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Spotlight on Allesio Barone

Hi Alessio, it’s lovely to welcome you to the team at The Wellbeing Centre. Thanks for agreeing to this short ‘interview’ to introduce you to our blog readers. Let’s get started shall we?

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a Physiotherapist and Pilates teacher and I help people with a long history of pain, to find a new definitive resolution, to enable them to go back to enjoy a new healthy, active and social life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t and I cannot treat any acute or sub-acute condition, like a sport injury, because I do, but in general I like new challenges, trying to sort issues where others gave up or chose to just increase the dose of painkillers.

I do love my job because I love seeing people smiling after being relieved of their pain, sending them back home with a positive attitude and hope, which is nice to see in the following sessions.

I have a long “boring” past made of 13 years at University, several interests, jobs, travels and sports with some great constant: dozens of books, resiliency and a deep passion for learning and practicing. Considering all injuries and aches I got, I tried on me several types of techniques I do, and decided to study further those I really found useful. 

When I’m not working or studying, I have my weekly regular classes of Aikido, Japanese sword, Zen philosophy and meditation, Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Cuban Salsa. My favourite escapes are made of muddy hills on a mountain bike, long waves to surf, white snow to ride and nature photo-shooting.

If you see me climbing on a furniture or hanging from the stairs or trying a yoga pose in the car park…don’t worry…my friend call me “stretching man” because I always make the most of the time I’ve got by working on and improving my posture.

What was your first experience of complementary therapy?

When I was a child my mum regularly brought me with her to her yoga classes. I still hold in me the peace of this atmosphere made of a warm lights, exotic smells, rhythmic sounds, while people were holding poses, chanting or practicing some pranayama.

When I was 22, at the end of my first degree in Physical education, I had 3 whiplashes in 1 year: 2 in a car and 1 snowboarding. My neck was really bad, stiff, painful, clicking. I developed a chronic pain and I began grinding my teeth.

My family doctor said “there is nothing you can do…you will get some Osteoarthritis (OA) when ageing…just take some painkiller”. I never accepted this sentence and I never gave up finding a new solution.

The following year, at the beginning of my Sport Science degree, I met one of my best friends from the School of Cranial Osteopathy and despite being a bit sceptical about this new technique, I tried some manipulation and cranio-sacral therapy, and quickly saw the benefits.

Since then I embarked in a new journey of complementary medicine, first as a patient, then later on as a therapist.

What made you decide to become a therapist yourself?

As a child my dream was to study, heal and save the cetaceans, but  family business (my father and one of his brothers ran 2 gyms in my town) dragged me into completing my first degrees in Physical Education and Sport Science; and fitness, coaching, personal training became my world.In that period I was looking for sport performance improvements in me as well as in my customers.

Then I started doing some volunteering work with disabled and autistics, while already being a PE teacher and gym instructor. I learned how challenging the daily life of people with Physical impairments and cognitive delays was, and how important it is to help them develop different abilities, achieving new goals, to give them and their family hope for a better lifestyle.

For a year I also had a part time job as PE for older people with dementia and Alzheimer in a private home care centre: both experiences pushed me towards my third University chapter doing a Master in Adaptive Sport Science for disabled and different pathologies.

 At the end of it I realised how much I enjoyed learning to heal people with my hands, not just prescribing exercises. Since I became a physiotherapist in 2010, I have not stopped doing post-graduation specialisations and will probably never stop. 

What are your top 3 tips for wellbeing?

  1. Explore your body and mind and use your own talents to face your fears.
  2. Listen to your body, and get in touch with it when exercising: your body knows what’s best for you, whether it is resting, eating, stretching, etc. As modern human beings, we are losing the contact with our body and understanding less our personal body “talks”. The classic example is of abusing painkillers: they switch off the pain, which is a communication from the body about something damaged or not properly working. I found unbelievable the benefits of doing yoga and meditation: it is such a very easy way to reduce the stress, the pain, tensions and also worries. It’s a daily meeting with my Self and my soul and I learned to do it anytime, everywhere, whenever I need it. I believe from what I experienced and learned that everything happens for a reason and any pain or illness is a communication from your inner Self to lead you back on track with your life mission. My wish is that everybody could experience the peace and the good energy coming from good meditation and the daily meeting with our inner Self. 
  3. Eat and drink alkaline: animal food, fat accumulation, stress, sedentary lifestyle or regular physical activity, without enough rest, abusing alcohol, coffee or tea, tobacco, medication, a low intake of water, a sleep impaired, etc. produce an increase of blood and tissues acidity. The ageing process is nothing else that a loss of body hydration and an increased body fat and body acidity. Those metabolic changes open the door to many pathologies, from muscle rupture to tendonitis, from the OA and a postural degeneration to cancer, etc. This process lasts decades but, the only way to reverse it or prevent it, is to try our best to keep the body alkaline and hydrated. I believe that the raw vegan diet is the best but not easy for everyone so we should at least try to reduce animal food, excess of alcohol, medication, coffee, etc., increasing nuts, fruits and vegetables, having a good active life and a regular proper sleep. The use of a good filter for the tap water making it alkaline, is another great option.

