Diploma Sport Physiotherapist

In 1982, a post graduate education system was implemented within Sport Physiotherapy Canada to maintain a high standard of professional care. This Credential Program provides graduate physiotherapists with the skills to support athletes in the entire continuum of sport. From the casual recreationalist to an Olympic athlete, developing and refining certain skills allows sport physiotherapists to offer the best treatment, as well as fitness development to those they work with.
Since first becoming a physiotherapist, I have been working with many different sports teams logging hours, writing assignments, and taking both written and practical exams, working towards the goal of getting my Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy. Recently, I drove to Calgary to take my final exam in this lengthy process and have received word that all my hard work has paid off. I can use the title: “Sport Physiotherapist”
Of all the physiotherapists in the Okanagan, at this point in time, there are only two of us in Vernon, three in Kelowna, and one in Kamloops.
It feels good to have taken this path to completion, but learning never ends. Now, I will continue on with more manual therapy courses to refine my hands-on skills and continue offering the best to my clients.

Steve Witvoet
Diploma Sport Physiotherapist

2012: Good things to come!

I hope the holiday season was happy and relaxing for all of you and I wish you all the best for 2012.  As we get into our usual routines again for 2012, remember to listen to your body. It is constantly sending you information and telling you what it needs and wants.  If you find those nagging injuries are not disappearing after a short time, book an appointment with Thrive.  The sooner we see what is going on, the sooner we can change things in a positive way.  In this way, together we can “Strive to Thrive!”

I want to say “Thanks”  to all of you for booking appointments at Thrive Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic and therefore helping to make 2011 a great year for Thrive.  Although at first it felt overwhelming and intimidating to start a new business, I am happy with how it has all come together.  There are a few exciting opportunities coming up in 2012 for Thrive Physiotherapy and I will keep you up to date with things as the puzzle pieces fall into place.

The feedback I have received regarding the online booking system has been overwhelmingly positive.  Having the ability to choose and book your own appointment with an immediate confirmation at any time of the day is something many of you appreciate.  If you want to leave feedback on feel free to do so.  Send an email to thrivephysio@gmail.com with your thoughts on how I can make things better.  I appreciate honest feedback from all of you.   I know some of you had mentioned having trouble with the on-line “Client Intake Form” and you’ll be happy to know that I have made improvements to this form. Now it is an easy on-line fillable form that gets sent to Thrive when new clients click on “submit”.

Some of you have mentioned that you have either seen or heard ongoing advertising for Thrive Physiotherapy in the media, but the best way for Thrive to continue to grow is through word of mouth through all of you. You may have already received tokens of my appreciation for having referred friends and family.  Spread the word, and as long as your friends let me know that you sent them my way, I will do my best to continue with this practice.

If you are interested in emailing me a testimonial I could use on the website, it would be greatly appreciated. It is always good to keep the testimonials fresh and current.

Once again, I wish you all the best for 2012 and that it will be a fun, pain-free, enjoyable year for you and ones you love.


Steve Witvoet

BScPT, Certificate Sport Physiotherapist
Team Physiotherapist: National Para-Alpine Ski Team
Instructor, Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy

Thrive Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic

Switzerland with the Canadian para-alpine ski team

I’ve been in Saas Fe for almost two weeks now with the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team as they train for the upcoming world cup ski season. This is my second year working with the team. My role is to provide physiotherapy treatment in the afternoons/evenings for all the athletes as needed, provide first-aid and medical support while we are training on-hill, and to communicate (via radio) to the coaches and other staff before our athletes ski down the course to make sure the course is clear, the coach doing video is ready, and the timing system is ready.
Our day starts at 6am, with a quick breakfast at our hotel and then to the lift system beside the hotel. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the top of the mountain and onto the glacier (2 separate gondola rides and a 10 minute tram ride through the top part of the mountain). Training consists of 3 or 4 hours of technical skiing for the athletes. I stand at the top of the run for the whole session (there have been some very cold days up top) because I have to be able to snowboard down (I get a lot of good natured ribbing about being on a snowboard as opposed to ski’s) in case any of our athletes get injured or have other issues I can address. Every day there are wipe-outs, but fortunately there has been nothing too serious with our athletes yet. There are many international teams training here as it is a prime training ground for teams in preparation for the upcoming season. We’ve been training mainly with the Dutch Para-Alpine Ski Team, but there are many other teams here as well as 3 Canadian able-bodied teams.  When training is done on-hill, the whole team heads down the mountain to have lunch back at the hotel. After lunch I coordinate treatment times with our strength trainer as he begins dry-land training with the athletes (balance, core fitness, strength training, stretching, etc) and I start physio treatment on the athletes who need it.  The athletes then watch video taken during training that same day. At 6pm, we have a staff meeting (there are 9 of us: 4 coaches, 2 ski technicians, a strength coach, a sports psychologist, and myself) followed by a meeting with all the athletes (8 of them). Then it’s dinner time until 7:30pm and then some rest for us all until bedtime. This daily pattern has continued throughout the camp with a day off every 4 to 5 days or so depending on the weather. We’ve also managed to squeeze in a ping pong tournament, 2 games of ultimate frisbee, glow bowling and a few meals in the village nestled in the valley here. It has been fun, but I look forward to returning to my own bed, being with my family again, and treating in my own physiotherapy clinic in Vernon, BC!


