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Active Health+

14th April 2021 by David McIlroy Share

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We spoke to Claire of Active Health+ to find out how the services provided by their practice may be just what you’re looking for. 

Claire, what is Active Health+ and where is it based?

Active Health+ is an award-winning community based private practice that is focused on empowering people to remain pain free and live life to the fullest. Our mission has always been to help our clients to continue to do all the activities that they love; looking beyond a set of symptoms to consider that person’s life as a whole to help them achieve their specific goals; whether that be improving sporting performance or rehabilitation from injury.

We have two clinics in North Down; one located in the heart of Holywood and our newest clinic in Springhill Retail Park in Bangor. Both offer access to an expert multidisciplinary team of physiotherapy, podiatry, massage and Personal training. As well as Pilates classes both Mat and Reformer as well as 1-1 rehab sessions.

At Active Health+ we continuously strive to achieve excellence in the provision of health care for the public, helping them to activate their own health to live life to the fullest every day.

And how did it come about?

Active Health was founded in 2007 by David and Rachel Saligari after moving back to Northern Ireland from David’s home town of Perth in Western Australia. Rachel, a North Down local, had lived and studied in New Zealand and Australia before convincing David of the many benefits of living in Northern Ireland!

Their vision was always to create a Multidisciplinary Clinic that would help people get the most out of life, free from pain and injury. Their background working in large sports clinics and private practices in New Zealand and Australia brought with them a desire to create their own version here in North Down. They strongly believe that there is always something that can be done to help people improve their physical health which has the knock on affect of improving their mental health.

From those early days of a start up business, Active Health has grown to incorporate a team of passionate healthcare professionals across 2 clinics, who work together to get their clients back to full health and living the life they deserve.

Can you tell us a bit about the services you provide?

We offer a full range of health services and our expert professionals are training to deal with a variety of conditions. We ensure constant communication between services, so everyone is working towards the same goal.

Physiotherapy: Our Physiotherapists are specialists in hands-on treatment and bespoke rehabilitation aimed at helping you lead the active lifestyle you deserve. At present we offer both ‘in clinic’ and online video consults to continue to meet the demands of an ever-changing environment.

Physiotherapy aims to reduce symptoms and restore movement and function, therefore enhancing quality of life. At your first appointment, the physiotherapist will carry out a detailed clinical assessment and deliver an individually tailored treatment plan based on clinical findings.

Our physios specialise in spinal pain, sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation, postural issues and management of arthritic conditions.

Headache Clinic: David Saligari is a highly qualified Headache Specialist having trained internationally with some of the leading Headache Specialists around the world. He is currently the only Level 3 Watson Headache® Certified Practitioner in the UK and Ireland. His comprehensive approach have made him the go to Practitioner for consultant referrals and for patients who have struggled with headaches for years.

Podiatry: In podiatry we use an understanding of biomechanics and musculoskeletal medicine to treat pain and pathologies in the lower limb and foot. An abnormal stance and gait (walking pattern) can be the cause of recurrent postural problems which commonly include back, hip, knee, ankle and foot pain.

Many lower limb and foot problems are stress injuries; caused by unsuitable/inappropriate footwear and poor biomechanics when walking or running. These problems can be treated using a combination of orthoses, advice on appropriate footwear, changes in activity and occasionally steroid-injections.

All our podiatrists also offer routine chiropody for general foot care and health.

Massage therapy: Massage is the manipulation of soft tissue for the treatment and prevention of injuries and for therapeutic purposes such as muscle conditioning, stress relief and relaxation. The primary goal of this therapy is the restoration to normal activity of various muscles of the body, while maintaining good physical condition and health. Whether you are actively involved in sport or do little or no exercise massage can help maintain a healthy and active body, aid injury recovery and relieve tension from everyday life stresses.

Pilates: Pilates is a mind-body exercise system designed to strengthen the weak and challenge the strong. Our classes are all led by physiotherapists who have been trained in the STOTT PILATES Method ©, a contemporary approach designed by medical and fitness professionals that resulted in the inclusion of modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation, making it one of the safest and most effective methods available. STOTT PILATES exercises help both men and women develop optimal strength, flexibility, endurance and posture, without building bulk or stressing joints. The perfect complement to cardiovascular exercise, athletic training or rehabilitation, STOTT PILATES exercises help you tone your body, feel revitalized, and move with ease. We offer small group classes as well as 1:1 sessions.

