Physiotherapy and Cooking #physiotalk 13th July 8pm

Are physiotherapists in a prime position to promote the vast benefits of cooking?

That is the question our guest host Ben Rowles is asking ahead of our #physiotalk tweetchat on Monday 13th July at 8pm BST

Physio.Kitchen is about encouraging people to cook. From a physiotherapy perspective, cooking has a wide range of benefits similar to those that we promote to our patients on a daily basis, yet we may not have considered the link between the two.

A physio assessment includes taking history about a persons social circumstances, local environment, physical symptoms, psychological difficulties (etc), then as treatment we determine which area needs some support, and we can support them with education, exercise, and referring on to appropriate services. Cooking, in addition to the food’s nutritional value and physical benefits, encompass all of these factors also, and more.

Cook 1

Cooking can be for a social event, bringing people and communities together; food can play a huge part in sustaining communities and the economy, and we can look after our local and global environment by sourcing food from local suppliers; cooking with a wide range of foods can provide physical and psychological benefits, and even the simple act of cooking could help to boost some peoples mood.

The Mediterranean Diet, which is highly promoted within the NHS and Public Health England, is known as more of a lifestyle that also includes a good amount of weekly physical activity, something which physiotherapists are also in a great position to promote. There is this notion that food is all about it’s nutritional value, alongside a global issue that ‘weight loss = better health’. This is sometimes exploited by the food industry, and forces people to believe that

1. they need to lose weight,

2. adhering to a diet or lifestyle fad is the way to go about doing that, and

3. this will improve their overall health and well-being.

Yet as physiotherapists we know that health and well-being is far more complicated than simply extracting a single ingredient from a person’s diet with the goal to lose weight.

Cook 2

Physiotherapists who love to cook are in a great position to promote cooking for it’s wider social benefits that are already at the core of most physiotherapy practice. This is not to be confused with nutrition, which is provided by a qualified nutritionist or dietitian. However, they can work side by side, because: what’s the use of understanding which nutrients are good to eat, if we’re unsure how to use these foods to produce healthy meals, and live an active lifestyle?

Chat questions

Q1: Do you think that physiotherapy is in a well placed position to promote health and well-being?

Q2: Do you think that physiotherapy is in a well placed position to promote cooking for it’s wide range of health benefits?

Q3: What do you think we could learn from The Mediterranean Diet, from a physiotherapy and cooking perspective?

Q4: Do you consider the Social Determinants of Health during your physiotherapy consultations ?

Q5: What techniques do you use in practice to facilitate exercise adherence and/or lifestyle changes? And have you found these techniques useful?

Q6: What is your view on diet plans for weight loss goals in the healthy population?



Missed the chat? You can catch up with our transcript here


BHF video about The Mediterranean Diet

Social Determinants of Health

Survey for UK cooking (2017)

Further reading

Michael Pollan: In Defence of Food

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating

Elissa Epel & Elizabeth Blackburn: The Telomere Effect

Our chat host

My name’s Ben Rowles, I’m 28 and currently working as a band 6 NHS physiotherapist. I have experience working in cardiac, pulmonary, and cancer rehab, various ward-based services, and MSK services including my own project: The Skateboard Physiotherapist 

In addition, I am passionate about health promotion, in particular the promotion of physical activity and cooking. I received an award from Sheffield Hallam University for best final year research project 2018, about walking to prevent cardiovascular disease in the general population, and the runner up prize at the Sheffield Hallam Enterprise awards 2019

Cook 3

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