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prehab & rehab

Kur: Combining elements such as exercise and soft tissue manipulation to ‘fi x’ clients


My current project is to establish a standalone residential, spinal, sports and orthopaedic clinic. It will be unique in that patients will be able to embark on intensive treatment and rehabilitation programmes in a conducive environment, based on the Austro-German principle of the Kur (see below). A good example is the Medicalpark chain in southern Germany: bright, perky places with functional rather than luxurious rooms, as they consider people are there to get fi xed as opposed to relaxing. The traditional spa hotel concept involves clients being

handed a menu of treatments, most of which they do not understand, and after which they leave relaxed but probably no better. Under the Kur regime, the patient is given a consultation on arrival, after which they’re provided with a bespoke programme using all the treatment modalities they most

small study I did some years ago, the biggest obstacle to these patients getting good rehab was that doctors and even cardiologists did not refer for it – this despite reams of research done in the US supporting its benefits. Indeed, although most heart attacks are a result of bad lifestyle, few sufferers are given post-event rehab, and many go back to poor diets and smoking within weeks. Introducing a cardiac rehab programme

is relatively simple. The British Heart Foundation provides guidelines on exercises and there’s now a REPs Level 4 qualifi cation in cardiac rehab. You have to have a fi rst aider on the premises and a defi brillator. There is, of course, a chance someone will arrest in the centre but, if proper care has been shown, this is nothing to worry about: the patient was probably going to arrest anyway, and is at least in an environment where good fi rst line, immediate care can be administered.


need, including physical therapy and soft tissue manipulation, followed by hydrotherapy and exercise. They leave with vast improvements to their health, some of them ‘fi xed’. Some conditions will need an ongoing programme, meaning

that patient retention is high. However, not everyone will have a chronic condition: it might be someone who’s just had a baby and needs realigning, with deep tissue work and specifi c exercises for a core damaged by a caesarian. People will stay for as long as they need, from a weekend to two weeks, and could come for prehab, rehab or any other condition. We’re talking to private health insurance companies, and

certainly the physio aspect will be redeemable – if not all of it, as in the long term it will fi x the patient. We’re also continually monitoring our patients and providing outcome studies to justify the benefi ts of our approach.

Dr Hugh Bethell, a GP in Hampshire,

has won awards for his ground-breaking centre – the Basingstoke and Alton Cardiac Rehab Centre – which is attached to a gym complex. The programmes are studio-based and led by personal trainers, not medically qualifi ed personnel. He has also shown the value of so-called ‘cardiac clubs’, where spouses and family are involved in the recovery, getting physically involved together to overcome the poor lifestyle habits they often share.

future-proofing There’s certainly a market out there that needs the facilities, expertise and motivation of the health club sector. For clubs already running GP referrals, now is the time to build even greater links with the NHS to ensure all those who could benefit are being referred, including those waiting for operations and those with heart conditions. For those not yet

Read Health Club Management online at

offering these services, now might be the time to assess the facilities and skillsets at your disposal and look at ways to tap in to this increasingly important market. nick potter

about the author

Nick Potter is an osteopath who regularly consults for clinics and healthcare companies on set-up and strategy. He has worked in the US, Germany, France and the Middle East. A former human performance advisor to two F1 teams – Jaguar Prost and Jordan – he has also worked with elite tennis and golf professionals. He lectures widely on his speciality – cervical spine disorders – and runs a head, neck and facial pain clinic in London.

july 2010 © cybertrek 2010

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