Who has been the biggest inspiration for you in your wellbeing journey?

I can say I had three big moments of inspiration in my life, definitely changing my career.

When I was at the end of my physiotherapy degree, I went for a classic training, really common in Italy, about a really gentle technique for the connective tissue and joints. It’s called Fascial Pompage, created in USA by the Osteopath Dr Cathie and brought in Europe by the French Osteopath Dr Marcel Bienfait.

The teacher at that training was M. G. Brutti, one of the first Italian physiotherapists in the 70s, having probably one of the most impressive CVs I have ever seen and an amazing knowledge, considering she has been the student of the most important techniques founders in all Europe, including Bienfait.

I asked her some advice about the best techniques and schools to improve my hands-on skills with a really modern approach.

She gave me a gift: the Italian edition of Miofascial Induction Therapy® (MIT®) Manual, written by the creator of this method A. Pilat, founder of the Tupimek School in Madrid. She said: “if you really want to see your patients from a different point of view, thinking out of the box and treating them with the most innovative technique in Europe…this is the right course for you!!!”.

One year later I met Andrzej Pilat and it was a complete revolution of my approach, reaching high standards of therapeutic success, resolving over the 95% of my case study. I completed my third MIT® level in Madrid a few months ago and I’m not going to stop, going for the fourth level next year.

In 2014 I met John Cross, one of the most important physiotherapists in UK, a pioneer since the early sixties in many complementary techniques (acupuncture, acupressure, homoeopathy, reflexology, chakra energy healing, polarity therapy, bio-magnetics, iridology, massage, manipulative therapy, reiki, naturopathy, radionics and craniosacral therapy).

He was the first to study in depth the connections between the Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicines. I had with him my first training in acupressure and chakra healing and I became a member of ACPEM (Association of Chartered Physiotherapist in Energy Medicine). I literally devoured all his books.

In 2015 I went to the national ACPEM conference and I met Georgie Oldfield, the founder of SIRPA UK and collaborator of Dr Sarno in USA, an expert about body-mind disorders. This was my third incredible step in my career as a therapist. She introduced me to the world of pain management, making me understand how almost all chronic pains are related to emotional blockages or traumatic experiences.

What issues have you had most success in helping your clients with?

  • Chronic pain
  • Sport, work, domestic injuries
  • Neck pain, whiplash, migraines/headaches, jaws pain/clicks
  • Back pain (upper/middle/lower back, sacroiliac, coccygeal)
  • Shoulders (impingement, frozen, instability, post-surgery)
  • Hips and Knees (OA, replacements, hip impingement, bursitis, tendonitis, injuries, etc.)
  • Visceral pain (period pain, irregular periods, infertility, kidney/gallbladder stones, gastric reflux and hiatal hernia, IBS, constipation, repetitive urinary/intestinal infections, colitis, etc.)
  • Poor posture (scoliosis, hyper kyphosis/lordosis, apparent legs discrepancy, cervical inversions, psycho-somatic posture, etc.)
  • Joints, muscles, tendons pain (OA, carpal/tarsal tunnel, tennis/golf elbow, ankle sprains, Morton’s neuroma, tear muscles, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, etc.)
  • Pre/post-surgery
  • Vestibular diseases and balance problems
  • Psycho-emotional traumas

Can you share an example of a case study with amazing results?

I have so many: it’s hard to make a selection…but I would like to share 3 short stories: my oldest patient, my youngest patient, and my most recent successful story.

1) Lucia, 94 years old:

One day her daughter (one of my Pilates student) called me to ask some help because since a few weeks her mum refused to walk, eating less and being stuck in bed.

I met Lucia in July at her house for the first assessment. I found a lot of OA in her joint and many myofascial restrictions in her legs and back.

We decided with her family to have a try. It was a long and challenging pathway made of a lot of patience and a huge goal: bring her back to walk.

We had 2-3 sessions per week and we created a strong relationship: she became like a new grandmother to me.

After a few weeks she drastically reduced the use of painkillers. The following Xmas, Lucy surprised her family and overall her niece, walking again using a specific walker.

Since then she went back on track, regularly walking indoor a few times per day, always under the supervision of a family member.

2) Lilly, 11 years old:

She came with her mum, referring about a strong and very variable pain across all her back since over 6 months, making her stop running and horse riding, her favourite sport.

