Which Expert?

What is a Physiotherapist? What Can They Do For Me?
Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. They maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease. Examples of approaches used in physiotherapy include:

  • movement and exercise – taking into account a person’s current level of health and their specific requirements
  • manual therapy techniques – where the physiotherapist aids recovery by using their hands to relieve muscle pain and stiffness, and encourage blood flow to an injured part of the body
  • aquatic therapy – a form of physiotherapy carried out in water
  • other techniques – such as heat, cold and acupuncture to ease pain

If you practise as a physiotherapist in the UK, you are required by law to be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC), the UK’s regulator for health and care professionals. This is shown as a State Registered Physiotherapist or SRP. Ask for this if you attend a Private Physiotherapist.

Helene Whitaker BSc MCSP SRP Chartered Physiotherapist   Tel: 07879 515 575  email:

What is an Osteopath and What Can They Do For Me?
  Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue functioning smoothly together. Osteopaths believe their treatments allow the body to heal itself. They use a range of techniques but do not use drugs or surgery. (NHS choices)   Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints.   Osteopaths treat patients with hands on techniques such as stretching / massaging muscles and moving joints such as slow articulatory type movements, but also fast ‘clicks / cracks’ of joints – which people often associate with chiropractic treatment.

Sarah Gordon Harrogate Osteopaths Pannal Surgery,  37 Station Road, Pannal Harrogate, HG3 1JN
Tel: 01423 810316 Mobile: 07986 603269 Website:

What is a Massage Therapist and What Can They Do For Me?
Massage Therapy is a comprehensive intervention involving manipulation of the superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, stimulating circulation and local blood flow. The aims of massage therapy include:

  • Treating and preventing physical dysfunction
  • Developing, maintaining, and enhancing physical function
  • Aiding the healing process
  • Relieving pain
  • Decreasing muscle reflex activity (muscle tension and/or spasm)
  • Inhibiting motor-neuron excitability
  • Promoting relaxation and well-being

Methods include light massage, precision deep tissue massage, soft tissue manipulation, fascia release, trigger point work, and facilitated stretching.   Massage relieves tension in the soft tissues which in turn may release other skeletal imbalances. As there is more soft tissue in the body than bony tissue, it is often the case that many issues can be resolved more effectively using a soft tissue approach as a first port of call, and then further follow up with physiotherapy (for strengthening work), and osteopathic or chiropractic work if necessary for bony manipulation work or more stubborn issues.

What is a Chiropractor? What Can They Do For Me?
According to the General Chiropractic Council, chiropractic is “a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health”.   Chiropractors (practitioners of chiropractic) use their hands to treat disorders of the bones, muscles and joints. Treatments that involve use of the hands in this way are called “manual therapies”. Chiropractors use a range of techniques, with an emphasis on manipulation of the spine. They may also offer advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle, and rehabilitation programmes that involve exercises to do in your own time. Some chiropractors may also offer other treatments, such as acupuncture.   Chiropractic is part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This means that chiropractic is different in important ways from treatments that are part of conventional western medicine. Some uses of chiropractic treatments are based on ideas and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists.

What is a Personal Trainer and What Can They Do for Me?
The scope of practice for a personal trainer is to enhance the components of fitness for the general, healthy population.
A personal trainer is a fitness professional involved in exercise prescription and instruction. They motivate clients by setting goals and providing feedback and accountability to clients. Trainers also measure their client’s strengths and weaknesses with fitness assessments. They may also educate their clients in many other aspects of wellness besides exercise, including general health and nutrition guidelines.  Qualified personal trainers recognize their own areas of expertise. If a trainer suspects that one of his or her clients has a medical condition that could prevent the client from safe participation in an exercise program, they must refer the client to the proper health professional for prior clearance.

Qualifications for personal trainers vary widely: In the UK, there are several ways to achieve a personal training qualification. Most personal training qualifications are accredited through awarding bodies like CYQ (Central YMCA Qualifications), Active IQ (Active International Qualifications) and City and Guilds. These qualifications are generally delivered by Further Education (FE) establishments like colleges, or by private training providers.  Upon successful completion of an accredited awarding body qualification, candidates become eligible for Level 3 REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals) status. University graduates with an appropriate honours degree can also apply to become an approved by REPs through Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and Accreditation of Prior Achievement (APA).  REP is the professional body for the UK health and fitness industry, and does not award qualifications directly. Most health and fitness qualifications endorsed by REPs vary in levels from 1 – 5, 1 being basic GCSE level and 5 being advanced specialized training professionals. For a qualification to become eligible for endorsement by REPs, it must conform to the National Occupational Standards (NOS), which are set at governmental level by the Sector Skills Council (SSC) Skills Active.