Personal Training: Our approach at Active Health+ goes beyond 1:1 sessions, with every aspect of a client’s training and lifestyle considered. Using our I-Training system the constant guidance and feedback make these packages ideal for anyone who has a specific goal and is determined to get there.

Which physical conditions do your physiotherapists treat most often?

Physio is at the heart of Active Health+, our passion for and commitment to the highest levels of physiotherapy clinical practice shines through all that we do. Our physios are musculoskeletal specialists and are expert in dealing with a variety of conditions. Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy is a form of clinical science that aims to alleviate pain and movement dysfunction coming from neuromusculoskeletal sources. That’s a fancy term for bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, connective tissue and nerves.

On any one day our therapists can deal with a variety of the following; spinal pain, overuse injuries such as Achilles tendonitis or tennis elbow, sports injuries, post-operative conditions and management of arthritic conditions to name but a few. We also have physios highly experienced in dealing with problems arising due to hypermobility and pre and post-natal conditions.

Obviously during the course of this year there has been a dramatic shift in the number of people working from home. Subsequently we have seen an increase in neck and back problems that have arisen from poor ergonomic desk set ups at home. Treatment of these encompasses both manual treatment and exercise rehabilitation as well as the physio reviewing these sitting positions either via Zoom or photographs and advising on changes from simple things like the height of the screen to the type of chair.

Over the past few years we have built an excellent reputation for treatment of headache related conditions due to our co-owner David being one of a few specialist in the UK trained to deal with these. David works closely with local neurologist to provide headache relief and management to a variety of clients. If this sounds like you, visit our website to download our FREE headache information booklet.

And can anyone join one of your Pilates classes?

Absolutely! Our classes are open to everyone, we have lots of different ages and different fitness levels. Some people are doing the classes for general health and wellness, some for progressing injury rehab or preventing reoccurrence and some to boost athletic performance.

To ensure people get the most out of our classes we offer a free consult with one of our physiotherapists to review any relevant medical or injury history and to find out that persons goal for exercise. Not only does this ensure we avoid unnecessary injury risk but allows us to get to know our clients which helps form our Active Health community. Visit our website to sign up for a FREE mat class.

How was the pandemic impacted you?

Despite a short period of closure during the first lockdown, we reopened both clinics in June following all the government guidelines. Since then, the biggest impact on our business due to the pandemic has been the increase in the online services we offer.

Our physiotherapists are doing regular private video call appointments to assess a person’s condition, discuss a diagnosis and agree a treatment plan that may be a mixture of virtual or face to face depending on their needs. This has been extremely useful to minimise the risk surrounding Covid-19 whilst also providing a vital service to those who are shielding, isolating or simply prefer to stay home.

Prior to March 2020 we taught a full schedule of Pilates classes in clinic and back in March we quickly mobilised to virtual classes. We offered daily classes all through lockdown via Zoom and continue to do so to great effect. Not only have these provided regular exercise to ensure physical wellbeing but we have been able to maintain our community and support each other, creating a sense of normalcy in this difficult time. We currently offer Mat and Reformer Pilates via Zoom with 2021 new additions including Barre and a Beginners course of Mat Pilates.

Are you open all year round?

Active Health+ is open Monday- Friday every week. We offer a range of appointment and class time to ensure everyone can access our services as they need. We have full time reception staff that are available to help with all queries and bookings and offer online booking for both appointments and classes.

Do you have any big plans for the future?

Active Health plans to continue to grow our team to be able to help more people across Northern Ireland. The pandemic has in itself actually opened up more opportunities within our business with the introduction of online classes and consultations. These in turn increase people’s options as to how they access our services and we are excited about expanding this over the next year.

Finally, what’s your favourite thing about Active Health+?

Active Health+ is all about enjoying life, not just enduring it. Our favourite thing is helping our clients to not only achieve this but maintain it. In doing so, we have built up an incredible Active Health+ community where everyone supports and encourages each other from our oldest staff member to our newest client! We feel very lucky to be able to do what we do and are incredibly grateful for the trust and support we have had from our whole community this past year and we look forward to seeing what 2021 brings to Active Health+.


Find out more about Active Health+ here.

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