• Gino Alho

BIOKINETICS: We are Medicine in Motion

Updated: Jun 10


Biokineticists are trained in the science of human movement. As a result we use exercise as preventative health care, maintenance of physical abilities and final stage rehabilitation. Physical abilities include muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance. Additionally we are also trained in the art of carrying out various medical evaluations. In conclusion evaluations allow us to get a clearer picture of your current condition and response to exercise.

What is the difference between a Biokineticist and Physiotherapist?

There is great confusion among the public on what the scope of our profession is. Therefore people often confuse us with physiotherapists and even personal trainers. Biokineticists are more related to the field of physiotherapy and often form part of a medical team (i.e. doctor, surgeons). We work together in improving your health, fitness and lifestyle.

In Biokinetics we do not deal with injuries in the beginning stages. A certain amount of pain and swelling are common characteristics in the first stage of an injury. So it is the scope of a physiotherapist who will use techniques to reduce your pain and swelling. Therefore Physiotherapists are important in the first stages of treatment before sending you to a Biokineticist.

In Biokinetics we do not use manual treatments but rather use exercise treatments as our medical care. Most importantly Biokineticists are key to final stage treatment. We will help find the main cause of your issue. We provide you with a exercise programme and guidance so that you can get back to the things you love. This is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle by decreasing your risk of disease and even injury.

Exercise is like Medicine. Think of it as the long -sought-after medication needed to extend your life and prevent diseases. Could you think of such a pill that could have even a small amount of the positive healthy benefits? As a result this medication would be the most widely given medicine in the world. It would be seen as illegal if it was not a standard part of treatments.

How can we help you?

Visit our website to see what Biokinetics services we can offer you

Our areas of interest

1. Orthopaedic rehabilitation

Orthopaedics deals with injuries or conditions of your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Before beginning your treatment we will take you through a complete orthopaedic evaluation. This will generally include taking your injury or condition history, a postural analysis, special test to assess your specific issue (i.e. muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves), flexibility testing, functional movement assessment (i.e. video assessment of your squat, lunge, push up). Finally, our practice is able do muscle strength testing with the use of a specialized device (i.e. BioFET).

We use all these tests to get a clear picture of your current complaint. It allows us to get to the main cause and provide a programme that meets your needs.

2. Chronic Conditions / Disease Exercise Management

Biokineticists understand a number of special conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart diseases and cancers to name a few. We are trained in using exercise as medicine to help manage your condition and improve your health. We want to get you safely back to all the things you enjoy and love to do.

Your condition needs specific and safer health care and that’s where we can help. Before starting your exercise programme, an evaluation will be done to better understand your condition. In addition we also find out how your body responds to exercise to increase your safety.

To better understand how your body responds to exercise, we will keep an eye on several things while you exercise. We monitor your your blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, rating of perceived exertion. This helps us choose the correct exercise needs for your unique condition. This is key to see that your body responds well to exercise before taking part in an exercise programme. That’s exactly where we can help you take part in exercise in a safer way.

3. Special population Exercise Treatment

This includes the elderly (i.e. 65 years or older), pregnant ladies, amputees or those with spinal cord or brain injuries. Each person has unique exercise needs or considerations. This is where we as Biokineticists are able to assist.

The evaluation is key to better understanding your current state of health. This is followed up with exercises programmes that are specific to your unique needs and goals. The evaluation is changed according to you. As a result we have a great understanding of each person's needs and the considerations when using exercise treatment. It important to ensure safer gains in your health and fitness.

4. Pre- and Post-Operative Rehabilitation

Before going through with an operation for a specific condition or injury. Exercise before the operation can be very important. Firstly it improves your bodies natural response to the trauma of the surgery. Secondly it can improves your recovery after surgery.

Treatment before operations reduces your recovery time so that you can return sooner than most. After surgery, immediate treatment is key to your recovery. First a physiotherapist will work with you in the first few weeks (acute stage) after the surgery. And As a result you should have reduced pain, swelling and improved function. After this you should be sent to a Biokineticist to carry on with your treatment needs.

After an operation exercise treatment is key getting you back to your normal functioning or improving it. Improving your strength levels, flexibility, balance and fitness will allow you to achieve this. Therefore Biokinetics is an important part to your recovery success. We can help identify potential issues to your recovery and adapt accordingly to give you the best possible treatment.

