5 TEDTalks to Inspire Rehab Therapists

6 TEDTalks to Inspire Rehab Therapists

As an avid watcher of TEDTalks, I have selected 5 of the most inspiring lectures about physical rehabilitation and therapy. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and that can provide some insight and knowledge for you to improve and refine your practice!

1. How to Have a Good Conversation – Celeste Headlee

If you knew exactly what your patients were thinking, I’m guessing it’d make your job as a therapist a whole lot easier. After all, a patient’s thoughts and perceptions can have a huge impact on his or her therapy success. But unless you have telepathic abilities, that’s much easier said than done. However, you can learn a lot about a person just by taking the time to listen—I mean, really listen—to what he or she is saying.

Being a good listener is the cornerstone of building rapport with anyone. Unfortunately, worrying about the good-listener qualities we’re taught (e.g., making eye contact, repeating back what you heard, etc.) can sometimes distract us from actually listening. (Talk about a contradiction!) This is the argument journalist Celeste Headlee makes, anyway. Fortunately, she also provides us with great advice on how to be a better conversationalist based on what she’s learned through her years of work in public radio.

2. The Physical Activity Paradox – Arto Pesola

It’s no surprise that way too many people spend the vast majority of their day sitting down. As experts in physiology, PTs are well aware of the detriments of physical inactivity. In this TEDx Talk, author and exercise physiology researcher Arto Pesola discusses the way modern culture praises health and fitness while simultaneously discouraging folks from improving their health in whatever way they can—and how we can combat that way of thinking.

3. A Doctor’s Touch – Abraham Verghese

Physical therapists have the benefit of being a very physical discipline. As an often hands-on care type, physical therapy is at an advantage over other disciplines that require less physical contact. However, technology—while enabling providers to deliver a higher level of care—can often shift the focus off of the patient and onto data points on a screen, and PTs aren’t immune to this trend. In this TEDTalk, Dr. Abraham Verghese shares his experience with retaining a more physical element to examination and discusses the impact it has on his patients.

4. A Portrait of the Patient Experience – Ted Meyer

At a young age, Ted Meyer was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, which inspired his artistic motivations. Now, he communicates the patient experience of pain, frustration, and adversity through his art and advocates for people who have undergone physical trauma.

5. Health Care Should Be a Team Sport – Eric Dishman

Collaborative care networks aren’t a unique concept. In fact, we’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of establishing connected care teams. And it’s not just a matter of convenience—it’s a matter of safety. As medical tech specialist Eric Dishman explains during this TEDTalk, 80% of medical errors are caused by miscommunication and a lack of coordination among healthcare providers. Dishman also uses his own experience as a patient as a basis for his ideas on how to better connect providers across disciplines.

Feeling inspired? I hope so! If you feel like sharing your thoughts or have some favorite TEDTalks of your own, drop a line in the comment section below.


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Is your computer a sitting death trap?

Even though you may be using it to earn a living, with the long hours of sitting, repetitive movements, poor posture and a badly set up workstation, your computer might well be your death warrant! You could find, too late, that you have damaged the nerves and muscles in your fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and neck – causing stiffness and pain. You may gain weight, develop carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic back pain. Your eyes could be dry and red as you blink less and strain to make out the screen or see in uneven lighting. As your circulation slows, your blood vessels can get clogged. So pay attention early to any pain, tingling, weakness of grip or numbness in your upper limbs if you use a computer a lot.

your computer is a death trap

So if you’ll be using the computer for more than a couple of hours at a time, set it up right!

Your worktable needs to be at elbow height; ensure you have space for all the materials you will need now, and leg room.

Place the monitor at arm’s length. When you sit upright or at a very slight slant backward, its center should be just a little below straight eye level. Prevent glare by turning it at suitable angles any bright light, or curtaining a window.

