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General Fitness

Returning to running post natal – how do I know if I am ready?

I am postnatal and want to start running. How do I know if I am ready?

Running is a popular form of exercise for mums. You can do a quick 30-minute workout for free, work up a sweat and even take bub along once they are old enough. So it’s understandable that many new mums are keen to get back into running after having a baby.

However, because running is a high impact activity, there are some important things to consider first. When your foot hits the ground, there is a force called a “ground reaction force” that comes up through the lower limb, some of which is transmitted to the pelvic floor. In anticipation of this force, your pelvic floor will automatically activate just before your foot hits the ground to support your pelvic organs and prevent leaking.

Ground reaction forces are reported to be 1.6 and 2.5 times your body weight when running. In the postnatal period, your pelvic floor is weaker and slower to contract, making it less able to provide support and maintain continence while running. This means that if you return to running too soon before your body is ready, it can lead to pelvic floor issues such as prolapse and incontinence as well as musculoskeletal pain.


I have had my 6 weeks check-up with my GP / obstetrician, so doesn’t that mean I can start running? 

No – and there are a couple of reasons for this.

  1. You should be at least 3 months postnatal before considering returning to running to allow enough time for the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to heal.
  2. The 6-week postnatal checkup is only about 30 minutes long. In that time, your doctor has a lot to cover and often doesn’t have the time or the specialised training to clear you to return to running.

That is why it is recommended that, in addition to seeing your GP or obstetrician, you also see a women’s health physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floor assessments.

I had a C-section, so shouldn’t my pelvic floor be fine if I return to running? 

No – before the birth, your body doesn’t know that you are going to have a caesarean, so it will undergo many changes during pregnancy in preparation for birth. For example, there is a gap in your pelvic floor muscles known as the levator hiatus where the urethra, vagina and anal canal pass through. The levator hiatus area widens during pregnancy and takes 4-12 months postnatal to recover, rarely returning to its prenatal size. Although the levator hiatus doesn’t increase significantly as it does after vaginal birth, it will still be wider post caesarean than what it was before pregnancy. If you run with a wider levator hiatus, there is less support for the pelvic organs, predisposing to leaking and prolapse.

After a caesarean, there is also abdominal wound healing to consider. Studies have shown abdominal fascia has only regained 51%-59% of its strength by 6-weeks post caesarean section and 73%-93% of its strength at 6-7 months postnatal.

For these reasons, it is recommended you have an assessment with a women’s health physiotherapist if you wish to return to running, regardless of whether you had a vaginal or caesarean birth.


What is involved in a women’s health postnatal running assessment? 

In the assessment, your women’s health physiotherapist will take a subjective history and identify any risk factors for returning to running. They will then perform an objective examination to check your abdominal function, lower limb strength and how your body copes with load and impact among other things. With your consent, they will also perform an internal examination to check your pelvic floor function and pelvic organ support.

Based on the assessment, your women’s health physiotherapist will prescribe an individualised exercise program to prepare you for running. This may involve exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and lower limb muscles as well as re-training your pelvic floor to work reflexively like it does when running.


How long does it take to return to running? 

Everybody is different. Some women are ready to return to running at 3 months postnatal, for others it may take up to a year before they are ready. Once you have been cleared to run, your women’s health physiotherapist will also be able to guide your return to running in a gradual way. This will reduce your risk of pelvic floor and musculoskeletal injury and ensure you get the best results from your running. Your women’s health physiotherapist can also recommend other forms of exercise that are best suited to your specific circumstances.

To book your postnatal running assessment with one of our women’s health physiotherapists please call 3358 3915 or visit our website.

Working out at home

The Body Refinery online workout at home

Do you know The Body Refinery Online?

Finding time to fit in exercise can be a challenge. Exercise often takes a back seat to all the other important things we have going on day-to-day.

It’s important to make moving your body a priority, whether it be fitting in a gym session three times a week or taking the time to go for a short walk or for a quick stretch session.  With many people working from home, it’s easy to become more sedentary when there’s no need to walk to the bus or to get lunch.  As a result, we are seeing more and more people suffering from postural ailments, making it more important than ever to keep moving your body to prevent injuries, help ease stress and anxiety.

