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Monthly Archives

March 2018

Leave your day at the door


How your body is feeling?

“… Pilates…  meeting at 9.30… lunch at 12… report due at 4pm ” – Sound familiar?

This is an example of the type of running internal dialogue that many of us have throughout the day.

Previously, we have mentioned the importance of paying “attention to technique” in Pilates, in order to experience its full benefits. Many physical complaints and imbalances in the body are caused by habitual postures and movements, and if the mind is focused on work issues, lunch or the meaning of life, then instead of performing correct and beneficial Pilates movements, automatic habitual patterns take over.

All of our postures and movements are chains or sequences of smaller parts. More often than not our injuries or physical complaints are due to imbalances within these chains. We are often unaware of these imbalances, as many develop overtime unnoticed. To complicate things further, even if we are aware of an imbalance, the complexity of our movement patterns makes it difficult to correct them, as this process requires a certain degree of focus. That is why we often stress that ‘how’ we do something is more important than ‘what’ we do. The best exercise can also be the worst for your body if it is done incorrectly, as this may reinforce the imbalances rather than correct them.


Lets Focus

“Leaving your day at the door” and allowing yourself focus completely on the task at hand, will help you perform better. Practising this while you’re doing Pilates will give you the best chance of correcting poor habitual movement patterns, and you will get the most out of every session.

Beyond the technique and physical benefits, focusing on the present moment has been found to have many mental and emotional health benefits. Our mind and body are inherently linked and the more in-tune we are to this connection, the better we can operate both physically and mentally. The act of focusing on movement or breath helps to strengthen the mind-body connection.

We all seem to be time-poor these days, so why not get the most out of the time you spend doing your Pilates (or anything else for that matter) and leave your day at the door!

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Join our Pilates class to “leave your day at the door” and focus on your health and mind-body connection. Create your profile or book a class now!

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EASTER 2018 Timetable

easter timetable the body Refinery

Reformer Classes and Remedial Massage available on Easter Monday Public Holiday


Balance out that Easter chocolate! We are opening 3 Express Reformer classes on Monday 2 April 2018:

  • 7:00 am – 7:45 am
  • 7:45 am – 8:30 am
  • 8:30 am – 9:15 am

Also available on Easter Monday 2 April: Treat yourself to a Remedial Massage from 9am.

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Please note that with the exception of the 3 Express Reformer classes and Remedial Massage appointments, the rest of the studio will be closed for the Easter long weekend: Friday 30 March to Monday 2 April.

We will return to the usual timetable from Tuesday 3 April. We hope your break will be full of relaxation, love and chocolate eggs!

Space is limited. To secure your place, please book through The Body Refinery app or contact our friendly admin team on 07 3358 3915 or info@thebodyrefinery.com.au (by 5pm Thursday 29 March).

AromaTouch – More than just a massage

AromaTouch massage The Body Refinery

It’s a 1-hour treatment that will leave you feeling like you have been at the spa all day.

“Having worked in massage therapy for over 20 years and loving essential oils, I have always wanted to combine the effects of the two. This is why I introduced AromaTouch massage at The Body Refinery. I find the combination of the two modalities extremely beneficial in my day to day life and would love our clients to have the opportunity to see the same benefits that I have”. Susan Cottrell, Owner and Physiotherapist at The Body Refinery.


What is AromaTouch exactly?

The AromaTouch technique by DoTerra is more than just a massage. It is a whole body and mind relaxation therapy that promotes wellness, peace and balance in the body. The use of essential oils to positively affect mental health and wellbeing is becoming more common as people realise the benefits they provide. With this in mind, DoTerra created the AromaTouch technique, which is said to be a clinical approach to introducing essential oils.

The AromaTouch technique applies essential oils along energy meridians and visceral contact points of the back and feet to help balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems of the body. This technique improves wellbeing by reducing physical and emotional stressors, and supports healthy nervous system function. It is not a massage, but a technique that is a relaxing method of applying therapeutic grade essential oils topically to produce a profound whole-body experience.


The many benefits of the ‎AromaTouch technique include:

  • stress management
  • immune support
  • reduced  inflammation
  • support of your body’s autonomic balance.

AromaTouch enhances essential oils’ activity and stimulates known body meridians and energy zones while balancing body systems and function.


Remedial Massage at The Body Refinery

Our Remedial Massage therapists are passionate about providing this technique in their treatment sessions and are eager for their clients to experience the benefits it provides. We offer the AromaTouch technique as an additional service in our Remedial Massage appointments, at no extra cost.

Please ask our reception team or Remedial Massage therapists if you would like to add the AromaTouch technique into your massage treatment. We’re sure you’ll be impressed by its powerful therapeutic benefits.


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Join our free Workshop on Friday 23 March, 5 pm and learn how to live without chemicals using essential oils.

Book your Remedial massage today or call 07 3358 3915 for more information.

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Pilates Principles – Understanding the “Why” behind “What” you are doing

Pilates Principles

Do you ever find yourself thinking…

“How is lying on this roller and lifting my leg up helping to improve my golf game?”


“The other instructor told me to put my arms in the air for this exercise, so why aren’t I doing it this time?”


“How will I ever be able to do … (insert exercise here)…”


These are the types of questions we and our clients have encountered time and time again over the past 10 years.

Through our experience in teaching, as well as within our own personal Pilates training, a few common themes have emerged that provide the framework for healthy movement. And these themes hold true, from rehabilitation through to the high-level performance stages (although the emphasis may shift).

These common themes are largely covered within the Principles of Pilates, which form the basis of Pilates technique, and any Pilates exercise can be broken down or described through these principles.