Set the height of your chair so you can sit with shoulders hanging loose but reach the keyboard with wrists straight. Don’t clutch the mouse either. Let your hands float over keyboard and mouse when you’re using them. Keep elbows bent at above 90 degrees to allow free circulation. Flexing the wrist too much over the mouse causes a stiff painful wrist “mouse arm” or “carpal tunnel syndrome” – due to wrist tendons becoming swollen and compressing the nerves, in a narrow wrist space bound by ligaments and bones.

Adjust your chair’s backrest to support your lower spine. If you can’t reach the ground easily, use a footrest. Armrests are out.

Sit up! Slouching tightens up your chest muscles and rounds your back. The shoulder muscles at the back weaken. This imbalance gives you a hunch – and also a headache, and pain in the neck, shoulder or back.

Change hip and foot position every now and then. This ensures you don’t tire out your muscles – called “sitting fatigue.” Quietness reduces stress and relaxes muscles. Soft classical music to mask outside noise can help.

Our physiotherapists at Vick Physiotherapy International are trained to spot these non-ergonomic workplace habits and correct them. We offer a variety of services for pain relief; more importantly, we help you prevent such issues in the future by mobilising and strengthening your joints, and correcting your posture.

Take rest and exercise breaks. Every 30 minutes, stand up, walk around, get a glass of water and do some stretches for few minutes. Shrug your shoulders; get the blood moving. Let tired muscles relax, while inactive muscles come into action. This keeps your bones and muscles healthy at a computer. The extra activity boosts overall health too.

We would love to help you work productively and without pain. Call now on +1 (480) 335 2747 to make an appointment. You’ll be amazed how much we can change your life!

Quick tip

Use breathing exercises to help tighten those stomach muscles. Breathe in air as strong as you can and tuck your stomach at the same time as much as you can. Hold it for a few seconds and then slowly let it out. Don’t let it out so fast that your belly flops out. Try to breathe like this whenever you think about it, about few dozen times a day is ideal.


If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.

~ Eubie Blake

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Ageism is the stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups based on their age. Ageism can take many forms, including prejudicial attitudes, discriminatory practices, or institutional policies and practices that perpetuate stereotypical beliefs.

Negative ageist attitudes are widely held across societies and not confined to one social or ethnic group. Research suggests that ageism may now be even more pervasive than sexism and racism.


This has serious consequences both for older people and society at large. It can be a major barrier to developing good policies because it steers policy options in limited directions. It may also seriously impact the quality of health and social care that older people receive.

These negative stereotypes are so pervasive that even those who outwardly express the best of intentions may have difficulty avoiding engaging in negative actions and expressions. Furthermore, negative ageist attitudes are often seen as humorous and based in some degree of fact; thus, the humour is often mistakenly assumed to counteract any negative effects on the older person. Yet ageism has been shown to cause lowered levels of self-efficacy, decreased productivity, and cardiovascular stress (50). And these stereotypes can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, reinforcing the inaction and deficits that result from their internalization.

These negative attitudes are also widely present even within the health and social-care settings where older adults are at their most vulnerable. Some of this prejudice arises from observable biological declines. This so-called objective starting point for the stereotype of older age may be distorted by awareness of disorders such as dementia, which may be mistakenly thought to reflect normal ageing.

Furthermore, because ageism is assumed to be based on these presumed physiological and psychological facts, little or no account is taken of the less obvious adaptations made by older people to minimize the effects of age-related loss, nor the positive aspects of ageing, the personal growth that can occur during this period of life and the contributions made by older people.

This socially ingrained ageism can become self-fulfilling by promoting in older people stereotypes of social isolation, physical and cognitive decline, lack of physical activity and economic burden.

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Moving beyond pain medication

A prescription painkiller could make a big difference for those suffering from acute pain. But is it absolutely necessary to put these chemicals into your body? Can they cause harm? At what point do the disadvantages outweigh the benefits?

blur bokeh bright candies

Take the case of a patient with chronic arthritis, painfully trying to maneuver through her daily activities. It’s obvious that she needs pain relief. Surely she needs medication so she can get over the pain and move more freely (??).

