What is it that we do? And how do you pronounce this long word? Well first of all, the long word can simply be shortened to “bio” which is much easier to say. Secondly, it can be broken down into exactly what we do: “bio-“ means life, anything to do with the body. “Kinetics” refers to movement, energy. This gives you “life through movement” which is also the slogan of our Biokinetics Association (www.biokinetics.org.za).
In essence a bio uses movement and exercise as medicine.
As a biokinetics student we have to learn physiology and anatomy so that we know what the body is made up of and how it works, then what can go wrong and finally we are taught how to fix it using exercise prescription. Each person who walks through the door is different even if they have the same condition and therefore each person will have unique needs and responses to the movements and exercises prescribed. An initial full depth assessment is necessary to establish these needs and give the me, the bio, a detailed picture of the state of the body: muscle tone, posture, pain levels, previous injuries and medical history.
This big picture is then broken down into phases of exercise adaptation over some weeks where the patient must learn better or new movement patterns, muscle control, correct muscle activation. Normally I prescribe a set of exercises to do at home which complements what is done in sessions with me. As various milestones and goals are met the exercises are made more complex and challenging until the maintenance or return to sport phase is achieved – the patient is no longer a patient and is fully recovered and can once again live life.
So in short, the body functions like a (kinetic) chain: if one link is weakened or not working the way it should all the other links will be affected in some way eventually. It is the bio’s job to identify this weakest link, find out why it’s not performing as it should and prescribe the correct exercises to fix this to what is was and preferably to make it even better.