Upper Body – 6 minutes Workout

For more Pilates and Fitness classes join our online Studio: HERE.
New classes every forthnight.

to a gym or Pilates studio on a regular basis can be difficult, inconvenient, or even daunting.  The Body Refinery Online was created to ensure that everyone has access to quality mat-based Pilates and Strength classes run by our amazing and talented Pilates Instructors, Exercise Physiologists and Physios at any time of the day.

Along with our 45 to 50-minute classes, we have created a series of 15 to 20-minute videos for those who are short on time or who would like to mix and match their workouts.  As a busy mum of two small children, this appeals to me greatly, as I can get a workout done in a short period of time and then get on with my day, feeling energised and uplifted.

All The Body Refinery Online workouts require little-to-no equipment, so there are no excuses not to workout! The Body Refinery Online is also great for those who come to our studio but would also like the flexibility of being able to do an extra stretch session or class from home whenever they like.

Subscribe today and feel the benefits! Visit www.thebodyrefineryonline.com and join our online community.


Written by Pilates Instructor Emma Hinwood

What is TRX?

what is trx new farm

The Total Resistance Exercise (TRX) system is a unique way of building strength, endurance and overall fitness without having to lift heavy weights or push yourself to exhaustion. The TRX itself is securely attached to an overhead position and allows you to complete a range of upper body, lower body and full body exercises at the intensity you choose, this allows the TRX to be effective in both an individual and group setting.

The TRX first began in the late 1990’s as a creation of a former Navy Seal, the legend says the original prototype consisted of nothing but a Jiu-Jitsu belt and parachute webbing, before being released in its current form for sale in the early 2000’s. It has then risen to become the most popular and widespread of any suspension based exercise system. The system itself is quite simple, two handles suspended securely from a high point allowing the individual to control the intensity of the movement by changing their position in relation to the TRX, using gravity and the user’s body weight.

The versatility of the TRX is one of its main strengths, this is due to the large range of exercises that can be completed, combined with easily being able to change the intensity through increasing or decreasing the leverage of gravity (more and less angled body position) and pace of the exercises. This versatility leads the TRX to be an effective way of reaching many different goals for many different people. From healthy adults seeking general strength and fitness to older adults seeking increased strength and ability and athletes for injury rehabilitation and prevention.

Those seeking general health, fitness and strength benefits will be happy to know that in a study completed by Smith et al. 2016. A group of participants took part in an 8-week TRX program and by the conclusion of the program, it was found that they had improved strength and endurance while also experiencing improvements in their blood pressure, body fat and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Though this study was completed on relatively fit adults there are still benefits to TRX based exercise for older adults. In Gaedtke, A., & Morat, T. (2015) a group of older adults aged 60 and over completed a TRX exercise program for 12 weeks, and after this program, they all reported positive effects on their strength, balance and functional ability.

Lastly, an example of TRX in use around athletic populations can be seen in this study where 30 female athletes with Functional Ankle Instability (FAI) took part in a 6-week TRX training program which caused an improvement in strength and proprioception which are both directly related to injury risk (Khorjahani, A. 2021)

Here at The Body Refinery, we utilise the TRX system as part of our services that occur in the gym space, such as Exercise Physiology, Age-ility & Better Bones and Strength & Conditioning. We also hold specific TRX group exercise classes with a maximum of 8 participants where you are guided through a workout that will leave you feeling invigorated and energised. These group classes are run under the supervision of either our trained Pilates Instructors or Exercise Physiologists. Though these classes are fitness-focused and are aimed at those who are relatively fit and healthy, your instructor can also modify the program to your needs if you are recovering from a minor injury or any other minor ache or pain.

In short TRX training whether in a group or individual setting is a great way to build strength and get a sweat up while completing a truly different form of exercise. If this interests you feel free to contact the admin team either by phone (07) 3358 3915 or email (info@thebodyrefinery.com.au).



Smith, L. E., Snow, J., Fargo, J. S., Buchanan, C. A., & Dalleck, L. C. (2016). The acute and chronic health benefits of TRX Suspension Training® in healthy adults. Int J Res Ex Phys, 11(2), 1-15

Gaedtke, A., & Morat, T. (2015). TRX Suspension Training: A New Functional Training Approach for Older Adults – Development, Training Control and Feasibility. International journal of exercise science, 8(3), 224–233.

Khorjahani, Ali & Mirmoezzi, Masoud & Bagheri, Mina & Kalantariyan, Mohammad. (2021). Effects of TRX Suspension Training on Proprioception and Muscle Strength in Female Athletes with Functional Ankle Instability. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine. In Press. 10.5812/asjsm.107042.