But consider the long-term implications of that decision. The medication can’t permanently improve the joint movement or relieve pain forever. It can’t build cartilage or muscle strength. By dulling the pain from a suffering joint, it may cause overuse or strain, worsening joint damage and pain. So begins the cycle… Eventually the pain can’t be controlled any more – she’ll have to live with its crippling effects.

But let’s imagine instead, this patient chose a healthy lifestyle packed with recovery factors. She would get outside more, breathe clean unpolluted air and soak in the early morning sunlight for an hour a day. Research shows that sunlight increases vitamin D production in the skin. Vitamin D deficiency is linked with increased risk of cancers, autoimmune inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and diabetes, not to mention heart disease.

Another potent secret weapon in the battle for renewal is exercise. Yes, just simple, controlled exercising despite the pain. Exercising reduces chronic joint pain. It lowers inflammation and lubricates the joint. It improves muscle strength and flexibility. It gives better joint function. It may take a few weeks or even months, but the effect is long-term and healthy.

Physical exercise also helps boost your immunity. An active immune system is a real gift – it helps prevent diseases, including cancer and minor viral infections which can precipitate auto-immune reactions.

Getting active reduces your stress by releasing natural “happy chemicals” like endorphins in your brain. Low stress means better recovery from injury!

Furthermore, being personally involved in your own recovery (especially with helpful physiotherapists) helps with emotional wholeness. As any psychologist would testify, happy, purposeful activity brings immense benefits such as pain relief, distraction from unhappiness and increased self-esteem. An exercise group gives you those feelings of altruism and togetherness, making it even better.

In essence, recovery from injury or chronic illness need not be based on medicine. Rather, gentle graded exercise is a powerful tool to launch you on the road to real health, especially when combined with diet and lifestyle changes.

If you’re suffering in pain, call us on (480) 335 2747. We would be glad to show you specially designed exercises for painful or injured parts of your body and suggest ways of recovery with minimal or no pain medication.


To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet and mental approach.

~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Participating in Mental, Social, and Physical Leisure Activities and Having a Rich Social Network Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes-Related Dementia in a Cohort of Swedish Older Adults (Original Research)

Authors: Anna Marseglia, Hui-Xin Wang, Debora Rizzuto, Laura Fratiglioni, Weili Xu.


Participating in Mental, Social, and Physical Leisure Activities and Having a Rich Social Network Reduce the Incidence of Diabetes-Related Dementia in a Cohort of Swedish Older Adults (Original Research)



The effect of a healthy lifestyle on diabetes-related dementia remains unknown. We examined whether an active lifestyle and rich social network may counteract the increased risk of dementia in people with diabetes.



Dementia-free older adults from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care in Kungsholmen (n = 2,650) were followed up for 10 years. Diabetes was ascertained on the basis of medical history, medication use, medical records, or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥6.5% and prediabetes as HbA1c between 5.7 and 6.5%. Dementia was diagnosed by specialists following standard criteria. An active lifestyle was defined as a moderate to high (vs. low) level of engagement in leisure activities or a rich social network (having moderate to rich [vs. poor] social connections and support). Hazard ratios (HRs) of dementia risk were derived from Cox regression models.



There were 246 incident dementia cases during follow-up. Those with diabetes (n = 243), but not those with prediabetes (n = 921), had greater risk of dementia (adjusted HR 2.0 [95% CI 1.4–2.9]) than diabetes-free participants. Participants with diabetes but low level of engagement in leisure activities (HR 4.2 [95% CI 2.2–8.2]) or a poor social network (HR 3.4 [95% CI 1.9–6.1]) had greater dementia risk than diabetes-free participants with moderate to high levels of leisure activity engagement or a moderate to rich social network. In participants with diabetes, an active lifestyle (high level of engagement in leisure activities or a rich social network) was associated with less of a raised risk (HR 1.9 [95% CI 1.1–3.4]).



