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Exercise Physiology

NDIS and Exercise Physiology

Exercise Physiology is a growing profession within the health field and depending on your NDIS plan and goals, it can have an important role in assisting in your NDIS journey. Exercise Physiology treatment is individualised and targeted and often consists of an exercise program that is often combined with advice around lifestyle change. Their contribution to a person’s overall health, wellbeing and independence is often overlooked and this is combined with a lack of knowledge around the role of Exercise Physiology within the general public. Due to this, it is important to highlight the role of Exercise Physiology as well as its importance within the NDIS framework.

How Exercise Physiology Can Help

>Exercise Physiologists are specialised in designing and delivering individualised, targeted and safe exercise-based treatment for a range of health conditions, whether they be acute, subacute or chronic. This can range across many things such as injury rehabilitation, the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions or the management of ongoing or long term health conditions.

Some of the reasons you might want to see an Exercise Physiologist under NDIS include:

  • Your condition or disability affects your health or wellbeing
  • Your plan has goals that relate to improving or maintaining your fitness, mobility, strength or physical independence
  • You would benefit from supervised, individualised or targeted exercise-based treatment
  • You want to participate in community-based sports or activities

This can take the form of home-based exercise programs, in-clinic exercise programs (both individual and group) or even independent gym-based programs. Your Exercise Physiologist will guide you to the most suitable options. Each session is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances to ensure the best outcome.

It’s important to note that Exercise Physiologists are also trained to take a holistic approach to treatment and will often look beyond your initial goal to also assess and provide treatment or advice on other relevant factors, such as your ability to complete day to day tasks, secondary health concerns, or even your mental wellbeing.

Categories Under Which You Can Access Funding

Exercise Physiology can be accessed under the Improved Health and Wellbeing category and as of 2019 also the Improved Daily Living Skills category under your Capacity Building Supports Budget. At The Body Refinery, these supports can be accessed by clients who are either self-managed or plan-managed.

What We Can Offer At The Body Refinery

Here at The Body Refinery not only do we offer Exercise Physiology but also Physiotherapy in both individual and group settings, as well as Massage Therapy. Our clinic is also well equipped with private consultation rooms, a fully equipped clinical gym and a clinical exercise studio. This combination of high-quality services and high-quality facilities allow us to make a positive impact on many people under NDIS at The Body Refinery already. So during your next plan review make sure to discuss the relevance of Exercise Physiology in the treatment of your disability under the NDIS.

More information on our NDIS page: here.

If you have further questions do not hesitate to contact us on 07 3358 3915 or email us at info@thebodyrefinery.com.au

Exercise & Ageing

The Importance of Advice and Education

The importance of exercise as we age is often underestimated. There is plenty of research that explains the amazing benefits of exercise. The saying that “if exercise was a pill, it would be the most prescribed remedy in the world” is very true, and the benefits exercise offers becomes even more so as we age. The hard part is knowing what to do and how to do it, in order to get the greatest benefits for your own circumstances. This is where people such as your GP or an Exercise Physiologist here at The Body Refinery are well equipped to get you moving safely and effectively.

Whether you’ve been meaning to increase your exercise levels for a while and are ready to take the next step, or if you have older friends/family who you think could improve their quality of life through exercise, this is definitely worth a read!

Current Statistics:

Did you know that only 15% of adults (18-64) meet the recommended Physical Activity Guidelines? While 55% complete one of the recommendations of completing 150-300 minutes of physical activity per week, 40% of those adults don’t complete the recommended muscle-strengthening exercises twice a week, which is needed to fully meet the guidelines.

In older adults (64+) the guidelines state that at least 30 minutes of accumulated activity should be reached on most days. Only 26% of those over 64 years achieve this, even though health experts believe this to be one of the most important times for people to remain physically active!