Khorjahani, A., Mirmoezzi, M., Bagheri, M., & Kalantariyan, M. (2021). Effects of TRX Suspension Training on Proprioception and Muscle Strength in Female Athletes with Functional Ankle Instability. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 12(2), 1D-1D.

Is diversity good in an exercise routine?

Is diversity good in an exercise routine?

If we compare investment portfolios to exercise for a minute, those who are experienced investors always recommend having diverse investment portfolios to get the best returns. Exercise is the same. Diversity matters!

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their exercise program is not including enough variety. Research shows that diversifying your workout routine offers greater payoffs than sticking to the same moves for years on end. That’s because exercise variety maximizes benefits and minimizes obstacles to working out, such as injuries, plateaus and boredom. Diversify your fitness portfolio now and your health will be less likely to disappear in the future. Exercise variety will help decrease your risk of heart disease, arthritis, disability and even some kinds of cancer. In fact, recent data suggest that regularly engaging in a range of physical activities decreases all-cause mortality rates.

Although your optimal balance of aerobic and strength training may vary slightly depending on your age, a good rule of thumb is to strive for equal amounts of the two each week, integrating flexibility exercises into every workout.

The Body Refinery is a traditionally Pilates-based studio but we now provide diversity to our clients which includes a gym for activities such as traditional strength and conditioning, Barre for a great cardio workout, TRX which is a suspension system to tone and strengthen using your own body weight, Yoga, mat-based Pilates and stretch classes.  All of these additions are the perfect complement to your regular Pilates routine.

If you have an existing Fitness or Studio class pack you can trial our other services in our mat room (TRX, Yoga, Barre, Stretch and Release and Mat Pilates) for $10 a class. Get Diversifying!

Improve your athletic performance with Pilates

A body under repetitive strain

We all know that athletes push their bodies to meet their physical goals, whether it be running, swimming, cycling, competing in a triathlon or a marathon, lifting weights or playing competitive sport. These activities can place high demands on the body, particularly related to the frequency of training and competitive events. Such repetitive demands on the body can lead to imbalances in strength, flexibility and agility which can lead to poor movement patterns, causing loss of efficiency and injury.

Ideally, athletes should seek to achieve optimal biomechanics relevant to their sporting pursuits. This will assist in enhancing performance and limiting overuse injuries. In fact, 70-91% of triathlete injuries are caused by overdoing (1).


‘P’ for  – Precision, Performance,  Prevention …. Pilates!

How do we achieve optimal biomechanics? By strengthening and lengthening muscles, maintaining joint mobility, correcting muscular imbalances in the body, improving functional stability and body awareness.

And Pilates is the perfect fit for attaining all these outcomes.

The essence of Pilates is control of body position and awareness of precision in movement. Pilates exercises are designed to lengthen and stabilise major muscle groups and correct muscular imbalances in the body.

With regular Pilates, everyone (athlete or not) can experience improvements in their daily performance (sporting endeavours or daily tasks) and this helps to prevent future pain and injuries from developing.

The elusive ‘core’

We all know we need to improve our ‘core strength’ and ‘stability’ but what does this mean exactly? For athletes such as triathletes, this means a focus on functional dynamic stability. This is the ability of the body to hold itself in better alignment for longer, even under extreme fatigue, maintaining an appropriate posture, responsiveness and efficiency of movement (2).

Exercises such as swimming, cycling and running can place high repetitive loads and demands on areas of the body such as joints, ligaments and muscles. We can attempt to balance these loads by preparing and maintaining the body with Pilates. In fact, a ‘core’ or ‘stability’ regime such as Pilates has often been referred to as the desired ‘fourth discipline’ for triathletes to improve performance and avoid injury.


Pilates to improve your swimming performance

Although swimming is a great full-body exercise, frequent swimming or competing can often result in pain and injuries around the shoulder girdle.

The shoulder joint is innately mobile which allows a greater range of movement but can leave it vulnerable to injury. It is said that 90% of the forward propulsive power of a swim stroke comes from the upper extremities.  This continuous stroke repetition and generation of force places high demands on the shoulder joint, so optimal biomechanics and stability around the shoulder joint are required to avoid injury (3).