An active and socially integrated lifestyle may significantly counteract the detrimental effect of diabetes on dementia risk.

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I used to play outside as a kid… What kids these days are missing out on?

Playing outside used to be the norm. Today, children spend most of their free time in front of a screen of some sort. Generally, they go outdoors only for organised sports or activities (which are often completely driven by parent involvement).

What do they miss? Not just fresh air!

sedentary children

Experience outdoors

The outdoors is where people interact with the world around. We are all part of this earth, of sunshine, wind, rain, soil, mud, water, trees, flowers, birds and beasts. Our bodies are made up of the same physical substance that has been recycling in this earth since it was all created. We need them all for a healthy life.

It’s one thing to grow a geranium in a pot, but quite another to see wildflowers in a mud patch. No virtual app can mirror the actual feel and look of pond slime, tadpoles changing into frogs, leaves into humus – a world of growth and change!


Instead of lounging in front of a screen or hunching over a game, your kids could be running, calling, hiding, seeking, climbing, cycling, skating, learning how to negotiate obstacles both physical and mental.

Children that spend time inside are not developing coordination and dexterity due to the sedentary life style. They perform awkward movements and in many cases they are clumsy.

Social skills

Having quarrels, learning when and how to react, how to deal with bullies, how to cultivate friendship and loyalty, sharing rather than a gimme mentality, keeping your cool when things don’t go the way you expected – these are part of the right kind of social interactions that come when a bunch of kids plays outside.

Caution, not fear

They learn to stand on their own feet and yet know you’re the right distance away, in case something comes along too big for them to handle. They learn to be watchful, to know if something is not right or downright dangerous, but not timid or fearful. These are big healthy lessons for real-time living that come with good old-fashioned outdoors play.

Natural living

Playing in winter, spring, summer and autumn with all the varying conditions it brings is another immense advantage of outdoors play. Kids learn how to adjust to hot or cold, wet or dry, and become immune to ordinary dirt, bacteria and pests. Children’s growing brain becomes attuned to the circadian rhythms of their bodies, helping them wake and sleep, work and eat, in seamless harmony.

Strong bones

Skin exposed to the sunlight of outdoors becomes a chemical factory, producing vitamin D which helps strengthen bones with rich calcium. Outdoor play builds protein into muscle. This will lower future risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and osteoporosis, to name just a few.


Outdoors time also releases stress. Active outdoors play releases pent-up energy which in turn gives you a happier, more peaceful child. You may find he is more able to pay attention to his work. A happy mood and directed curiosity also results from outdoors play, which protects him from the blues as well.

So let’s make sure our children enjoy what we had. Take your kids along with the neighbourhood pack, to the park or on a hike, trail walking, a day at the lake, whatever. Your kids will grow up happier, healthier and better for it!

Call us for an appointment if your child has any issues around movement, fitness, or other physical ability – or even ideas around how to get them more active.


Quick tip

Stand up and walk around every time you make a phone call. Break up your extended sitting periods.


Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.

~ Plato

Funny thought of the day

Your alarm clock sound is pretty much a personal TV show intro music to your daily life.


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Isometric, Concentric and Eccentric muscle contractions: What’s the difference?

Muscle contraction is simply muscles doing work. So what’s with all these complicated terms?

Isometric contraction is what happens when you lift and hold a heavy weight steady. Your muscles bulge, but nothing’s moving.

Concentric contractions are movements where you exert muscle force, such as pushing a weight away from you.

Eccentric contractions are the opposite; it is when you lower / return a weight to neutral position, such as letting a weight come back down.

Think of the bench-press exercise, lying on your back: You start at the top and lower the bar; this is an eccentric contraction. Simply holding the bar steady without movement half-way down is an isometric contraction. Lifting the bar back to the top is a concentric contraction.

Now try to recognize these in your very next workout.

muscle contraction

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Just how bad is your posture?

Are you slouching your way to an early death?

Your posture says a lot about your health. Your neck pain, headaches, back twinges and persistent tiredness could all be pointing to one thing: Poor posture.