Why Exercise is Important:

Exercise is critically important because of the range of benefits it provides to people of any age. Some of the greatest benefits of exercising regularly for older people are:

  • Improves mood
  • Improves independence
  • Reduces risk of health issues
  • Provides social opportunities
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Assists in the management of many health conditions

Conversely, a lack of exercise can cause or exacerbate a range of physical and other issues.

exercise physiology new farm The Body Refinery

Getting Started & Available Exercise Options:

Though the guidelines broadly state the amounts of exercise you should aim for, the type of exercise is up to you. It’s important to find something that works for you, so it’s important to consider: the type of activities you enjoy and can commit to regularly; any existing medical conditions; what time of day you prefer to exercise; and whether you’d prefer to exercise alone or as part of a team or social group.

Common options include walking, running or gym-based exercise, but you may want to consider:

  • Tennis
  • Pilates
  • Hiking
  • Kicking a ball in the park with friends or grandchildren
  • Yoga
  • Golf
  • Croquet
  • Social sport

Incidental exercise is also an important part of staying fit and healthy. Try:

  • Walking to work/shops/cafes, instead of driving.
  • Catching public transport, instead of a door-to-door Uber/Taxi.
  • Taking the stairs rather than the escalator.

It’s important to start at an achievable level and work your way toward higher goals, and do something you enjoy!

Role of Exercise Physiology:

Exercise Physiologists are university-trained to prescribe exercise and provide advice to each person’s specific needs, which makes them an ideal first point of contact when you are starting to exercise, or if you would like to take your current level of exercise to the next level.  Whether you are looking to manage health conditions such as a heart condition or diabetes or simply looking to stay mobile, strong and independent into the future, Exercise Physiologists have the knowledge and tools to help you achieve this safely and at a pace that suit you.

Further information:

If you’d like any additional information, have questions, or just want to get started exercising again in a safe and fun way, call The Body Refinery on 07 3358 3915 or email us at info@thebodyrefinery.com.au to book an initial consultation with one of our Exercise Physiologists. They will take into account your health status, goals, level of fitness and work with you to reach your goals and keep you moving well into the future.

Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist? What is best for me?

exercise physiologist physiotherapy The Body Refinery New Farm

Seeking help for the management of any condition, diagnosis or ailment can be a tricky path to navigate. In addition to a range of health and well-being services, The Body Refinery has a number of experienced Exercise Physiologists (EP) and Physiotherapists who can get you onto the road to recovery.

The question is…

Should I see an EP or a Physiotherapist for my condition?

The answer…

It depends!

To best answer this question, we’ll first outline the difference between an and a Physiotherapist.

Neurological conditions fall prevention

Let’s start with the similarities.

  • Both professions are considered Allied Health Practitioners. This means their credentials and skill-set utilise evidence-based research and uphold practices that are held to the highest standards.
  • Both professions are supervised by governing bodies that are frequently audited for a standard of practice and effective management of disease or disability.

Physiotherapists fall under the umbrella of the AHPA (Australian Health Practitioner Association), while EPs are overseen by ESSA (Exercise and Sports Science Australia). Membership to either of these bodies requires annual professional development of skill-sets and upstanding service by the certified practitioner.

Exercise Physiologists (also known as Accredited Exercise Physiologists or Clinical Exercise Physiologists) and a Physiotherapist each hold, at a minimum, a 4-year undergraduate degree, specialising in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics.

EPs further specialise in chronic disease management and exercise as the main adjunct to therapy, whereas Physiotherapists accumulate specialised skill-sets which allow them to provide manual therapy techniques as the main management for musculoskeletal conditions.

Physiotherapists train to provide adjuncts to healing, using manual therapies. Not all patients will require manual therapy, just as not all patients will require exercise for their treatment plan. Depending on the severity of the condition and the personal preferences of the client, a patient may benefit from both types of therapy!

Osteopathy The Body Refinery New Farm

I have a pain/condition/issue that hasn’t been diagnosed. Who can help?

A Physiotherapist can diagnose musculoskeletal injuries. They can assess the severity through manual testing and, if necessary, will send a patient for scans such as an MRI or an ultrasound to further investigate the root cause of the condition. Physios will typically work with clients who are in ‘acute’ stages of pain or require consistent management over the short or medium term.

An EP specialises in the management of long-term chronic musculoskeletal conditions (acquired through an injury or lifestyle situation like pregnancy or recovery from surgery) and certain diseases (excluding communicable diseases).

