The Role of Physiotherapy in Whole Person Care in Saskatoon

How can we sift through the noise?

There are a lot of health and wellness buzzwords out there and it can be hard to discern what’s real, what’s a sales pitch, and what is the correct service for what you need to feel well. One of the many buzzwords is whole person care or holistic care. 

What does that even mean? More importantly, what does it actually look like? 

At Vangool Wellness it looks like seeing the whole person, truly listening to the whole story, not just “one problem” at a time. It then looks like utilizing evidence based treatment plans to support finding a solution to the presenting issues. Followed by referrals and collaboration with other allied health practitioners like Breland Counselling. Most of all, it means believing the person in pain and remaining curious about all the different areas of the body, mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual, that impact and interact. 

Focusing on the whole, not the parts of you. Working with you and collaborating with each team member to move the needle towards healing, towards feeling more like yourself. Towards the goals that make you feel like you. 

Whole person care is not a recipe, it’s more like a philosophy and systematic approach to working with people as individuals, each unique with amazing gifts along with the presenting challenges that take us away from ourselves. When we can uncover those parts of each person that have been silenced, we can often draw energy from those as we implement new routines, and face the challenges head on.  

Women’s Health: How we can help

The mother load is real, whether you have kids or not, the roles we play in the workplace or in our daily lives take a toll. 

This often presents in physical ways as well. 

Many of our pelvic floor disorders are exacerbated by symptoms of stress and overwhelm and trauma. We work with clients to find the underlying cause and create strategies to support reducing the physical manifestations of pelvic floor dysfunction including: 

  • Painful intercourse
  • Urgency
  • Leakage
  • Pelvic pain
  • Constipation
  • And more

Pain and Trauma:

There is also a large amount of evidence to support the complex nature of pain and how taking a whole person approach to care leads to better outcomes. Which means for you, improved quality of life and a life that doesn’t have the pain as the driver, but more the passenger. 

We also know that psychological and physical trauma can cause or increase the incidence of chronic pain. Talk therapy is a very effective way of addressing this, along with therapies that support the body processing of pain. 

Body processing therapies refer to those that target the nervous system response to trauma and pain. This is where physioyoga and collaboration with Hillary at Breland Counseling can be very effective in the work of somatic experiencing therapy and yoga therapy. 

Adrianne Vangool and Hillary take a body up approach to addressing pain, which means we explore the physical processing of pain and go through tools to regulate the nervous system. It is not one size fits all, but this approach has been shown to be an effective adjunct to other forms of talk therapy. 

Physio Yoga sessions often look like:

  • Noticing body sensations (mindfulness & meditation techniques): remaining curious and kind as we tap into interoception: sensations of thirst, temperature, heart rate, breath rate, etc. 
  • Observe and work with breath mechanics and patterns: The breath is the window into the unconscious processes. Often when people are in a freeze,  flight or fight response, their breath patterns are altered as well. Working with the breath allows us to interrupt these patterns and move toward more regulation. This is foundational in reducing pain. 
  • Embodiment through Safe Yoga Poses: Designed to accommodate your body, these poses help in expanding our capacity for movement and play through our body. 
  • Explore novel movements and sound:Often exploring gentle rhythmic movements and other organic movements that feel soothing helps to regulate the nervous system and move toward feeling at ease. This can also include sounds such as humming or whisper breathing, as just a few examples of tools we may explore.

When you attend a physioyoga session or class it is adapted to you, not the other way around. What we explore, the pace that we move is unique to each person. We start where you are, with what you have, and by remaining curious and kind, we move with compassion on your journey to healing and feeling whole. 

The approach to real and sustainable change and our whole person approach to care can be summarized by this poem (from The Journey of Self-Care to We-Care) below. I wrote this after hearing countless stories working with women that too often blamed self, or deprived and derided themselves for not fitting the mold of what it is to be healthy and well. 

This was my love letter to them and to you:

Loving into Wholeness: 

Let’s reimagine our approach to health and wellness: our bodies need to be nurtured back to health and wellbeing, not whipped into shape. 

It’s through the process of loving ourselves into wholeness that we move into a space of balance of being, & feeling enough. 

The discipline in loving yourself, not whipping yourself. I love myself enough to be honest and do what I need with both effort and ease. I love myself enough to show up for me. I love myself enough to know my limits. I love myself as I am, not because I’ve done anything to prove I’m worthy of it. Embarking on this journey is the greatest act of love and healing.

The message I hope you all take away from this is… You are already enough. But let’s get curious about what we can explore together to create more joy, more ease, and more colour in the life and body we are living in. 

Some resources to get you started:

These tools and the theory behind a whole person approach, pain management, nervous system regulation and more are discussed in The Journey of Self-Care to We-Care.

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