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Q+A with of Debbie Robins - Bodysolve

Debbie Robins

This week I spoke to surfer and osteopath guru Debbie Robins. Debbie is one half of Bodysolve with her partner Nicki Llewellyn who started together in 2016 and has being going from strength to strength ever since.

Based down in Aberavon, Port Talbot but also practicing in Swansea, Bodysolve offer Osteopathy, Sports Therapy, Holistic therapies, Yoga classes and much more.

I was recommended to Debbie by a friend over a year ago and have been recieving treatment from Bodysolve for an ongoing lower back problem ever since. Bodysolve offer excellent customer service and make personalised treatment and recovery programs which have helped me out no end.

Bodysolve has grown quite substantially over the past few years and continues to do so, offering new services and classes all the time. This is a real testament to their following and popularity in South East Wales treating every one from your average joe all the way to elite athletes.

I've been interested in finding out more about how Bodysolve got started as well as the future plans for the company. Debbie and Nicki are both surfers and regulars in the local line up's around South Wales so I've been looking forward to getting some good advice on how we as board riders can look after ourselves a bit better and hopefully get the most out of our time in the sea / snow / street.

Hi Deb, many thank for speaking to me. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the history of Bodysolve please?

Hi Dan, thank you for inviting me on behalf of Body Solve.

So I originally studied in Bristol and qualified as a sports massage therapist in 2006. From there I did many courses – personal trainer up to level 4 including specialist population (Cardiac Rehab, Stroke Prevention, Back Care, Falls Prevention).

I also trained in many courses – VIPER training, circuits, kettlebell, TRX. I worked in many gyms throughout South Wales taking 121s, classes, fitness instructing and massage, whilst developing a self-employed business along the way. I then disappeared to France for 6 months to do a ski season (I couldn’t ski or snow board at the time – I can now!!), where I worked in a hotel and did massage treatments.

When I returned I decided I wanted something more so I embarked on four years in Swansea University studying to become an Osteopath. I graduated in 2016 with a First Class Honors. In my final weeks at university I met my partner Nicki who is also a massage therapist.

We tossed back and forth ideas of a joint business but decided mixing business and pleasure was a bad idea so didn’t think much further.

That lasted all of about 4 weeks and before we knew it, Body Solve was more than ideas and was fast becoming an actual venture in fruition. We found premises, designed a logo, website and business page and on August 1st, 2016 we had our first patients through the doors of Body Solve!

We initially started with one treatment room, then developed to three and took on another osteopath. As our patient list grew, so did our team and the size of the clinic... We took on the unit next door to Body Solve, knocked a connecting hole in the wall and built the five room clinic that we have now. We also have an outreach clinic in Swansea where we are two days a week.

In July 2018, one of the other units where Body Solve is became available and Nicki asked me to go and view it; he thought it’d make a great next venture! We were in the process of buying our first house so I told him we had plenty of adventure coming up!

True to form, on August 17th, we got the keys to our first house, AND also the keys to that other unit!! It was a busy few months of changing the unit from a run-down electrical store and store room to the beautiful yoga studio that we now have. But we opened our studio doors in December 2018 where the numbers have gradually risen each month. We now offer yoga and mindfulness classes and workshops and in the future look to expand on the type and range of classes we offer.

Nicki and Debbie - Bodysolve bosses / rippers.

Surfing and board sports in general are well known to be quite heavy duty on the body. You treat lots of people in the surfing community as well as being a surfer yourself. Is there any advice you can give surfers / board riders from both a professional perspective and as that of a surfer?

Yeah all board sports can be pretty intense on the body so it’s important to look after ourselves as best we can.

PREHAB - try to do as many things as possible to get yourselves board ready. Whether it’s surfing, skating or snowboarding all of these sports are highly demanding on the body, so the better conditioned your body is before partaking in the activity, the smaller the risk of injury (hopefully).