EPs work closely with other conditions that fall outside of musculoskeletal ailments – they are trained in managing exercise for cancer, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, neurological, pregnancy/postpartum and mental health conditions. EPs specialise in getting people back to feeling normal after a diagnosis has been made regarding their health status.

Exercise training under the supervision of an EP is the safest, most effective form of increasing fitness and ability to perform all activities of daily living without pain or discomfort.

EPs are also trained in strength and conditioning – if your goal is to become fitter, faster and stronger (whether or not you are experiencing pain or have an injury) – EPs are highly educated in performance training for athletes and non-athletes alike!

Exercise Physiology exercises and sports conditioning

The main difference between an EP and a Physiotherapist is…

EPs specialise in exercise.

The Body Refinery’s Physiotherapists and EPs work closely with one another to provide the highest quality of care to their clients. We understand that what works for one person may not always work for another, so we are constantly collaborating and sharing knowledge and expertise to ensure each client’s treatment plan is tailored to them to provide the best outcome. This includes making sure that clients are working with the correct type of practitioner to best manage the outcome of their condition.

The Physiotherapy-specialised classes offered at The Body Refinery:

  • The Refined Runner
  • Kneehab
  • Mum and Me Conditioning
  • Pregnancy Conditioning
  • Balance and Falls

The Exercise Physiology-specialised classes offered at The Body Refinery:

  • Better Bones
  • Age-ility
  • PD Warrior
  • Strong Mums
  • Power Pregnancy
  • Strength and Conditioning

If you are unsure what kind of practitioner you should see, call our friendly admin team today on 3358 3915. They will help guide you to the correct practitioner for your condition or physical goals.


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blog written by Exercise Physiologist Tori

Exercise, PD Warrior and Parkinson’s Disease

Exercise can have a positive impact on people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and their quality of life.  Research supporting the use of exercise in treating people with PD has been gaining momentum over the last 10-20 years, specifically, the positive effect exercise can have on the condition itself, as well as the quality of life of those who live with PD. The Body Refinery offers tailored exercise options for people with Parkinson’s through our PD Warrior classes our individualised session.


What You Should Do

But what exercise should you do? What works best? What exercise is safe to do?
Research shows that those with Parkinson’s disease should look to include in some form the following:

  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Flexibility 
  • Strength or Resistance Based Exercise

It’s important to note that everyone has different symptoms and different movements or activities that they find difficult due to Parkinson’s disease. So what types of exercise are best for you may not be the best for another person, though a key theme for everyone is that it is important to stay active and exercise regularly.

PD Warrior - Parkinson's disease The Body Refinery

What is PD Warrior?

The Body Refinery offers a program called PD Warrior that is specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s. Started in 2011 by Specialist Neurological Physiotherapist, Melissa McConaghy, it is based on the concepts of Neuroprotection, Neuroplasticity and Neurorestoration and their relation to Parkinson’s disease. These concepts have been broken down into the 7 core principles of PD Warrior, which have been used to create a fun, motivating and effective program aimed at helping to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:

  1. Fun
  2. Specificity 
  3. High Effort
  4. Frequency 
  5. Powerful
  6. Complex
  7. Meaningful 

PD Warrior is an evidence-based, highly specialised Parkinson’s disease-focused program that works to identify the specific needs and symptoms of a person, then focus on improvement through high effort exercise. PD Warrior takes the latest research, showing that significant benefits can be achieved with high effort exercise, and incorporates it in an easily accessible program that includes elements of behaviour change, social interaction and helps provide a support network for those with Parkinson’s disease.


How We Can Help

In addition to Pilates and Fitness focused classes, The Body Refinery offer’s PD Warrior in two forms: a group session where participants motivate and drive each other to be the best they can be; and individual sessions where a more personalised approach can be taken to work towards specific goals. The group setting is a great way to meet other people with Parkinson’s disease, create a strong support network and social connections, with many participants meeting for coffee after their class. Individual sessions, on the other hand, allow for a more tailored approach to be provided, where specific exercises can be prescribed to assist with symptoms or to help with day to day tasks that you might find difficult.

