Welcome to barn house physiotherapy

Physiotherapy delivers a vast array of treatment techniques which help to restore and improve body movements and functions.

Psychological health is enhanced by physical wellbeing and at barn house physiotherapy the treatment is as individual as you are.

Jacqueline's notes


Gardeners Question Time Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 Gardener’s Question Time : Exercise

This accompanies an interview for Gardeners Question Time. March 2014

Any transformation that happens in the body happens in the mind first. Make exercise part of your day, like brushing your teeth. Preferably 35 minutes a day (no more than 75) with a days rest. When I lived in Australia exercise was pretty fundamental to life, people ran, cycled home from work , sometimes even stopping off on the way home from work to have a windsurf!

There are basically 4 types of exercise that we need to be doing : cardiovascular exercise : the type of exercise that gets the heart rate up (Karnoven formula 220-age ) and gets you sweating. Brisk walking, raking leaves, pushing lawnmower, running. Resistance exercise : weights or own body weight , strengthens muscles and helps to increase bone density. This could include lifting, pushing and pulling, weeding. Flexibility ( Stretching ) : lengthening tight and shortened muscles : releasing tight muscles post work out. Neuromotor (Mind / body programming ): brain train exercises. Improving mind / body co-ordination, control and fine motor control. Potting things up, planting, dead heading and pilates, t’ai chi & yoga on the lawn. Relates also to mindfulness and breathing . Gardening can combine all 4 !

Warming up

This is imperative to get your brain into gear that you are going to be exercising, start gently with some warming up movements. This also helps to avoid stress and strain and gets the body switching on the appropriate muscles to do the tasks ahead.

This could involve arm openings, squats, bridging , exercises to switch on the deep muscles that support the spine. These are warming up exercises for gardening. Movement exercises. Stretching comes later once the muscles are warm and can then lengthen after having using them.

HIIT (High intensity interval training)

Short, sharp, shock. Gardening is perfect for this, shovelling , digging, takes a few minutes at full pelt.


Stretching tight muscles comes after exercise. Part of warming down. When I was working for GB Rowing I remember sprinting fast to the finish line when out for my run. The physiologist (Al) working with me asked me why I did that and suggested that I warm down for 10 minutes to get rid of lactic acid ( a waste product in the muscles from exercising) by fast walking and then slow walking and rehydrating at the same time. Thanks to him I was no longer stiff the next day or the day after.


Doms stands for delayed onset of muscle soreness. It is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24-72 hours after exercise . It is thought to be caused by eccentric ( lengthening) exercise, which causes microtrauma to the muscle fibers. . After exercise the muscle adapts to prevent muscle damage. The soreness is a dull aching pain in the muscle often combined with tenderness and stiffness. The soreness usually peaks 24 -72 hours post exercise, thus it is known for the day after the day after that. The mechanism behind it is thought to be microtrauma to the muscle fibers. There is also thought to be a chemical reaction, which in turns causes inflammation and pain due to the accumulation of prostoglandins, histamines and potassium.

Soreness is not such a bad thing . Elite athletes suffer from DOMS most of the time. They decrease its effects with ice baths etc. DOMS can be reduced or prevented by gradually increasing the intensity of the new exercise programme. (Difficult for gardeners when the weather is nice and you want to get going). My advice is then to vary the activities so that you are using different muscle groups. Proper nutrition to manage electrolytes and glycogen before and after exertion can help to ease soreness. Start with a good breakfast…..

Muscle balancing / injury prevention

Sadly our lifestyle today offers sustained static posture hunched over a desk or in a car and repetition of the same tasks. This can lead to an imbalance of muscles, sometimes being much stronger on one side of the body than the other . Obviously hand dominance naturally leads to this. However if one group of muscles becomes over dominant they then have a tendency to exert different forces on joints. Today the medical professionals call this ‘muscle balancing’ so that the forces are equal and opposite. These opposing forces help to keep a joint stable and support it. When gardening this can also be brought about by varying the tasks eg mowing the lawn , potting up, weeding, raking. Pacing yourself. Remaining hydrated all key to help avoiding injury.


Normally we would not give this a second thought ! Its automatic . However due to lifestyle factors most of us have lost the ability to breathe effectively. Basically bad breathing involves using the upper chest and sometimes neck muscles and taking short shallow breaths through your mouth. Good breathing involves breathing in through your nose lightly so that the air travels deep into the base of the lungs and out through your mouth. Good breathing improves the circulatory system, strengthens the nervous system and helps to mobilise the ribs and thoracic spine thus enabling relaxation. A perfect end to a day in the garden.


With all the gadgetry of today we have lost the ability to just be, to daydream , to be in the moment. The garden is the perfect place for this. Switch off the phone, sit up straight and listen to the sounds within your own body: your breathing, your heartbeat. Do not nod off! Remain focused. Sit with intention and bring mindfulness to your breathing. Thoughts will bubble up to the surface, lists of things to do, frustrations, anxieties but this is all normal. Continue with it and in time you will learn to let the thoughts go and you will feel the mind and body slowing down as they enter a tranquil stillness. You are basically teaching your body to come out of its sympathetic nervous system drive of fight flight and going into the parasympathetic nervous system of rest and digest. The background maintenance of the body.

Pilates, Yoga , Feldenkrais are all perfect for this and can be done on the lawn in bare feet , thus heightening the nervous system sensory input. Concentrating on the moves and breathing releases mental pressure and calms the mind.


The best way to lose body fat is to detoxify your diet by eating as organically and locally as possible, preferably your own garden. Cut out the processed foods. Lose the toxins lose the fat.


Exercise is the single intervention with the best proof of its effect on mental health, including positive emotions, depression, anxiety, cognitive processing….Physical activity is a stellar method to promote well being. The thing with gardening is that it is a win win situation with actually achieving a goal at the end of it. What’s not to like…….


Share |

bh products

bh oils are designed for the clinic by aromatherapist Lady Lesley Addison using only natural ingredients
more >

Alt text here

How barn house can help you

Sports injuries and other conditions such as:
can be treated by physiotherapy...
more >

barn house books

Body control pilates manual
This is the complete colour, illustrated guide to total well being the Body Control Pilates way.
more >
Body control pilates manual

Pilates Pregnancy Guide
A unique programme packed with good advice on how to keep you healthy and toned throughout your pregnancy.
more >

Pilates Pregnancy Guide

Garden your way to health and fitness
Garden your way to health and fitness
Pilates principles are at the heart of the step by step sequences that illustrate the safe way to carry out everyday tasks in the garden
more >


barn house physiotherapy is a member of the following organisations:
Physio First
Physios in sport
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Health professions council
Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists
Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists