Do you need regular treatments from your therapist?

This is a question that people, both clients, and non clients ask. Indeed, I would find it hard to imagine that any therapist, whatever their discipline, or modality has never been asked this. Furthermore, any client or prospective client, or to quote Lord Bowen, “the man on the Clapham omnibus”1 would surely have asked themselves this if not their therapist.

It is also important to define what is meant by regular in the question posed. Could it mean future treatments and if so how often? Well each therapy will have its own guidelines, and the purpose of this is not to question those guidelines. Personally I mean those times when we as therapists are challenged as to why after the treatment has resolved the issue they came with, why they need to come again in say six months time for a follow up treatment.

Of course, clients can never be expected to understand how our therapies work, after all if they did, they would be therapists themselves. However, the belief that “I am fixed now, I can go and resume the lifestyle that caused the issue in the first place” is one that causes concern. It is something that clinicians have experienced for years as advances make medical treatments more effective, the lack of taking care of the body becomes more prevalent. Yes education helps, but simply go to your nearest hospital and watch the number of patients of the hospital outside the entrances smoking.

Those of us who use cars, bikes, trains, planes or buses understand the need to have regular maintenance on those. Complicated as these machines are, we have a detailed understanding of exactly how they work, the component parts, spare parts, and the ability to repair or replace any element of them. There are also wonderful systems to identify what is not working or nearly not working on them to ensure that they do not fail. With this knowledge we maintain them, and make sure they are safe, reliable, and work as designed.

The human body has been around for much longer than any of these machines, and has constantly evolved throughout evolution. Each day a new breakthrough is made medically, or in understanding the body, the cells, or DNA or something, and yet there remains so much that is not understood or repairable in the body, such as cancer, or the common cold, or in the mind, such as mental health issues. Unlike every car model made by the same manufacturer where every component is the same and in the same place with the same function, this is not the case for the human form.

There is much we do not understand about the body, about why it goes wrong from time to time, but you can reduce the instances of things going wrong in musculoskeletal matters, by regular maintenance, from your therapist. So that is why it is recommended to have regular treatments to prevent re-injury and ensure that we can be in the best condition we can be.

As someone once said to me “You wouldn’t expect your car to run for 60 years without needing maintenance.”