‘Absolutely phenomenal!’


After eight months of being unable to walk and after countless other treatments, Franco Gasparotti turned to Leon Almashan at PhysioExtra – and today Franco is setting off on an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Franco suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being seriously injured in the Coldstream Guards in Ulster. His weight ballooned to 27 stone as a result.

After losing an incredible 17 stone and reducing his waist size from 72 to 32 inches he is now a fitness consultant

He still needs skinfold removal surgery and is raising funds through the Kilimanjaro expedition.

The whole trip was put in jeopardy due plantar fasciitis.

“My heels were so bad, I could hardly walk,” says Franco. “I tried everything, then heard about Leon’s Shockwave treatment at PhysioExtra. I could hardly walk 12 feet, but the day after the first session I walked 12 miles and I’ve been walking 15 miles a day ever since, catching up on eight months of missed training.

“I can only describe the results of Leon’s treatment as absolutely phenomenal!”

For further information about Franco’s appeal: https://www.gofundme.com/francoappeal


Lose your ‘spare tyre’ – it can kill

Having a ‘spare tyre’ around belly worse than being obese, a long-term scientific study has found.


The Annals of Internal Medicine in the US found that normal-weight men with extra fat around their middles were twice as likely to die than those classed as overweight or obese.


The damaging effect on women was slightly less pronounced but still increased their risk of death by up to 40 percent.


This is because having a “spare tyre” is connected with the accumulation of visceral fat around the internal organs


Unlike subcutaneous fat, which lies just below the skin, deep-lying visceral fat is associated with many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

The good news is that you can do something about it. And no, the right response isn’t to put weight on all over!


Eating less calories and burning off calories is the way to go. A weight loss of five to 10 percent of your total body weight can help reduce visceral fat stores.


You can work with a dietitian to design a nutrition plan for you that focuses on improving your health.


To start with, increase your exercise – any activity that gets your heart rate up and you moving for an hour is good. This should also be mixed with some high-intensity training.


For every 10% of overall weight loss, you lose 30% of your visceral fat – and you can target it effectively with a 60-minute workout involving rowing machine sprints, light weight reps, squats and press-ups, for example.


Weight loss takes time. Don’t expect to lose weight overnight – you didn’t gain it overnight.


So maintaining motivation is key – and a good trainer is invaluable for this.






Weekend warriors

Someone with a shaven head in combat fatigues screaming at you as you agonisingly push your body to its limits.

If this is what comes to mind when you hear the words ‘boot camp’, think again: at PhysioExtra’s new Saturday morning boot camp on Ham Common the trainer, Austin, doesn’t wear any military clothing.

And he is actually a nice lad who certainly knows his stuff when it comes to varying exercises and stretches.

Quite a lot of the hour consists of warming up then stretching down.

Frankly I was knackered after the warm up. The press-ups and squat thrusts on the circuit demonstrated what I already knew: I am unfit. This felt harder work than pushing my ageing body around the park for a gentle jog once a week.

One of the positives about training in a group is that there is usually someone suffering more than you – or someone who makes it look easier, shaming you to not collapse in a sobbing heap. In other words: it caters for a mixed range of abilities from the super keen to the reluctantly resigned.

And despite the macho name, it’s more about encouragement than pressure. You do the exercises to your own level and can do simpler variations if you have any injuries (or are just decrepit like me).

If you haven’t done it before, it’s basically circuit training outdoors – which is marginally preferable to being in a gym. Especially if you have an aversion to Kiss FM.

Ham Common is beautiful. And being a nice area, there isn’t any dog poo.

The session costs £10 and the first one is free (plus a complementary beverage at the nearby café). It starts at 10 a.m.

You certainly feel like you’ve earned a weekend of sloth and indulgence afterwards.






Gardening injury prevention tips


Gardening has a rather gentle, sedate image, but perils await the unwary in the shrubbery!

Besides biting insects, harmful chemicals, sharp equipment and (for a couple of days a year anyway) sunstroke, the bending, lifting and twisting involved is a common cause of injury.

Gardening is an excellent workout, as anyone who has lugged a 40-pound bag of compost or spent an afternoon yanking out knotweed can tell you. And it should be treated like a sport by warming up beforehand – especially at the beginning of the season, or day, before you have limbered up properly.

Lower back injuries like slipped discs are not uncommon, but the good news is that a lot of injuries are preventable.

It’s tempting to try and get everything done when the weather is inviting, but don’t go mad and try to do everything in one go – break it down into gentler sessions, alternating between tasks to avoid overstraining the same muscles.

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your muscles hydrated.
  • Warm up with a hot shower or a brisk walk. Circle your arms
  • Take frequent stretching breaks – stand and lean backwards with your hands on your hips.

Leon back

  • Reach overhead and rotate your head side to side.

Leon stretch arms Leon arm behind head Leon arms to side

  • Roll the shoulders.

Leon shoulder 1Leon shoulder 2

  • Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty so you don’t carry mucky things at a distance from your body, putting extra strain on your lower back and neck. Clutching that flowerpot close to your body reduces the strain tenfold.

Leon bucket wrong Leon bucket right

  • Don’t dig when the ground is too dry or the soil is too heavy with water. When digging, insert the blade of the shovel in the ground vertically and lift a small amount of soil at a time.
  • When raking, step into the movement, rather than bending forward and stretching out your arms.
  • Avoid overstretching. When trimming branches or high hedges, avoid strain on the neck use a stepladder or long-handled tools with bring the work within reach.
  • Use a gardening stool for weeding to avoid bending from the waist and using your back muscles.