PD Warrior classes at The Body Refinery are becoming more and more popular as people discover the benefits of the program, and we hope that you will too!  If you are interested in finding out more about PD Warrior and its benefits please contact us on 3358 3915 or info@thebodyrefinery.com.au


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written by Exercise Physiologist Thomas Uhlmann

What is Endometriosis? How can we help you?


What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition, affecting every 1 in 10 women.

When uterine tissue starts to grow in other areas outside the uterus along the abdominal wall, attaching to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and bowels.

This atypical growth of uterine cells causes scarring and plaque formation. When these tissues thicken and bleed as they would normally behave in the uterus, they can cause excessive pain and bleeding.

Symptoms can vary from;

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Bladder and bowel dysfunction (diarrhoea, constipation, frequency of urination)

Some women never experience pain with endometriosis. However, around 50% of diagnosed individuals have chronic pelvic pain and 70% of women will experience pain only during menstruation. Heavy periods and pain to follow are not always ‘normal’ responses to a menstrual cycle.

If you feel like your symptoms are atypical, listen to your body and speak to your GP or OBGYN about your symptoms.

Risk factors:

  • Increasing age
  • Alcohol use
  • Early menarche
  • Family history of endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Low body weight
  • Prolonged menstrual cycle
  • Short menstrual cycle (Peterson et al., 2013

The average time frame for a diagnosis of endometriosis is  8.6 years (Bontempo & Mikesell, 2020). The longer endometriosis goes diagnosed, the longer accumulation of inflammation occurs and the potential severity of symptoms as the body attempts to manage the condition. The scarring of tissue can further perpetuate symptoms of infertility in patients diagnosed with endometriosis.

The alleviation symptoms (typically coinciding with a menstrual cycle) through exercise have been shown to drastically reduce the incidence of pain and heavy bleeding.


Endometriosis is triggered by excessive inflammation in the body at a cellular level. A sedentary lifestyle places pressure on the vascular system of the body, reducing the body’s ability to circulate the blood effectively with the nutrients it needs to stimulate healing processes via endorphin release. Exercise actively decreases the number of inflammatory markers in the body by the reduction of adipose tissue.

Pain and discomfort are positively reinforced by the brain when muscles contract in an attempt to “guard” the area causing pain sensations. With the help of a trained exercise professional, we work to rewire the body systems to relax overactive muscle groups to interrupt the pain signals sent to the brain via muscle guarding.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common result of pain stemming from endometriosis. When the body is in pain around the pelvis, the musculature surrounding the tissue can become overactive or spasm. This further perpetuates chronic pelvic pain or pain during a menstrual cycle. Exercise has been proven to significantly decrease maladaptive postures stemming from endometriosis pain response, as well as significantly decrease the intensity of endometriosis pain after following a structured and consistent exercise program (Awad et al., 2017).

Exercise is one of the most effective courses of treatment to reduce symptomatic endometriosis, while increasing energy levels, boosting mood and building a stronger, more resilient body. 

At the Body Refinery, our women’s health Exercise Physiologist, Tori, will assist you in managing your diagnosis and symptoms of endometriosis.

Tori is available every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning at our New Farm location.

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Awad, E., Ahmed, H., Yousef, A., & Abbas, R. (2017). Efficacy of exercise on pelvic pain and posture associated with endometriosis: within subject design. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(12), 2112–2115. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.2112

Bontempo, A. C., & Mikesell, L. (2020). Patient perceptions of misdiagnosis of endometriosis: results from an online national survey. Diagnosis (Berlin, Germany), 7(2), 97–106. https://doi.org/10.1515/dx-2019-0020

Peterson, C. M., Johnstone, E. B., Hammoud, A. O., Stanford, J. B., Varner, M. W., Kennedy, A., Chen, Z., Sun, L., Fujimoto, V. Y., Hediger, M. L., Buck Louis, G. M., & ENDO Study Working Group (2013). Risk factors associated with endometriosis: importance of study population for characterizing disease in the ENDO Study. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 208(6), 451.e1–451.e4511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2013.02.040