It should be noted that different Pilates schools will have slightly different variations but the underlying themes are consistent.

Pilates Principles

List of the principles from Polestar Pilates.

  1. Breath
  2. Core control
  3. Spinal articulation
  4. Head, neck and shoulder organisation
  5. Weight-bearing limb alignment
  6. Movement integration

Understanding these principles will help you understand the ‘why’ behind ‘what’ you are doing in your Pilates session, and this is essential to get the most out of whatever you do.


Why you should focus on the Pilates Principles:

  • It’s easier to understand a handful of principles, relative to memorizing hundreds of different exercises (even thousands, if variations are included).
  • Advanced exercises are just a combination of the principles put together. If one or more of the basic building blocks are missing, advanced movements will be very difficult to achieve.
  • The connection between Pilates and injury, Pilates and other movement disciplines; Pilates and sporting performance; and Pilates and personal movement goals, are easier to see when you understand the Pilates Principles.

So, don’t be afraid to talk to your Pilates instructor or physiotherapist about the Principles, so that you can learn how they relate to the individual Pilates exercises you’re doing, and your health and wellbeing.

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Start your Pilates journey at The Body Refinery – Register today.

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What is your posture like at your desk?

posture tips the body refinery

It is very common to find people with back and neck problems that are related to their work setting and posture. As physiotherapists, we seek to understand the underlying factors that are responsible for each patient’s ailment. For this reason, we always ask our clients: “What makes the pain worse?” The most common answer we hear is “When I sit at my desk at work”.

Obviously, avoiding sitting at a desk isn’t usually a viable option, however, we can teach you some strategies for working at a desk that will minimise the likeliness of further injury or pain. It may sound strange that just sitting can cause injury, but that’s exactly what can result from poor static posture when sitting at the desk!

There are many reasons for this: Firstly, the human body is not designed to be seated in a chair for 8 hours a day. Stress, poor workstation ergonomics, and bad posture are the main cause of this sort of injury or pain. To remedy these, it is important to position your arms, legs and spine in the appropriate alignment, to distribute the appropriate load on your joints and muscles. Doing so avoids excessive overactivity or overstrain.


Here are 5 tips for a good posture in order to prevent ergonomic injuries:


1. Find your natural posture

  • Move your chair away from your desk and sit down comfortably. For most people, it would look a lot like sitting in a car. Your feet are on the floor in front of you; your hands are in your lap, and your shoulders relax as you lean back just a bit.
  • This is called your “natural posture.” In it, your vertebrae are stacked, your entire back moves as you breathe, and your pelvis is positioned so that your spine is stacked properly.
  • Memorise this natural posture.

posture desk tips the body refinery

2. Keyboard and mouse placement

  • Building around the natural posture, the keyboard and mouse should be positioned in a way that keeps your elbows to your sides, and your arms at or below a 90-degree angle. This way, the muscle load is reduced and you’re not straining.
  • Position your keyboard 1 to 2 inches above your thighs. For most people, that probably means employing a pull-out keyboard tray. Alternatively, you can lower your desk, but the keyboard tray is a preferred method. Here’s why…
  • Tilt. The keyboard should ideally be positioned with a negative tilt — down and away from you so that your arms and hand follow the downward slope of your thighs. That being said, you should never use the kickstand that is incorporated underneath most keyboards.
  • Position. Ideally, your keyboard and mouse should be shoulder-distance apart and as level as possible.


3. Position your screen(s)

  • Distance. If your screen is too far away, you’ll start doing something called ‘turtling’, or craning your neck, and you’ll find yourself extending your neck to see it.
  • To find the right screen position, sit back and extend your arm. The tips of your middle finger should land on your screen. That’s the spot.
  • If you have two monitors, set them up side by side (no gap), and place the secondary monitor off-centre. Those who use both monitors equally should centre them both. Now, sit back and extend your arm and pan in an arch. As you pan your arm, your fingertip should almost always touch the monitors. Use the same logic when placing other items, like a document holder or a phone.
  • Height. To adjust the height: close your eyes. When you open them, your eyes should land on the address bar. If not, lower or raise the monitors using the built-in option, with risers, or with other items (as long as the monitor is safe and stable).


4. Adjust your chair

Your chair is your best ergonomic friend. It supports your back, bottom, and posture. Here are some things to look for in a good chair:

  • Shape. Think back to your natural posture. With your tailbone sticking out just a bit, and your vertebrae in their slight curve, the lumbar portion of your spine points in toward your belly. To help you sustain this posture, find a chair that offers good lumbar support.
  • Length. When you sit down, there should be a little space between the edge of the chair and the back of your knees, about the size of your fist. Depending on the chair, you might be able to adjust the seat depth accordingly.
  • Height. When you sit, your feet should be on the floor (not dangling) in front of you, and your thighs should be slightly below your hips. Shorter people may need to use a footrest, while extra-tall people may need to adjust the height of the desk.
  • If you ever find yourself tucking your feet behind you, sitting on one leg, or in another irregular position, your chair needs to be adjusted.


5. Move every hour (minimum)

  • Take a break at least once an hour to walk around the office or stretch. If it helps, set an hourly alarm as a reminder.
  • No matter how ergonomic your workstation is, stretching your body is the only thing that can combat the health issues that arise from prolonged sitting.


If you have any questions or concerns about any pain or discomfort you are experiencing, do not hesitate and consult one of our physiotherapists. With Pilates, we can improve the endurance and strength of the postural muscles, so that sitting in the appropriate posture is eventually something that comes naturally.

We have also developed an online 4-week Low Back Pain Pilates program. Take your Physiotherapist with you!

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