Category Archives: Wales

Mel Collie | Should You be Doing Pilates For Your Core?

Mel Collie | Should You be Doing Pilates For Your Core?

In answer to my core question which was “Are you happy doing this kind of training, do you actually like it ?”(because if you are doing something you loathe, you probably won’t stick at it for long…) she replied…”Well, I know I really should be doing Pilates for my core, shouldn’t I ? ”

She is currently doing 3 sessions a week of 15 – 20 minute strength training.

That means moves like squats, lunges, shoulder bridges (this isn’t an exclusive Pilates exercise), push ups , running on the spot, rows, rotational moves, arm strength moves like bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep kick backs, lat raises.

Does all of that mean she is NOT using her core?

Doubt it..

Where is your core?

…is it just your belly?

Well, many of us do believe it is, but its way more than that!

It also includes(not exclusively…) your spine, your lower back and upper back, your shoulders, your neck, your pelvis, your upper legs, your inner thighs, your bum, your knees, and especially your foot positioning…

When the feedback from your feet to your brain gets messed up the resulting movement pattern will be unorganised.

However, Pilates is very much touted as the go to exercise for your core

For some people who adore pilates, it is just that, which is great…for them..

But please, lets stop the touting ( usually by Pilates instructors , and I am one of them!) that its the only way to train your core

It isn’t

Thats a lie

I’ve seen many Pilates people have no core at all and using neck muscles instead (that was me!)

You can do as many core exercises as you like, but still have – possibly – weak Psoas as you use obliques instead to compensate, weak Psoas as you use the neck to compensate, weak TVA( a major “core” muscle) as you use breath holding and/or neck muscles to compensate.

And there could be other compensations along the line, because you are unique! Your movement patterns are yours, not off the shelf.

What can you do? Get tested.

An NKT specialist will help you “find” your core, and use it effectively, to recognise compensations, how to release them and get these unorganised patterns organised, so you an be effective in whatever training you chose to do to work your core, Pilates, Yoga, Weights, Cross Fit, HiiT, Swimming, Surfing, Running, Rowing, Climbing, Boxing..the list goes on.


Mel Collie | Plantar Fascitis?

Look at it another way – when you have Plantar Fasciitis, you probably are rolling a ball under your foot, stretching it out, trying to get some relief, and thats what I used to tell people to do too…and thats ok, because it just might work for you.

Now though…look at it this way..Plantar Fasciitis is a you know why its like that, what the cause is?

Would you rather treat the cause and have it go away rather than just treat the symptom?


Your body has a line of connective tissue called Fascia, in this picture its in blue, its not like that in real life though 🙂

Plantar Fascia, Calves, Glutes
Plantar Fascia, Calves, Glutes

Your plantar fascia also connects to the calves and glutes! your body is so amazing!

So thats why I look to the calves and the glutes..

Heres what I did to a client who volunteered for me to have a look at their Plantar Fasciitis issue

I tested the strength of their calf muscles

Then I tested their gluteal muscle

Turns out the calf was tender in some areas, I released that, got the glutes functioning again to release the pain under the foot.

Of course they have home exercises to do everyday, and come back and see me to retest everything within 7 – 14 days, as I don’t want any of my clients wandering around with pain thats been unresolved

That makes me feel like I’ve not done my job properly

I don’t like that

I am hoping that you wouldn’t like me to be that unprofessional either!




Mel Collie | Change Your Posture in a Week?

Mel Collie | Change Your Posture in a Week?

Can you change your posture in a week?

Changes that last and that reduce pain and tight muscles?

Change that reduces tight hamstrings, weak glutes and tight shoulders?

Before you think ‘Ive lost it and 7 days isn’t long enough, then you are isn’t! However, I love to prove you wrong, but I’m not out to to impress you, Im just simply looking for a way that works, that constantly proves its assessments are thorough, and hat doesn’t leave me hunting or guessing.

So, to test my theory, to see if what I have learned was going to work, I needed to test it on real people. Is that illegal in some countries? Maybe!

Anyway, I posted in a local Facebook group(its great for somethings!) for someone who had SI Joint pain, and this lady stepped up. With pain in her SI joint (sacro-iliac), that was my focus in the first sessions.

She is dedicated and did her daily homework, which didn’t take more than 5 mins a day.

She came back in the second week as a follow up, so I could check her homework and she could give me an update.

Those follow up appointment are crucial, the body works in patterns, unravelling the main one can uncover others..and that showed in this second appointment.

A further posture check to see what, if anything, had changed

And rather than guessing at what needs stretching because its tight, I used NKT protocols.