The body also needs to maintain alignment in a streamlined nature for optimal swimming biomechanics. Any deviation from this alignment may lead to fatigue and injury (4). For example, a swimmer who does not have adequate abdominal control and strength may show increased hip drop during the breaststroke sequence. This imbalance may consequently reduce the propulsion phase-out of the water, increasing the risk of straining muscles and joints of the neck, shoulder and back.

Regular practice of Pilates will help to improve the system of deep stabilising muscles that support and control joint motion. These muscles include the deep abdominals (transverse abdominis), pelvic floor muscles, deep muscles approximating the spine (multifidus) and deep hip rotators. Without this internal stability system, global muscle groups are required to work harder, which leads to the increased likeliness of fatigue and injury.


Cyclists need Pilates too

Similar to swimming, cycling also involves repetitive movement, which can particularly overload the hips, pelvis and spine. Pilates assists in strengthening the muscles that support the lumbar spine and helps athletes to reduce the amount of excessive movement at the pelvis – reducing shear tension through the lumbar spine.

Gluteal muscle strength and efficiency are also important for maintaining optimal knee alignment when cycling. This helps to reduce the incidence of knee pain and injuries.

Postural conditioning through Pilates is also of paramount importance for cyclists to ensure thoracic spine mobility and strength to assist in maintaining the forward postural position. Cyclists can often be known to develop neck and back pain from holding these positions for prolonged periods without appropriate conditioning.

What about runners?

Of each of these disciplines mentioned, running has the most impact on the joints, ligaments and muscles (1). For triathletes, it is also worth considering the fatigue factor involved, after completing the two previous disciplines of swimming and cycling in a triathlon. A focus on the deep stabilising system of muscles that support and control joints is therefore crucial to reduce the risk of injury and help to maintain running technique, stability and form.

The 6 ways Pilates will benefit your athletic performance

– Improved breath control
– Increased stability or ‘core strength’
– Better sense of balance
– Improved joint flexibility
– Prevention of injury
– Muscle Recovery


How can The Body Refinery help you?

At The Body Refinery, we have a number of services and Health Professionals that can assist you in improving your athletic endeavours. These services include Physiotherapy, Exercise Physiology, Myotherapy, Remedial Massage and Pilates.

Our Pilates services are run by highly skilled and trained Pilates instructors who can tailor a program to suit your needs.

Our Physiotherapists also work with athletes in our Clinical Rehab classes – this service blends traditional Physiotherapy exercises with Pilates informed exercise to provide you with an individualised program to assist with your injuries and performance needs.

Or you may find our refined runner program is what you are after.

Please call our friendly reception team today on 3358 3915 to discuss how we can help you!



  1. Crowell, S., Davis, I (2011). Gait retraining to reduce lower extremity loading in runners. Clin Biomech.  9(3),pp. 78-83
  2. Ezechielli, M (2013). Muscle Strength of the Lumbar Spine in different sports. Technology And Health Care: Official Journal Of The European Society For Engineering And Medicine [Technol Health Care] 2013; Vol. 21 (4), pp. 379-86.
  3. Heinlein, S (2010).  Biomechanical Considerations in the Competitive Swimmer’s Shoulder. Sports Physical therapy. Vol. 2 (6), pp. 519-525
  4. Richardson, A., Jobe, F., Collins , H (1994). The shoulder in competitive swimming. American Journal Sports Medicine

Training flexibility in young dancers – why you shouldn’t stretch

Dance Pre-pointe assessment physiotherapy The Body Refinery Brisbane

Dancers sitting in the splits or effortlessly mounting their legs above their heads are quintessential images in the dance world. While many dancers are hypermobile, others are not and have to work hard to achieve the same range of movement. They resort to stretching every day to ‘increase their flexibility’ often to no avail. If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone. You may think that holding stretches passively lengthen your muscles, but this is not the case. In fact, research has shown that static stretching (i.e. holding a stretch) for longer than 60 seconds actually inhibits the muscle. If you take this inhibited muscle into a dance class you are more at risk of injury.

That’s why, at the Australian Ballet, you no longer see dancers stretching their calves. It is all thanks to Dr Sue Mayes, the Principal Physiotherapist at the Australian Ballet. Mayes educated the dancers on the importance of not stretching their calves and introduced single leg calf raises into their daily class. Over the past decade, they have seen a dramatic decline in ankle and calf injuries. As Mayes explains, when performing, dancers are not static and do not hold passive positions. Instead, they are dynamic, moving in and out of extreme ranges of movement. To have the capacity to move into these ranges with power and control requires strength. By taking a strength-based approach, Mayes and her team found they could improve flexibility and increase range of motion in a safe and effective way.