What is good posture? Basically, it is just keeping your spine happy, keeping it in balance no matter what you are doing and putting as little stress on it as possible to during your daily activities.

Just how bad is your posture?

We have a number of curves built into our spines (it looks like an S-shape when viewed from the side). This helps us stand upright with our weight balanced over our feet. But a look around you shows how little we think of our backs. Heads drooped forward, rounded shoulders, bent knee walk – signs of the strain caused by long hours of sitting. The heavy handbags and the high heels are just spine abuse!

Yet many of us keep making the same postural mistakes over and over. We let our backs go out of alignment by sitting in one position too long. We don’t notice how our heads are sagging forward as we stare at computer screens for hours on end. We lean onto one leg if we need to stand for long. We walk as little as we can and generally put continuous stress on our spines, hips and knees. We slouch, pressing together the small bones in our backs. We get potbellied when our spines finally give in to the stress and sway forward. We let our shoulders get rounded, limiting our chest expansion and so breathing in less oxygen.

The hunched spines also mean all kinds of muscles have to be pressed into action to keep us balanced. Needless to say, we get tired and achy by the time we get home. We flop into a big squashy chair, exposing our tailbones to even greater pressure. In bed, we pile up the pillows, kinking our neck muscles. Naturally, we wake up with stiff necks and shoulders; not to mention the twisted backs from sleeping on soft mattresses on our sides or stomachs. Little wonder we are such an unenergetic lot!

Do you relate to any of this? Then you need to start being kind to yourself. Call us, your local physiotherapists. We are committed to helping you. We’ll show you how to achieve a strain-free posture at home and at work, as well as in your car! We can tell you if and how you are stressing your body by poor alignment. We can help you to get back into efficiency mode. We can even soothe away cramps and knots.

And the best part is, your body will thank you by working far more easily. You’ll start looking great, what with your confident stance and your aura of vigor and strength. Your aches and pains will fade away as the basic bone and muscle abnormalities are corrected. You will start enjoying life again without nagging pains and persistent tiredness.

So go ahead. Call us today on (480) 335 2747 for an appointment and give yourself a break!

Funny thought of the day

We go to other people’s jobs on our days off.

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Do kids get bad backs?

Child with Bad posture

In general, we think that children are impervious to serious injuries, given their boundless energy and great flexibility. However, we cannot take their health for granted.

Such is the case with back health, allegedly an adults-only issue but in reality something that demands vigilance and intervention at all ages.

Sure kids bounce up quickly when they fall, but as their bodies mature they will be motivated to test their physical and athletic limits. Thus, they will become more susceptible to back injuries and putting their quality of life at risk. Therefore, parents and others (teachers, coaches, community leaders, etc.) all share an interest in promoting superior back health.

Here are some steps that you can take to help your children (ages 4-12 in particular) to prevent back injuries:

Provide children with correct footwear

Children’s back health literally starts at the bottom. Most recognized pediatric associations acknowledge that proper footwear encourages full movement and reduces the risk of back injury. This is especially true for kids involved in sports like gymnastics, basketball, and football.

Here are some easy tips to follow:

  • Make sure the shoes fit!
  • Shop in-person with your kids – don’t go online to make purchases.
  • Avoid novelty footwear like flip-flops and high heeled shoes.
  • If mass-marketed footwear does not work for your kids, consider special orthotics.

Once you outfit your children with the right footwear, don’t forget to teach them how to put them on. In particular, have them lace up while sitting on a chair with knees raised at a ninety degree angle. This will prevent overarching of the back, discourage stiffness and encourage proper posture. Strapless and Velcro-fastened footwear are less complicated but demand care.

At the same time, many experts encourage young children to walk in bare feet whenever possible. By having direct contact with smooth and uneven surfaces, young feet will develop strong muscles and ligaments, so critical for overall balance.

Speak with your physiotherapist if you have any concerns. We can help.

