The Pilates room at Miracle Massage Pilates and Fitness (above)
A unique education and mentoring opportunity
I was recently honoured to be invited to spend a mentoring and workshop weekend in Goulburn with my long-time colleague and friend, Andrew Curry. We were at his newly renovated, state-of-the-art clinic, Miracle Massage Pilates and Fitness. Andrew enlisted me to provide one-on-one mentoring and practical workshops covering the NAT Hip and NAT Frozen Shoulder protocols, including how to incorporate them into his unique clinic.
I first met Andrew in 2003 when I was presenting at the Australian Conference of Medicine in Sport in Canberra. At that time, he was a contracted therapist for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). Andrew and I have maintained contact since then, sharing a similar love for our job and how the body works. Andrew established his clinic in 2001 in central-Goulburn and trained in Pilates, before it became a mainstream exercise system. Since that time, Andrew has built his clinic using a unique combination of Pilates and soft-tissue therapy, whereas other clinics most often pair Pilates with physiotherapy.
What makes Miracle Massage Pilates and Fitness so unique?
Andrew’s clinic produces exceptional results because he develops a tailored program for each individual who starts training with him, and provides very fine attention to detail as they progress through his customised program. Andrew provides soft-tissue therapy to treat any areas of restriction or inhibitions that are exposed in the Pilates strength or functional movement programs.
Andrew introduced a membership program for his clients, which now boasts a substantial number of members; a particularly impressive feat given that the total population of Goulburn is only 25,000. He is now in the process of integrating all of his exercises and programs into an app that clients will be able to access for information and to log their progress. I am not surprised that Andrew has established such a strong client base because the quality of his therapy and service is second-to-none that I have witnessed.
The purpose for spending the weekend with Andrew and his team was two-fold; to tour the new clinic and give feedback, and to provide training in the NAT Hip and Frozen Shoulder protocols, including how to implement them in the new clinic. Other guests at the workshop were two podiatrists from Sydney and Jane, an assistant from his Pilates studio. Jane is in the final stages of her Pilates training. She was observing to gain an understanding of the NAT protocols and how to identify when clients may need soft tissue therapy intervention. Andrew also invited several of his clients who agreed to be subjects for the hip and shoulder sequences as we put them into practice. This was a unique advantage as we were able to apply the protocols in an almost real-life clinic setting and see a true representation of the immediate improvements in the clients’ functional movements. I demonstrated the techniques on each participant, which they then performed on me.
Demonstrating the NAT Hip Protocol (above)
The unique opportunity to combine tailored mentoring and a practical workshop in the clients’ own clinical environment was highly valuable for all who were involved. Andrew is a skilled and progressive therapist who has established an extremely valuable service for the Goulburn region. It is through these types of hands-on workshops that my students and mentees see the highly-effective and immediate results produced by NAT protocols. It is extremely satisfying for me to see them master the techniques and grasp the positive implications for their practice going forward.
Well, that’s all I have to say for now. Andrew’s feedback from the weekend is below.
Stuart Hinds: Where did the idea for an in-clinic workshop and mentoring weekend come from?
Andrew: After sixteen-and-a-half years in private practice, it has become a challenge to satisfy the needs of professional development, so I wanted to find a solution that was both highly-valuable and tailored to my business that involved my whole team of soft-tissue therapists and Pilates instructors.
In the previous twelve months, I had been involved with Stuart's online mentoring program, which has been informative, cost-effective and provided invaluable one-on-one feedback. Working with Stuart also appealed to me because he not only has a decorated career working with elite athletes but an equally successful career in private practice. Given my existing involvement with Stuart, it made complete sense to bring him into our clinic environment to conduct courses and engage him in a consultancy capacity to look at our processes and physical layout.
SH: What were the benefits of learning in this format?
A: When I first approached Stuart I think he was a little surprised. STTs are always on a budget, so I think that putting forward such a proposal was a little outside the norm. My proposal was to study the NAT Frozen Shoulder and Hip protocols.
The benefits of learning in this format were significant. These included:
- Ease of learning the techniques
- Integration of the techniques into current STT clinical practices
- Relating the techniques to my Pilates practice and instructors
- Cost and time-effectiveness (the hip and shoulder courses would usually take two weekends to attend, with associated travel and accommodation costs)
- It’s real and provided by someone with clinical experience and specific business acumen for our industry
The protocols for the shoulder and the hip are unique. Learning them in a small group situation enabled our team to understand and learn the techniques quickly. We were also able to treat each other and cement the techniques in our own clinic environment. The third and most critical part of the in-house process was that I could bring clients in who had the clinical conditions that we were learning about. Treating them first-hand just made it feel like we had been doing it for months, not hours.
When you attend any course for professional development the toughest thing, apart from learning the theory, is to integrate the new techniques into your existing practice. Often, therapists who attend a course will just go and treat everyone with that technique the following week. Therapists like this are missing the point. Don't throw the ‘baby out with the bathwater’. These aren’t replacement techniques. If you integrate them into your paradigm of assessment you can use them exactly when they are relevant. With onsite training, Stuart was able to achieve this with my staff efficiently and effectively.
With a clinical understanding of the treatment techniques learnt from Stuart came an ease of relating them to my Pilates practice. This is important so that my staff can provide educated treatment options that are not only effective for relevant conditions of the hip and shoulders but also in making referrals for STT based on facts, not just an in-house up-sell to try and generate more income.
SH: Why choose Stuart Hinds?
A: Our industry is littered with people who make great claims about how to boost your client numbers or get you to six-figure incomes. If you start asking some questions of these so-called 'experts', what you find is that they are operating from a business template that has been adapted for multiple industries. They may have achieved six-figures once in their career but most have not been able to continually treat high volumes of clients successfully, year-in and year-out. They are ripping people off!
"Stuart has completed over 62,000 massages throughout his career. He continually treats clients and evolves his practice. Successful long-term clinics also need to be run as a business. You cannot survive on a high number of client treatments. Stuart also has his successful business acumen as represented by his own business. If you want to learn how to be successful in our industry you need to be paying someone like Stuart to help you develop your skills as a Soft Tissue/Myotherapist and business owner."
Stuart's passion, energy and drive for our industry is infectious! He gives you 110% every time and is not afraid to challenge you (or be challenged). He is Victorian and has one of the driest forms of sarcasm you will encounter. Thanks for coming to spend the weekend with us in Goulburn Stu and I look forward to our next meeting.
L-R: Andrew Curry, Jane Goodfellow, Hayley Thawley, Bec Flower and Stuart Hinds (above)
A second treatment room is now open at Miracle Massage Pilates and Fitness so there is an exceptional employment opportunity currently available for another therapist. I urge anyone who may be interested to contact Andrew. Post-graduate students, please feel free to apply too.
About the author
Stuart Hinds is one of Australia’s leading soft tissue therapists, with over 27 years of experience as a practitioner, working with elite sports athletes, supporting Olympic teams, educating and mentoring others as well as running a highly successful clinic in Geelong.
Stuart has a strong following of practitioners across Australia and globally who tap into his expertise as a soft-tissue specialist. He delivers a range of highly sought after seminars across Australia, supported by online videos, webinars and one-on-one mentoring to help support his colleagues to build successful businesses.
In 2016, Stuart was awarded a lifetime membership to Massage & Myotherapy Australia for his significant support and contribution to the industry.
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This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.