Dance Pre-pointe assessment physiotherapy The Body Refinery Brisbane

If you shouldn’t stretch, how should you warm-up?

Rather than sitting in a stretch, you should take the muscle through its range dynamically. For example, you could do a slow controlled leg swing. Other suggestions include:

  • Jogging around the studio to raise your body temperature and get the blood flowing
  • Releasing tight muscles with a ball or roller
  • Gentle activation exercises to ‘wake up’ the deep stabilising muscles such as the glutes

Dance Pre-pointe assessment physiotherapy The Body Refinery Brisbane

Should you abandon stretching altogether? 

It depends on the way you do it. If you are going to stretch, it should be dynamic and not held for longer than 30-40 seconds.

If you have been working hard on your range of movement and it’s not improving, it may be time to address the reasons why the movement is restricted. This is where physiotherapy can help.

Our physiotherapist, Courtney, understands the frustration of lacking flexibility. Unable to do the splits, she used to stretch every day, with little improvement. She now loves to apply her knowledge to help dancers achieve their own flexibility goals.

Courtney can undertake a thorough assessment to determine what may be limiting your flexibility, whether it be related to:

    • Muscle tightness
    • Muscle weakness

Joint or capsular restriction

  • Fascial or neural tension


Following this assessment, she can design a tailored program specifically for you to address these areas. Courtney offers as well pre-pointe assessment to all dancers.


To book an initial assessment with Courtney, contact our friendly reception staff on 3358 3915 or info@thebodyrefinery.com.au.

What Pilates/Fitness class should I be doing?

Pilates is an ideal movement therapy as it moves the spine in all directions, strengthens the core and enables the movement from a stable platform. At The Body Refinery, we are passionate about movement and teaching our clients to move well.

We are fortunate enough to be able to provide our clients with a full and complete range of Pilates-based and fitness services for anyone on their movement journey. This means that at The Body Refinery we can meet the goals of anyone wanting to move for a healthy, fit and fulfilling life. But which Pilates/fitness class is for you?


Fitness Classes

These classes (described below) are run by experienced Pilates instructors and meet the general goals of Pilates – moving the spine in all directions and giving an all-over workout but not specific to address individual goals. These classes are great for someone wanting to add in a few more sessions to their routine or just add Pilates to an existing training to increase their body awareness and stability. The best choice for people who just want to move and work hard.

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined and Fitness memberships


Mat classes 

Held on the floor on a mat everybody doing the same thing at the same time.  There will be some modification made for people but individualised goals are not done in these classes. Mat classes are probably the hardest of all session as there is not supportive equipment and it is performed against gravity.

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined and Fitness memberships


Pilates Reformer Fitness New Farm The Body Refinery


Reformer classes 

Essentially the same as the Mat classes but taken on a reformer. Everyone is doing the same exercise at the same time. There will be some modification available but exercises are not individualised. However, what is really good about these classes is the reformer! Reformers have springs and pulleys that make it easier than the mat as the reformer makes a supportive environment but it also allows the ability to work with resistance for those who would like even more challenge.

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined and Fitness memberships


Refined Barre

Our Refined Barre classes incorporate elements of dance, ballet and Pilates to create a fun-filled workout that strengthens and lengthens the body, improves balance and flexibility while increasing your heart rate.

Note:Don’t stress you don’t need to have any dance, ballet or Pilates experience! Refined Barre is more of a fitness class that focuses on continuous functional movement to help keep you feeling fit, happy and alive, all in a fun and safe setting. No tutus required!

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined and Fitness memberships



Studio Pilates

Instructed by a diploma level qualified instructor (meaning they have done full certification in both mat and equipment and their course is recognized by the professional bodies of Pilates in Australia the PAA and the APMA). These classes are great if you are wanting to really take their movement to the next level.
In these classes, you will use all the equipment in the studio: reformer, trapeze, wunda chair, barrels and mat, to address specific goals. These goals may be based on a past injury, sporting performance, injury prevention or general wellness. Our Studio Pilates classes are really tailored to a specific body and its limitations. To commence these classes an initial consultation with a physiotherapist is required so that goals can be set and a program planned for you.