Be wary of heavy back packs

Increasingly, a “silent” and seemingly innocent childhood activity is drawing more attention as a cause of major back problems: carrying heavy school backpacks. Paediatricians cite backpacks that exceed 15% of body weight as a reason for increased back strain and other overuse injuries (neck, shoulders). The average 10 year-old weighs 31kg, so her/his total backpack should weigh no more than 4.5kg.

At the same time, improper use of backpacks (e.g. slinging it over the same shoulder all the time) can cause injury even when the weight is reasonable. Therefore, parents should encourage good carrying habits and other common sense tips:

  • Choose a quality canvas backpack with wide padded straps, back support, individual compartments, and weight redistribution features like wheels, hip straps and waist belts.
  • Show your kids the best way to distribute books and supplies in the backpack.
  • Consider using a separate bag for the child’s laptop or other heavier electronic items.
  • Teach them to be prudent with what to bring home from school, and what to take back.
  • Develop good lifting (e.g. use leg muscles) and walking habits with weight.
  • Child should not lean forward when walking; if this is necessary, the backpack is too heavy.
  • Proactively ask your child about back pain.

child carrying heavy backpack

Thankfully, with the advent of laptops, digital tablets and other consumer electronics, the need for carrying heavy hardcover books between home and school is decreasing. But these themselves can add considerable weight.

Encourage back-friendly posture

It’s important for kids to develop good posture habits while walking, sitting, running and taking part in any physical activity. Simply “standing up straight” is a good start, but consider offering your children an array of balance and flexibility exercises that are fun and easy to perform. We can design a program of body weight activities, as well as ideas that require small, inexpensive equipment. This can be vital for young athletes who put above average pressure on back muscles and their spines on a regular basis.

To avoid unnecessary surprises, consider a thorough spinal check for your child on an annual or biennial basis. A qualified physiotherapist can assess posture and general joint movement from head to toe. This is a safe way to identify any back problems and a first step to avoiding headaches, weak abdominal muscles and spinal curvature (rounded back).

Parent involvement with children’s lives is the best way to prevent serious back injuries. The world can be a rough place, so providing them with the best equipment and knowledge is their best defence. Use all the tools at your disposal, and be aware of any changes in your kid’s walk (i.e. gait) and overall physical performance. Speak with us, your local physiotherapist if you have any questions.



Health inspiration

“Living a healthy lifestyle will only deprive you of poor health, lethargy, and fat.”

~ Jill Johnson

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Facts about Holistic Personal Training

A holistic healing method incorporates treating the entire person rather than just focusing on one ailment.

Nowadays, it is more and more common that a Personal Training embraces the entire well-being of the individual, instead of addressing issues only to the physical body and dietary.

In 1h of session is possible to work on different areas of the body such as the respiratory system through breathing exercises, balance and coordination through Hydrotherapy and Ballet techniques, and strength through isometric exercises. As a result, the combination of all those techniques will increase body awareness and improve focus.

A Holistic healing method also takes place in the cultural and intellectual aspects of the individual, usually by recommendations of specific literature and documentaries about natural healing and the mystic law of cause and effect that permeates our reality.

pilates in the morning

Holistic Personal Training is present 24/7 in our lives, because once we start to look at the big picture, healthy habits will slowly take place and change our behavior and old tendencies.

Alternative therapies such as magic candles, incenses, chromotherapy, mantra recitation  and sound healing to name a few, are part of a holistic approach, creating a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere in some time of our day or week. Besides, those possibilites can turn into habits, changing our routines for the better.

Meeting your Personal Trainer to do outdoor activities is a great strategy to connect with nature and expand the surroundings. Some clients are so committed with a new and conscious lifestyle, that the Personal Trainer also plays the role of a personal assistant, organizing calendars and even grocery shopping with the client for a better and complete experience.

If you think about starting a Holistic Personal Training to improve your quality of life and increase discipline, please give us a call. Our services are private and offered by appointment.


Just one healthier choice a day!

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