our 5Dmovement DNS sessions on Wednesday evenings in Prahran.


Posted in Awareness, Movement, Performance, Stability | Leave a comment