Try and make your prehab ‘sport specific’/. Board sports put a tonne of pressure through the whole body from the ankles, knees and hips through to the spine, shoulders and neck. With that it's very important to have a highly mobile and functional body. Ensuring great ankle mobility, strength through the lower limbs right through to the upper whilst also maintaining a trunk section that can rotate well but also have a rock solid core.

Overall these are sports that put huge amounts of stress on all areas of the body and so to accommodate them and to continue doing what we love until we're into our golden years we have to regularly practice some form of prevention measures.

Balance work is also vital so get on one leg, on an unstable surface (wobble board, indo board, balance disk etc) and practice some sport specific drills on an unstable surface. This will not only reduce your risk of injury, but will also heighten your skillset massively so when you’re learning new tricks, they should come easier to you (hurrah!).

WARM UP – one of the most overlooked aspects of board sports (often surfers, skaters and snowboarders are immediately out in the lineup, on the snow or ramps performing acrobatic manoeuvres without so much as an old fashioned 10 second stretch). Warming up before doing any of your activities will get your heart and lungs working efficiently and will warm and oxygenate the tissues. All of this will reduce injury and maximize the outcome of your session.

STRETCHING AND MOBILITY WORK – Try and do a cool down after every session to stretch out your muscles. This will prevent muscles getting tight, stiff and sore, so will mean you can go again sooner and for longer. Try and do at least two specific and structured mobility sessions a week to maintain health of your tissues and joints and to maximize the outcome of your training.

HAVE REGULAR TREATMENT – Treatment can be used as injury prevention as well as cure. If you have an injury, have it looked at by aprofessional as soon as possible. If the professional has an interest in your sport that often has an advantage as they will know the movements and pressures involved in your sport.

If you don’t have an injury it’s also advised to get regular treatment.. kind of an MOT for your body. We expect so much of our bodies, yet do very little to look after and maintain our bodies. If you have regular treatment, your body will be very grateful and will repay the favour for you. Skilled professionals will be able to identify dysfunctional tissues and movement patterns and will be equipped to help correct these and hopefully prevent an injury occuring.

DO YOUR REHAB – If your therapist gives you rehab to do, they do it for a reason.. I’d strongly advise doing it!! Lol.

From a surfers point of view.. surfing is blummin tough!! Especially with some winter swell coming in. Take care of your body! Every muscle, bone and joint is involved and surfing can be mega heavy on your body; so take care of it!

Team Bodysolve.

Team building done the right way!

Body Solve has both it’s team and services in this past year. What services do you offer all together now and in which locations?

Yes, it’s been a pretty busy year!! We have a team of seven therapists – four osteopaths, two sports therapists and a sports massage therapist. We also have seven teachers working from our yoga studio.

Our main base is in Aberavon where we have our clinic and our Yoga studio. We are open 7 days a week offering Osteopathy, Sports Massage, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.

We also have the yoga studio where we offer a range of Yoga classes and mindfulness. The classes are on every day at varying times. We hold yoga and mindfulness workshops in the studio as well.

In addition to this we also have an outreach clinic in Swansea where we offer osteopathy, sports therapy, sports massage and rehabilitation on a Tuesday and Thursday.

The Bodysolve Yoga Studio

What are your future plans for Bodysolve moving forward?

Moving forward with Body Solve, our main plan is to continue to provide the highest quality treatments to as many people as possible. We want to add to our team of therapists to make Body Solve an even more diverse clinic to cater for all patients needs. We want to add to our studio timetable. Eventually we’d like classes running all day and evening which include things like pilates, rehabilitation classes, injury specific classes and more talks and seminars. (If anyone has any requests/suggestions for classes, we are always open). We’d also like to increase our availability in Swansea, so watch this space…

Deb, thanks for everything. You and your amazing team have sorted me out a few times now and I can praise the quality of your service enough. Thanks for speaking to me.

If you would like to book a treatment or get some professional advice use the links below to reach out to Bodysolve, you won't regret it!

Bodysolve Website

Bodysolve on Instagram

Bodysolve on Facebook

The Freesoul Project 2019 - Made in Wales