I am often asked by my physiotherapy clients here in Vernon if they would benefit from participating in yoga.  I found this article written on this very subject by a colleague of mine living and working in Vancouver.  I’ve included it in this blog below.  Enjoy!


Yoga is everywhere! As physiotherapists, many of us are being asked by clients “Would yoga be good for me?” As a physiotherapist whom also practices and teaches yoga, I am now often asked by

physiotherapy colleagues “Is yoga safe?”

The entrance of yoga into mainstream culture in the west has come through the physical doorway. What we see now is a plethora of styles as more teachers have introduced their teachings to the west and, more recently, newly-opened teacher training colleges have begun churning out teachers, some with little more than a flexible body and a year or two of yoga practice to serve as their foundation from which to build their teaching career. Due to the short duration of these teacher trainings and lack of anatomy background of many of the instructors, new teachers often leave without even a basic understanding of anatomy or injuries. Considering this, it is with good reason that as physiotherapists we should be concerned with what is happening in the yoga world and what our clients are actually heading for when they enter into a new or revisited yoga practice.

Research is showing many health benefits to incorporating both yoga into daily living, including:
-stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system through slowing and lengthening the breath, thereby rebalancing the over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system from the hectic pace of our modern lives
– increased body awareness as well as facilitation of acceptance and respect for limitations following recovery from illness and injury
-teaching people how to move with freedom and begin to work back into ranges of movement that may have been previously harmful but now need to be regained in order to return to their lives without constant fear of re-injury

These benefits translate into a more healthy individual who is better able to respond to everyday stress; able to heal from injury and illness more efficiently; and less likely to suffer from illness in the future due to increased awareness of their healthy zone of stimulation and activity. Combined, these benefits act to make people less dependent on us as health-care professionals to “fix” them and more capable of helping themselves. They are able to return for treatment because they can sense when they really need the help and guidance, not because they depend on it to function.

For most people, it is best to begin their yoga practice with a gentle hatha yoga class with an educated teacher who is able to speak with them about their injury and offer appropriate variations. It is important for physiotherapists to be aware of studios which place the focus on the quality of the teachers and classes offered rather than the quantity. For example, in Vancouver the Studio at Treloar Physiotherapy focuses on small classes with teachers who have a background in kinesiology. As a therapist, I recommend trying a variety of classes and teachers yourself so that you have experience with the practice. Developing a relationship with a physiotherapist or other health care professional who practices and/or teaches yoga is also beneficial in order to ask them for input on appropriate referrals . I believe yoga has a real place for complimenting our work in assisting our clients to return to healthy, balanced, unrestricted lives following injury.

Katrina Sovio is a Vancouver-based physiotherapist and yoga teacher. She practices at both Main Street Physiotherapy and the Studio at Treloar Physiotherapy. Should you have any yoga-related questions, feel free to email her at ksovio@gmail.com.

Open House

The Official Open House for Vernon, BC’s newest physiotherapy clinic; Thrive Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic held on Wednesday, June 8th was a success. It was great to see the support offered by clients (new and former), friends and family, to this new adventure. A big thank-you to Gumtree Catering for supplying delicious treats. At the end of the day, we picked out the winners for the draw prizes. Draw prizes included a $50 gift certificate at the Garden Center beside Home Building Center in Vernon, a free massage, and a free physiotherapy treatment session. We look forward to hosting many more exciting events like this in the future.