FHT Professional Development Conference 2022: Gina Reinge

A Q&A with Gina Reinge

[Image of Gina Reinge teaching in classroom]
  1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

I used to work in the Live Events industry, I was a production manager installing the lighting, sound, staging and sound systems for conferences and music events. It was a very rewarding job taking me all over Europe, but also a very stressful. Eventually the lifestyle took its toll and health issues lead me to have to rethink. I have been an avid sports woman all my life, competing at a competitive level in swimming, athletics and hockey, as a child, and Martial Arts as an adult. I was always amazed how I could watch a sporting event on TV and someone would be wheeled off injured one week but able to recover enough to play again the next week. Being heavily into martial arts, my injuries never healed that fast! So I wanted to learn this magic art of healing the body!

2. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

Just after I qualified with an Advanced Diploma in Sports Therapy I ended up hospitalised for 3 months with an acute flare up of Inflammatory Arthritis, I had just started my Sports Science degree so would sit in hospital with lots of swollen joints reading my physiology books! This accelerated my start into the world of therapy as I could no longer work in the events industry. So, when I was eventually released and could walk again, I would strap up literally all my joints and head out to see my one client of the day and then head back to bed exhausted! This went on for some time until I found medication that worked and met Ian who helped me to tailor my exercise program and help myself. Although this was a hugely challenging time, what it did do was give me a unique insight into how my skills as a sports therapist and my knowledge of exercise science could help with medical conditions. I totally understand how my clients with arthritis feel now when they head into my clinic. This interest led me to complete a Masters degree in Exercise and Health Sciences and I now love treating people with complex health conditions. It is amazing how much simple strength work can help the most medically complicated presentation.

3. What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

Prior to my son arriving, martial arts was a big part of my life. I am a 1st Dan Black belt in Goju Ryu Karate but also trained for many years in Thai Boxing. I would teach children at a local kids club and loved it. Pre children, Ian and I would head out on our kayaks hugging the coastline while we explored caves. I also really enjoyed archery, winning a few local club competitions. Since our son came along social life has been rather limited but having recently moved back to my home town I am now actively involved with my local amateur theatre. I first joined this theatre when I was 7 years old, so it is great to be back helping them with their productions. But mostly we spend our spare time having fun as a family, my son is now 7 and is great fun to play with.

4. What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

My seminar is looking at thoraco-lumbar fascia. This is a fascinating structure that many people know exists, but less people appreciate why it is there and what its function is. The more I learn about the body the more I realise that everything within our bodies is there for a reason, it is a very well thought out machine and nothing is there by chance. This structure is our link from the upper and lower body, it allows forces to translate through it. So, it is important when you walk, lift something and even breathe! A huge number of muscles attach into it and they all have a specific reason for doing so. How interesting is that. People will, I hope understand that this is more than just a basic fascial structure and is integral to healthy function.

5. What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Ignore the people who tell you you should have a client base up and running in a few months. We have recently moved to a new area and have been setting up a new clinic in these difficult covid times. Having set up several clinics I know it takes years to build a firm client base, so be realistic. In current times you need to accept it will be harder and a 3 to 4 year plan to get to capacity is more realistic.

Also, you really need to understand social media and digital marketing. Don’t pay others to do it, you will save a small fortune if you buy some books and teach yourself. We live in a digital world and most clients will come from either google or word of mouth. We have found that getting out there and doing talks/ giving short free assessments/ treatments is the way to gain lifelong clients. But do start with a plan, map out where you want to be in 5 years and then step back and work out how to get there. It really does work and good luck with it.

6. What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

I would say empathy is so so important. I have noticed that with covid there has been a distinct lack of empathy from health care generally. Often these days clients just want a friendly ear to talk to and that can be just as important as the actual treatment you give. Really listen to them and never disregard their pain levels, even if you can’t work out why they are in so much pain. We had a lovely client who was in so much pain; once we had cleared the obvious issues and scan / x-rays had ruled anything further out she was still in agony. Everyone told her it was in her mind and psychological. Fast forward 3 years and it turns out the pain was a tumour pressing on her nerves that was so small no one could see it. She had stage 4 cancer before anyone took her pain levels seriously. So yes, empathy I would say is the most important trait you can have at the present time.

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