As a pattern detective in training, I assessed her movement patterns.

That means checking how effective was her hip flexion, knee flexion, arm flexion.  What pattern does her brain have in its software to use these movements?

A chat about her history gave me a few clues, checking her posture assessment gave me more clues, and checking her organised and disorganised muscles gave me other clues.

I felt like a proper Poirot!

Assess, I don’t guess.

You are unique

Just because you have SI joint pain doesn’t mean the painful area needs stretching.

Just because you have tight neck doesn’t mean it needs stretching. You could be stretching a muscle thats exhausted , has been hanging on for so long its knackered and is telling you its had enough, its pissed off, it wants you to get those other muscles working pretty quick.

Which muscles to test though?

We looked at her right shoulder which was rolling inwards from a tight pec minor. When thats pulling forward then something in the back changes.

After testing a few muscles, her mid and upper Trapezius muscle turned out to be a little bit unorganised, as well as her Latissimus Dorsi.

The tests don’t take long, checking the work and being thorough means you do take time though to ensure that the pattern you have found holds.

Thats the fun of being a pattern detective..

Before  and After photos in just 7 days, yep, we’ve still got work to do on that hip. Homework in her second week is for glutes, psoas and trapezius. Why those? Because they all showed up as being disorganised by testing patterns.

Its that simple…:)

Change your posture in a week.
Change your posture in a week.
Using NKT to change posture by assessing patterns.
Using NKT to change posture by assessing patterns.posture, NKT, pa





Mel Collie | I Just Decided …

Mel Collie | I Just Decided ..

I have no bad feelings for being judged in the past for being too “into posture and anatomy” and why don’t I just stick to teaching Pilates.
Well, thats kind of been nagging at me for a while now.
I had second thoughts, maybe even third and 4th thoughts about doing yet another course. Another course on anatomy. I had to hit the book again. Re study muscles, antagonists and synergists.
At times I though I was going backwards instead of forwards. I questioned my decision, and thought those people were right, I should just teach exercises and stop trying to “fix” people in pain.
However, since I was 5 , or there about, I wanted to be a Nurse.
I remember I had a Ladybrird book about it. They were the BEST!
Then I went and put my left hand through a glass pane in the kitchen door whilst having a paddy about clearing up my comics before bedtime…the glass shredded open my little finger.
Mum ran me to the Dr’s up the road.
This was early 1970’s…Im not even sure we had a phone..
Mum was a good runner.
All I remember then was being in the hospital, they were sewing up my finger, I remember the blood and the pain and the smell of the hospital
I waved goodbye to wanting to be Florence Nightingale ( she was my heroine!)
Later on in my little life, I remember passing out in hospital after going to visit a friend after she had her appendicitis out.
I felt faint when I’ve visited family in hospital.
I had a phobia.
Hospitals and me were not going to get along
However, I’ve recognised this , accepted it, talked myself through it, and if I go to a hospital now, I accept that I have about a 30 minute allowance before my head feels like its about to cave in and my spine shatter in two.
Yep…nice reaction!
I’m better than I used to be!
Maybe thats one of the reasons why I’ve not wanted to have kids!
Anyway, maybe its also why Im finding other ways of fulfilling my desire to be a nurse, to help people out of pain and have a better quality of life.
To undo the tight joints and improve stability and mobility
Pilates does a lot of stuff, and has helped many people
I’ve also seen it not help(not many fitness people will tell you that..)
I’ve seen people trying so hard to do core exercises, they’ve over activated their necks, held their breathe and increase a dysfunctional muscle pattern they didn’t know they had.
This upsets me. I can sit back and do nothing, or, I can sit up and do something about that.
I’ve seen good teachers, I’ve seen awful ones, I’ve been taught by great teachers, I’ve also had awful ones.
Theres no real right or wrong, this is a tricky business, fitness and health, theres so many who will contradict you, whatever you say.
The fitness trend of wanting to be thin, fit and healthy, has its good points, and bad ones too.
Its making people feel guilty about eating a piece of cake, or fruit, guilty for having a coffee, guilty for not having enough water, feeling wrong and beating themselves up, falling off the wagon, then feeling guilty about that, they eat loads of sugar. Then feel guilty again.
Thats not healthy
Thats a mindset thing
It all starts with your mindset, but theres more money in diets than mindset, well, that, thankfully, is starting to change with a few of the better coaches I know in the industry.
But thats for a very long different post!
This ones about me wanting to be a nurse, and going about it a different way – becoming a Pilates instructor, doing lots of anatomy and brain health courses and ending up doing the very best course I have EVER done…NKT – Neurokinetic therapy.
The best support system.
The best training, face to face and videos
The best science behind it all
The best positive study groups – thanks to the very exuberant Simon Jones in Chester for all the advice, help, knowledge and jokes(!)Brilliant study group this morning!
The passion and truth behind it all shines through with Kathy Dooleys passion, she talk so fast!!.. but she’s got a lot to share with us, her passion is contagious, and her blog posts are inspirational! ( I stopped writing blog posts as detailed as hers a while ago, when I had negative feedback saying they were too technical and no one would get them..damn I’ve listened to the wrong people…my technical blogs are coming back, and you had better read them as I will ask you questions about them! )
My life has taken a different turn, again, I’m sure if I looked back it would be like a twisting and turning yellow brick road…
My steps towards becoming a therapist and having my therapy room set up have begun
Studying feels good
It doesn’t feel like work, I LOVE reading about fascia, patterns, muscles, synergists, antagonists, the brain, the limbic system…gimme more I say!
I sit up all hours of the day and night reading, practicing, watching the study videos, practicing more, reading more…
It truly is the missing link.
It matches well with the Pilates exercises I know
Its going to change how I teach…again..
Now I am venturing more into 1:1 sessions, so I can start each session with a quick pattern and muscle testing protocol to ensure core is switched on at the very least, and anything else we find can be dealt with in therapy sessions running alongside the private classes.
I’ve wanted to do this for a while I’ve wanted clients to get the very best from their investment of time and money with me.
Now I feel confident I have the right tools to do it
Thanks to the NKT guys, David Weinstock for creating it originally, and his book which totally confused me for 2 years, and all their handwork and passion.
So, now Im working on new stuff…
New website coming up!
New therapy sessions coming up!
New stuff coming up!
Happy 2016..and beyond !

