Winston Churchill Fellowship: Dysfunctional Breathing

Profileby Carolyn Bell (@bellcarolyn13)

Physiotherapy Lead for Monklands, NHS Lanarkshire

Monday 15th February 2016
I have been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship which has allowed me to travel to New Zealand to link with the world experts in Dysfunctional breathing.
Today is the first day of this learning experience!

Today I met Tania Clifton Smith.
Tania has worked in a variety of clinical settings including working with the stressed rich and famous and victims of torture. She also works with the NZ academy of sport which helps aspiring world champions.

Reading Tania’s work, and the work of Dinah Bradley led to me to apply for this scholarship. Throughout Tania has been a huge help introducing me to other practitioners and facilitating contacts throughout New Zealand.

It was extremely exciting to be able to discuss the treatment of this patient group with Tania. I am also very reassured to know, that whilst there are many areas that I can improve on……particularly looking at the individual with an MSK slant…….. that my assessment and treatment techniques are definitely along the right lines!

I was always concerned that working alone with this client group may have lead me to stray from the recognised treatment path however it appears that Physiotherapy clinical reasoning and accessing the appropriate literature has ensured that I have progressed along the correct lines.

I have always been very passionate about treating this client group and today meeting one of the worlds experts has only heightened that interest! I have already been given a few simple nuggets of information which will change the assessment process for the benefit of patients.

It is clear from Tania’s extensive experience that she approaches the patient holistically, making no division between respiratory, MSK, or psychological issues. All assessments and treatments are based on the individuals needs, be they a top class athlete or an anxious teenager. I can’t wait to delve further into this fascinating area!

Tuesday 16th February
I spent today at the leading Breathing Works clinic in Remuera. What a privilege to be able shadow Scott Pierce and observe his use of some pioneering new techniques in the treatment of dysfunctional breathing. Also able to stretch my clinical reasoning skills ….not quite to breaking point….. , but definitely thinking of things in a totally different manner. Its good to be able also consider the treatment of differing conditions ,such as abdominal pain and how this may connect to back pain respiratory systems and pelvic floor issues. Truly considering the Musculo skeletal systems as a whole.

I spent last evening talking to like-minded Physiotherapists discussing Dysfunctional breathing and the treatment of the patient with bronchiectasis. These Physios tend to work within Private Physiotherapy clinics. They are not specialists in respiratory Physiotherapy but deal with these patients within an msk caseload. Always interesting to be able to consider alternative methods of service delivery.

Wednesday 17th February
Meeting today at Auckland university. One of two universities in New Zealand training Physiotherapists.

My first meeting started before we even made it to the meeting room. What is it about Physios that we so often share the same passions? Discussions started with Dysfunctional breathing and evolved to include cardiac rehabilitation provision, treatment of heart failure, obesity, bronchiectasis, smoking cessation and so much more! It is becoming very evident that issues regarding service provision are international!

The merit of taking time out to consider the issues that face us every day should not be underestimated. Discussions over a cup of coffee generated many ideas and began international collaboration!

I was also introduced to the concept of using ultrasound to aid Physiotherapy. A fascinating area that definitely deserves further consideration. Respiratory Physiotherapy could actually become a little techy!

Student education was next on the agenda and yes the issues we experience in trying to secure appropriate clinical placements are common. The setting up of a respiratory clinic run by Physio students and one clinician is one alternative solution.

The weather today also is reflecting activity in Scotland. Raining and blowing a hoolie!

Thursday 18th February
Continuing to shadow Scott today. Very impressed with the use of ultrasound in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with dysfunctional breathing. Some fantastic results observed. Its days like this that make you proud to be doing the job we do. We can ….. and do change peoples lives!


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