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined membership


Strength and Conditioning

If you are injury-free and would like to challenge yourself, our new Strength and Conditioning Classes⁠ are a great way to increase your strength and fitness levels.⁠ ⁠These sessions are the perfect way to do semi-private classes in a gym setting environment with an Exercise Physiologist or Personal Trainer.⁠

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined membership

Exercise Physiology exercises and sports conditioning New Farm


Yoga is the union of body, mind and spirit. Mindful practise cultivates deeper awareness (externally and internally) leading to a greater appreciation of each moment both on and off the mat. Our Yoga classes are the perfect way to start and end your day – join a class and see the benefits for yourself!

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined and Fitness memberships



Our TRX classes are a complete full-body workout. The TRX System, also known as Total Resistance exercises, refers to a specialized form of suspension training that utilizes equipment developed by former U.S. Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick. Tighten your core and target every muscle in your body with these classes! Experience this fitness phenomenon with high-energy today.

Enjoy unlimited access to these classes with our Totally Refined and Fitness memberships


TRX classes new farm The Body Refinery


Clinical Rehab

Instructed by a physiotherapist these classes are for those people who have a “condition” that needs to be monitored by a Physiotherapist to ensure their condition is properly managed. People in clinical pilates classes should be there at the recommendation of their physiotherapist. Clinical Rehab classes will move at a slower pace and Physiotherapists may use some of their manual skills in a class in conjunction with the exercises. Essentially this is a shared treatment session. Clinical Pilates classes should not be a long-term class but rather a stepping stone into studio classes where movement can really be progressed.


If you have any questions about which of our class is appropriate for you then don’t hesitate to contact us and we can give you further information – 3358 38915 or email us at info@thebodyrefinery.com.au

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Hashimoto’s Disease, Hypothyroidism and Exercise


Four years after the birth of my second child I was eventually diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease. It was a long journey to get the diagnosis, as although I felt very unwell, I was regularly advised that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. So, I just presumed all my symptoms were related to being a busy mum who ran a business.

The symptoms I was experiencing were:

  • Lethargy / Fatigue
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Depression / Low mood
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Breathlessness
  • Dry skin
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Decreased libido
  • Menstrual changes

Other symptoms that people with Hashimoto’s Disease experience are:

  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Thinning of hair and eyebrows
  • Constipation
  • Enlarged thyroid (Goitre)
  • Decreased fertility


Hashimoto’s Disease is now considered the most common Autoimmune diseases and affects the thyroid gland (Beynon, & Pinneri, 2016). It usually causes hypothyroid symptoms, however, it is possible for Hashimoto symptoms to swing between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism (underactive Thyroid) is more common in women than men, with estimates that 10 times more women than men are affected. Hypothyroidism is typically gradually progressive, with symptoms increasing as thyroid function deteriorates.

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, occurs if the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, causing every function in the body to speed up.

For me, the medication made a huge difference, but being a physiotherapist, I wanted to know more about my condition and what else I could do – especially in the areas of exercise and movement.

Exercise has been shown to be effective in improving thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Studies have shown that medium-intensity aerobic exercise (classified as 70% of a person’s maximum heart rate) produced the best results for improving TSH.  However, if exercise is too intense, too lengthy or too frequent, there may not be enough time for the body to restore normal levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.

Correlation between physical activity and signs of autoimmune flare-ups varies from one person to another.

For me, the perfect exercise turned out to be Pilates – I could work hard enough to get the intensity I required to support and stimulate TSH levels, without producing the negative reactions associated with over-exercising.  The other addition I made to my exercise routine was to start training with an Exercise Physiologist for my weights training and cardiovascular workouts. My EP was able to monitor me and understood the pathophysiology of Hashimoto’s Disease (I highly recommend Natalie Soldatenko at The Body Refinery).


Ten years on, I am feeling the best I have ever felt – I feel like I am 20 again. My advice to women experiencing any of the symptoms listed earlier, is to get your thyroid tested, and if a thyroid issue is identified, see an endocrinologist and start to exercise appropriately by training with someone who has the training to properly understand autoimmune conditions.


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Written by Susan Cottrell, Physiotherapist and Director of The Body Refinery

How should I set up my desk?


