From Niggly Knees to Shin Splits: This Is Why Everyone’s Obsessing Over Biokinetics
And 7 reasons why you should give it a go
Written by Emma Pritchard of Women's Health.
You’ve just got your head around the differences between a physiotherapist, osteopath and chiropractor, when along comes someone new: a biokineticist, who practices – you guessed it – biokinetics.
No, this is not some lab-based scientist, but a health care practitioner who, whether you’ve experienced an injury such as a wrist injury or shin splints; are suffering from niggling knees, hips or back pain; or are, seemingly, fit as a fiddle, could be your golden ticket to better, balanced, pain-free movement – for life.
That’s right. Biokinetics, which stems from South Africa and is just starting to pop up here on Blighty, is no patch-up-and-send-off type treatment but a get-to-the-root-of-the-problem approach that uses exercise as medicine. It’s also a way of preventing that pain or injury in the first place.
Keep reading for 7 reasons why you should give biokinetics a go.
7 REASONS TO TRY BIOKINETICS
1. Biokinetics looks at the body as a whole
And sees every body as being completely unique – which it is, obvs. ‘We look at how the joints, muscles and soft tissues integrate with each other and, if they’re not integrating correctly, prescribe exercises that will help improve that,’ Trollip says.
So, just because you may be feeling pain in your ankle, it doesn’t mean that’s the area needing to be fixed. ‘The pain might be coming from a dysfunctional joint higher up, which is then presenting symptomatically at the ankle. Instead of fixing a symptom, biokinetics works to get to the root cause and solve that, to ensure the injury or pain doesn’t just cease temporarily but won’t occur again at all.’
2. Biokinetics is for everyone – fit and healthy or injury-prone bodies alike
It pays to be prepared. And that couldn’t be more true than when it comes to your health. So why power through that niggling joint or area of restricted movement – and wait until it becomes something serious – before seeking expert advice?
‘Biokinetics is the science of healthy movement,’ says biokineticist Julia Trollip, founder of JT Biokinetics. ‘We don’t just fix things but look at how we can prevent pain in the first place, through muscle strengthening exercises, soft tissue release and better body alignment.
‘Whether you work out regularly, feel fit and strong, lead a sedentary job or have an injury or chronic condition, biokinetics can help to maximise the quality of your movement by evening out imbalances of strength and flexibility in the body, therefore protecting the health of your joints in the long run.’
3. Biokinetics believes movement is for life – and can be regained regardless of age or stage
‘My pet hate is people being told their problems are age-related,’ says Trollip. ‘Biokinetics has helped wheelchair-bound people in their 90s to walk again; enabled people in their 40s to avoid knee replacement surgery; and prevented sporting injuries in children and adults. It’s never too late to make a difference.’
4. The biokinetics mantra? Exercise is the best form of medicine
So no painkillers or ice packs here then.
‘A lot of people are told to take paracetamol and rest to combat pain or injury but this doesn’t assess the extent of the damage and is simply masking an underlying problem,’ Trollip says.
Which means? Once gone, that pain is simply lying dormant waiting to strike – and worsen.
‘Movement, however, is a natural healer and a great deal can be fixed by a course of carefully-curated exercises.’
5. Biokinetics can identify areas of muscular weakness – and strengthen even the most stubborn hot spots
Take a close look at your form next time to smash out a session at the squat rack or an hour of CrossFit – it could be you’re not as strong as you think you are, and your body is doing its best to compensate (FYI, to its detriment).
Letting the wrong muscle groups take the load in common exercises or moving in an unbalanced fashion can put joints at unnecessary risk – and make your workout much harder than it should be. Biokinetics can help identify those – often surprising – areas of weakness. And yes, glutes are a common one.
‘Nobody likes to hear that,’ says Trollip. ‘And it could be that your body is just really good at hiding it – but, eventually, as a result, niggles or injuries will rear their head, at which point serious damage could have already been done.’
The takeaway – if you train regularly, or are starting out at fitness, get your alignment and strengths/weaknesses checked out by a pro.
6. Biokinetics will give you better form and technique, whichever way you train
It makes sense, right. If biokinetics can help identify which buttock is taking the load and which one is having an hour off, getting both to work evenly is only going to bring about benefits.
‘As well as bodyweight exercises, biokinetics also uses neuro muscular stimulation to strengthen specific muscles – and ensure they’re firing up in a particular exercise in the first place,’ Trollip says.
7. Biokinetics can be done anywhere
Once you’ve got your exercise prescription, the exercises – think single-leg shoulder bridges, balance-testing lunges, clams – can be carried out anytime, anywhere, meaning you’ve no excuses not to keep your body in tip-top working order.
‘Set an alarm every hour and do your stretches,’ says Trollip. ‘Or start and end the day with them, at least. You’ll feel the benefits much more than staying at your desk, scrolling Facebook.’