After 4 sessions, including many myofascial techniques and balancing all her chakras and meridians, all the back tissues were softer but the pain, despite being minor, was still there, enough to make her life difficult. I understood that something emotional was going on.

I asked her mum to have a private conversation with me: I asked her if her daughter had any big change or emotional trauma in her life, that happened at the same time or just before the pain started. She told me she got her first period, just a few weeks before the first episode of pain but she never made any connection with that.

They had a long chat mother-daughter: Lilly was afraid of her physical changes and to become a woman but her mum reassured her.

At the following session, the pain was drastically dropping down. She came for the 6th treatment without any pain and a big smile, deciding that it was the last session.

After a few weeks I received a Xmas greetings card on my desk: she hand made it and self-printed it to give me a big “Thank you” and told me how happy she was to be back running and, overall, regularly horse riding, completely pain free.

3) Rose, 36 years old

She started to get some coccyx pain when sitting, during her first pregnancy, 3 years ago. The pain never disappeared despite trying different techniques with a couple of physiotherapists.

She came to me because the pain was getting worse and more present, since the beginning of the second pregnancy, being already in the 7th month. We had 4 sessions with some very slight improvement and she was a bit disheartened.

I was confident because her energetic parameters were changing session after session despite the pain being almost the same. Before to leave the 4th treatment, I told her to have another couple of session any 2-3 weeks before the delivery and that I was sure she was improving: I asked her to be more confident and patient.

Less than an hour after leaving this 4th treatment she called the reception being completely euphoric and grateful saying she was without any pain when sitting for the first time in 3 years.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Using the example of taking a picture of a person using a camera…we cannot have a good picture if zooming just on one point of his body, we need to play with the zoom and the focus or moving around to centre the subject.

We have to try changing the time of exposition or variating the opening in the shutter. Sometimes even that is not enough: the picture is clear and apparently perfect but the only way to see new, different aspects and details, is to apply different filters. The right picture will be one that is stunning always despite changing the parameters.

The same when trying to heal a patient with a specific condition: I would take the wrong picture if just zooming on the area in pain. I need to move around and apply all filters I have in my bag, coming from different methods, techniques, including the most advanced research from the western medicine as well as the traditional ancient eastern medicine.

I always smile when my patients call me “magic hands”. They would get mad trying to understand how it’s possible that they immediately feel better while I’m just using a very light touch, often static, that seems like I’m not doing anything.

Some people say they can feel some kind of energy flow during the therapy or that “your hands don’t lie…when you’re giving the treatment I can feel the changes inside…if you give just the touch but I keep you busy talking, distracting you…then the feeling is different ”.

We are energy!!! Everything is vibrating, from the atoms to the universe…producing energy, electric or magnetic fields, moving, continuously interacting….

The Energy Medicine is almost unknown or usually considered alternative while many studies reveal its scientific base (“Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis” (2000) James Oschmann. Churchill Livingstone) and is already officially recognised by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy since 1998.

I just use a holistic approach along with all my knowledge to “read” my customers under the “spotlight of different filters” to create a tailored treatment, usually based on a light relaxing touch, giving a totally pain free experience.

I always start using a standard assessment including orthopaedic or neurological tests then adding as many “reading filters” as I need to frame the problem, which is often hiding some inner primary causes, potentially related to previous injuries, diseases and emotional issues.  

I called my style HITO Physiotherapy, from the Japanese word Hito meaning “person”, considering that my approach look at the person and his vastness beyond the body and not just at the actual illness and difficulty.

My best clients are those who really want to get rid of their problems or conditions, trying their best to understand the real hidden reasons of their pain, being open-minded to start a new journey of changing into them-selves as well into their lives.

What’s the best way to contact you for more information and to book a treatment with you?

I have an online calendar available for people to select a suitable appointment time with me. I work at The Wellbeing Centre in Newbury Wednesday afternoons and on Saturdays and Sundays. You can view my online calendar for physiotherapy appointments here >>

The pilates classes are held Wednesday evenings 8-9pm also at The Wellbeing Centre and you can book yourself a place for these here >>

Alternatively you can have help booking via the Reception Team here at The Wellbeing Centre on 01635 552874. The Reception is available to help with telephone and drop-in enquiries weekdays 9:30am – 5:30pm and on Saturday mornings.

If you want to talk to me directly first, you can reach me on my mobile 07413 851407 (I may be busy with clients so please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible) or email me at info@hito-physio.com.

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Claire Bushell - 11 October 2017

It has been lovely finding out more about you and the way you work, Alessio. I love the way you use photography to explain what you do and I’m fascinated by your interest in photographing nature. Hopefully you’ll share some of these photos with us sometime?

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