Mel Collie |Back Pain & Your Cheating Core

Mel Collie |Back Pain & Your Cheating Core

Its not nice when you get back pain, it can really take over your life and be so debilitating.

Its also not nice to be told that the reason your back hurts could be that your core isn’t stabilising, its not switching on quick enough to be able to do its job.

You cheat

You compensate

You find other ways

The main way, I’ve found through doing some pattern testing on some willing volunteers,  is holding the breath

We then find that the back holds, but at the costs of compensating through the diaphragm and the hip flexor- Psoas – as it has fibres that connect to the diaphragm.Then these get tired, and complain.

Those complaints are felt as pain. So pain is a friend, sometimes, its knocking on your door, telling you to do something about your cheating core.

Is breathing important?

You betcha back pain it is!

Breathe well and you’ve got great core ability, great connection with your abs and Psoas.

I do a simple Psoas test, Transversus and Rectus Abs test, to see if its your breath holding is compensating for your lower back.

It’s one of my favourite pattern detective tests.

I’m now onto the hands and fingers…these I find complicated, interesting though, because as we spend more time on mobiles, laptops and computers, we spend more time with bent fingers, so the flexion muscles of the fingers become more hypertonic, and the extension muscles become sub optimal.

Testing each finger on an extension against a low pressure from my own hands, reveals which fingers are the weakest, on an extension pattern.

We may also see compensation in the breath , holding it to stabilise, also in the shoulder lifting , which creates tightness in the upper Trapezius and Scalene muscles, and if both scalene muscles are tight, this can be lead back to the core again, as a de stabilised core can lead to stabilisation in the neck, on both sides.

So, for all you texting bunnies out there, those finger tests are very revealing!

Texting is a repetitive movement, as is tapping your keyboard, that repetitive movement has to show up somewhere along the pattern of movement , and if you see the fascia picture of the arm lines, you can follow the line back to the upper skeletal frame.

Pain usually is the site of a tight , hypertonic muscle, doesn’t mean is weak, it can be strong, thats the beauty of the patterning tests, to see if the muscles are weak or strong, which ones are working and which ones aren’t, so when you do homework your doing the right home exercises that release the tight first, but strengthen the weaker ones second.

Trick is knowing which muscles are doing what, without assessing, you are , well, guessing I suppose.

Assessing can take a couple of hours, thats why your first appointment asks that you allow 120 minutes, to help take time to reveal the story your body is telling.

This photo is of the Arm Anatomy Trains . If you google Thomas Myers, Anatomy Trains, you will come up with a load of great stuff, his videos on fascia dissection are very interesting, just don’t watch them whilst eating your dinner….


Pattern Detective in Training!


Anatomy Trains - Arm Lines. Are you a texting bunny? Why do your hands hurt?
Anatomy Trains – Arm Lines. Are you a texting bunny? Why do your hands hurt?