A short review I wrote for the ‘Spa Spy’ section of The Scotsman newspaper’s magazine.


The Treatment

An Initial physiotherapy session at Empower Physiotherapy (Scotsman Health Club & Spa, 1 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TR, 0747 202 4559, www.liveempowered.co.uk). This 60-minute assessment is designed to deliver an in-depth diagnosis, a detailed, personalised treatment plan, and an estimate of the time to reach recovery. GBP45.

Clem working on a client (not me).

Owner practitioner Clem Nihill’s background is in project management and business consultancy. A period of ill health led to his retraining as a personal trainer, neuromuscular therapist, and in 2015 he achieved his second MSc. in Physiotherapy at Queen Margaret University. His experience of those worlds combined (corporate and healthcare) have instructed a unique and effective approach to treatment.

Why go?

The clue is in the name: the Empower Physiotherapy philosophy isn’t to fill the books with loyal patients, but to empower customers with the necessary self-help knowledge and capabilities. Success means customers being quickly able to stand on their own two feet (literal and metaphoric), no longer requiring Clem’s services to be active and discomfort-free. He wants to quickly get rid of you, but in a nice way.

When it comes to defining a strategy for dealing with pain, Clem looks at three main areas in order to determine a source and solution: biological factors (such as congenital structures of the body or physical trauma), psychological factors (how your state of mind might be contributing to pain), and sociological factors (any outside influences that might be taking a negative toll).

Our spy says

The session began with Clem enquiring into those biological, psychological and sociological factors that might be contributing to my pain. My areas of concern were my glutes, lower back and lower leg. The initial diagnosis was sciatic pain, which had probably been triggered by a wake boarding accident a month previous, and was being exacerbated by prolonged deskbound periods.

Next, I was a hands-on examination to determine the extent of my injury. Clem moved me this way and that, gently pushed and prodded, checking for pain, imbalances and looking at the degree of movement available in my affected and unaffected legs.

Next stop was the gym. We occupied a mat in a quiet corner and Clem ran me through a series of exercises. Partly their purpose was a further look for any muscular imbalances, and partly to demonstrate solutions. Clem ran me through a series of stretches and exercises that I’d be able to perform unassisted, to help relieve and strengthen the affected areas.

By the end of the twenty-or-so minutes I was sweating more profusely, and had put in more effort, than half the people working out on the adjacent Olympic bars.

The results

I ended my session in pain, the good satisfying discomfort that signals the end of a productive workout. I took Clem’s advice away with me, added his recommended exercises to my daily routine, was pain-free within a few days and haven’t felt a sciatic twinge since. You could say I am cured but I’d rather call it empowered.