With so many of us working from home at the moment you may be thinking “how am I meant to set up my desk?”  Here is a short guide with some tips to help you work from home comfortably.

The first thing to remember is there is not just one right way to sit at a desk and it may look slightly different depending on your work demands and your body.  It is important to remember that even the best posture is not going to be completely comfortable eight hours a day.  Our bodies are just not designed to sit for that long!  Your posture should be comfortable and natural for you.




First of all, sit with your feet flat on the floor and your chair height so that your hips are just above your knees. A good seat that is adjustable and has some lumbar support will serve you well. If your seat does not have any low back support an easy solution is to fold up a towel and place it behind your low back. You should be sitting with a slight tilt backwards at around 100-120 degrees, rather than directly upright.



The desk should be at a level where your elbows are by your side and forearms can rest on the desk around 90 degrees.  Make sure that the things you use regularly, like the keyboard and mouse, are within reach while sitting and you are not stretching to reach them repeatedly throughout the day.



Screen height is one of the key things that can make a big difference to the neck and upper back strain.  If you imagine your screen is divided into thirds: top, middle, and bottom.  When sitting comfortably, your eyes should fall at the line dividing the top and middle thirds of the screen. This is usually where laptops fail.  If you are trying to work with a laptop, consider purchasing a separate keyboard so that you are able to raise the screen.


It is important to stand and move often.  As a general rule getting up every hour to stretch, move and reset will help keep your body feeling good.


If you would any further advice on setting up your desk at home, our team are here to guide you.  This information is quite general and a more detailed assessment by an Osteopath or Physiotherapist can help individualise the set-up. We are available for 1-on-1 appointments or take advantage of our Telehealth option, which should allow us to view your set-up and help tailor it to your needs.

More Tips on Improving Your Posture at Home in this Q&A With the Experts on Porch.com.

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Written by Osteopath Natalie Anderson

Should I use a registered or unregistered NDIS service provider?

What’s the difference between registered and unregistered NDIS service providers?

Why would a service provider choose not to be registered with the NDIA?

What does engaging an unregistered service provider mean for an NDIS participant?


The Body Refinery works with many NDIS clients but is an unregistered service provider. The National Disability Insurance Scheme encourages service providers to register, however, this process takes a considerable amount of time, money and effort on behalf of the service provider. For this reason, there are many service providers who choose not to register. This effectively labels them as ‘unregistered service providers’.

One of the benefits of opting to be Plan-Managed or Self-Managed over Agency-Managed (i.e. by the NDIA), is access to both registered and unregistered service providers.

The word ‘unregistered’ can make some people feel uneasy, however, the term is misunderstood, and as a result, some participants miss out on the opportunity to work with a vast number of professional service providers who can help them achieve their NDIS goals.


Put simply:

  • a registered service provider is an entity that has registered its services and has been approved by the NDIA as a service provider.
  • an unregistered service provider has not completed this approval process, though can still offer a valid service to participants.

One key difference is that only registered providers can claim their invoices directly with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, whereas an unregistered provider will send invoices to you or your Plan Manager for payment. Participants who use the services of unregistered providers will need to manually claim funds back from the NDIS through their NDIS portal, or you can engage a Plan Manager to do this for you.

It’s important to remember that just because a service provider chooses to remain unregistered with the NDIS doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t use their services. Unregistered service providers can offer NDIS participants essential and highly-skilled services that can assist the participant in reaching their goals. These services are still covered by the NDIS, though you may need to pay a gap if the price of the services doesn’t fall within the NDIS price guide.

There is minimal risk in engaging an unregistered service provider, with many of these service providers using their skills and dedication to improve the lives of people living with a disability.

Unregistered NDIS providers are not audited for adherence to the requirements of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Commission, however, physiotherapists and other health professionals already adhere to the requirements of their own professional industry body, the standards expected by their employer/practice and generally pride themselves on providing excellent patient care.


The Body Refinery offers a range of services that are covered under the NDIS, and the relevant team members are experienced in writing the care plans required for the NDIS.  We have existing relationships with many Plan Management companies to ensure that participants receive the highest quality of care.

If you’d like to see how we can ensure you are living your fullest life with the benefits of the NDIS, call our friendly admin team, who can arrange for you to speak directly with one of our physiotherapists, osteopaths, or exercise physiologists.

NDIS – National Disability Insurance Scheme
NDIA – National Disability Insurance Agency