Leon bend wrong Leon bend right

  • Evenly distribute your body weight while lifting and contract your abdominal muscles. Lift with the legs, bending the knees. Or ask someone to give you a hand with the heavy lifting.
  • Work at waist height with elbows bent and arms at your sides whenever possible. While mowing the lawn or pushing a barrow keep the back long and arms close to your sides with hands near hips.
  •  Don’t overfill the wheelbarrow. Two journeys with lighter loads is safer.
  • Avoid twisting the back. Keep your nose between your toes so the hips, shoulders and feet are turning in the same direction.
  • Likewise, when potting or pruning, make sure the hips, shoulders and feet are facing what you are working on. An adjustable workbench is a useful tool to avoid bending.
  • Warm down afterwards– repeat the stretching exercise, walk around the garden, and then soak in a warm bath.

Leon twist Leon twist 1 Leon quad Leon back of shoulders Leon bos start Leon knees Leon calf Leon crouch

Gardening is a great way of staying fit and getting into the habit of following these few simple steps will help you stay that way.

And if you already have an injury, give us a call and we’ll help get you back into the garden as soon as possible.

Thai Yoga Massage

[from a post to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Physio-Extra]

Last week I had a massage from Adela who recently started at my local physio studio, PhysioExtra.

Despite doing my best to set up an ergonomic workstation, tapping away all day at a screen means I end up with chronically tight neck and shoulder muscles, not to mention my lower back and hips, so the occasional massage is a real treat.

To be honest, at first I was a bit sceptical about the “Thai Yoga Massage” Adela practices. I’ve had a lot of massages while travelling in Thailand and not much has come close to their standards in England, but she certainly knows her stuff.

The hour-long session was on a mat in the gym with some relaxing music. I was actually so relaxed that I almost nodded off.

Adela has a really pleasant manner. You basically relax and leave it all to her as she stretches and manipulates your back and limbs, working from head to foot.

She doesn’t faff around and presses deep into knots of tension, managing to be firm and gentle at the same time.

Talking to her, you can tell she has a lot of knowledge and passion about what she does.

She calls it yoga massage because a lot of the stretches are similar to those in yoga, but because she is helping you stretch it’s more dynamic than anything you’d be able to achieve in a yoga class – at least as a beginner.

I came out of my session feeling relaxed and lighter. I quickly realised that my usual aches had dissipated. Not surprisingly, they are back again after a week in front of the screen.

In an ideal world, everyone would get a massage like this every day…

Live long and prosper!

Who wants to get old? No one over the age of 21 – but it’s one of life’s unfortunate inevitables along with taxes (unless you’re HSBC, it seems).

But the good news is that exercising can offset the ageing process.

As we get older growth hormone production decreases and there is a weakening and loss of muscle mass. This has serious effects on the metabolism, because amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are stored in muscle.

So beefing up is not just about getting a six-pack – it can keep you young.

Increased physical fitness also boosts growth hormone release, counteracting the effects of ageing.

Building up your muscle mass also improves

  • coordination and balance, helping people avoid falls
  • joint flexibility and mobility
  • cardiovascular and respiratory function
  • bone strength, making people less prone to fractures

Regular exercise also helps prevents heart disease, type two diabetes, cancer, and depression – so why do so few people do it?

In 2011, a report by the Chief Medical Officer found that only 40% of men and 28% of women in England do enough exercise to achieve health benefits.

There are many reasons why, but it is never too late to get fit. The human body responds to exercise, no matter what its age.

The key is finding an exercise regime that suits you individual needs and limitations.


10 tips for Lent

The 40 days of Lent are a good time to give up unhealthy habits and cultivate a few healthy ones.

Here are our top 10 tips to guarantee feeling fitter by Easter:

1. Give up smoking – you know all the reasons why. Just stub it out! (Have you ever tried hypnotherapy?)

2. Take up walking. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference, so cut out lifts and escalators and leave the car behind.

3. Give up sugar – refined sugar in fizzy drinks is one of the major causes of obesity and is linked to a range of health problems such as type 2 diabetes.

4. Eat more fruit. This is a great substitute for sugar as well as a vital source of vitamins.

5. Give up your lie-in. Get up, get a shower, get moving and get things done. Lying in can leave you feeling listless.

6. Eat a healthy breakfast. Starting the day the right way can give you the energy you need.

7. Give up late nights. Sleep is good for you in so many ways, so substitute late night TV or computer games for a relaxing decaf tea and a good book (nothing too exciting – the idea is to send you gently to sleep!)

8. Water – keeping yourself properly hydrated reduces your craving for unhealthy drinks and food.

9. Give up TV: couch potatoes have a higher risk of health problems.

10. Give up alcohol. It will make you thinner, fitter and improve your sleep.

Lose weight with hypnotherapy

Struggling to keep those New Year diet resolutions?


Rather than try another weight-loss fad you could try a little hypnotherapeutic help.


Hypnosis addresses the real reasons why you unconsciously choose bad eating habits.


A hypnotherapist cannot promise you will go on to lose weight after just one session, but will give you new techniques to manage your own health and make permanent healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle.


Hypnosis can increase your motivation to exercise, stop compulsive eating and help you reduce portion sizes.