In patients who take part competitively or socially in sport, Biokineticists can also help you. Firstly we will make sure that you meet specific physical and psychological criteria. Secondly we ensure safer return to sport with a reduced risk of re-injury.

5. Medical Aid Scheme Health & Wellness Assessments

Certain medical aid plans offer you yearly wellness assessments (i.e. Discovery Vitality). Medical aids have brought qualified Biokineticists on board to be the provider of these wellness services.

The wellness assessment is specific to each plan but generally includes an assessment of most of the fitness components. Fitness components include muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness. Medical aids provide points or rewards for taking part in wellness assessment and results of the assessment. These assessments can be used to guide your progress and exercise needs.

6. Corporate Wellness

Recently there has been a large growth in wellness programmes in the corporate environment. Biokineticists play a key role in these programmes through several way. Our role is to educate and create awareness in a variety of corporate environments on the benefits that exercise provides. In addition we also inform participants on the negative consequences to health as a result of not exercising or long periods of sitting as is common.

Biokineticists can provide health assessments to the employees in order to place them into risk groups. This is crucial to the guidance of each company and their employees.

There are many barriers to exercise that have been found within the corporate environment. Employees have stated a lack of time, tiredness after work and a lack of help or knowledge regarding exercising to name a few. Biokineticists have taken action and bring exercise to the corporate environment and its employees. The goal is to reduce these barriers and improve participation.

7. Weight Loss Interventions

Obesity is a major health problem in this day and age. Obesity or too much body fat can have many negative health consequences. Too much body fat is a medical problem. It will increase your risk of other diseases and health problems. This may include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even premature death.

Biokineticists can assist you in providing a complete health evaluation. This may include a body fat assessment, regional circumference measurements, blood sugar testing. Your risk level is determined by doing this. It important so that your exercise treatment is safer as it is suited to you and your weight loss goals.

Biokineticists are able to adapt your exercise treatment to improve your health risk status and gradually strengthen your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints to reduce your risk of injury.

8. Sport & High-Performance training

If you take part in sport competitively or socially and would like to ensure that your body is ready for your sport. Look no further than your Biokineticist.

Biokineticists are skilled in providing proactive exercise training that targets imbalances that you may have. There can be imbalances in muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and overall joint function. This exercise can greatly reduce your risk of injury by preparing your body for the demands of your sport/s.

Frequently asked questions:

1. Do I need a doctor’s referral letter to see a Biokineticist?

No, you don’t need a doctor’s note before you can see a Biokineticist. Simply contact a Biokinetics practice near you to book your very own appointment. Give us a call to set up an appointment with our Biokineticist.

2. Does medical aid cover Biokinetics services?

Medical aids cover all Biokinetics services. The amount of cover given will depend on your medical aid plan. It is important to check if funds are still available to cover these medical services. At the Health & Fitness Hub we charge medical aid rates for our Biokinetics services. Therefore we can claim from ANY medical aid as long as you have funds available. However if your funds have run out you can make a cash payment at our Biokinetics practice. As a result we offer lower rates on cash payments.

3. Can children take part in an exercise programme?

Yes they certainly can. Resistance training does not stunt a child's growth or damage their growth plates. Exercise programmes can be safe and effective. In addition they also have many benefits to children. However these programmes should be well structured, and focus on good technique. Additionally an exercise professional such as a biokineticist should supervise programmes. Therefore regular exercise and physical activity is very beneficial to children.

Benefits include:

1. Increased strength, power and speed

2. Improved body composition

3. Improved bone density and stronger bones

4. Reduced risk of injury

Being Proficient in the Medical Field

Biokineticists are required to have their Biokinetics honours (4 years) qualification followed by a 5th year of work as an intern. Following this we are able to practice on our own. Moreover we are registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The Biokinetics Association of South Africa is the governing body that regulates Biokinetics (BASA). We are responsble for all patients under our care. Medical aids accept all Biokinetics services just like other health care professions.

A variety of training centres currently provide a year long course to become a personal trainer. But some allow for online learning with no face-to-face contact with academic staff. While Biokineticists have interaction with academic staff. Certainly this is key to understanding difficult concepts within the science of human movement.

Biokineticists also have to complete continuous professional development (CPD) throughout their career. This is important to maintain competency within the field of Biokinetics. CPD is key to for health care professionals to keep up to date with knowledge, skills and ethical attitudes. In turn this largely benefits YOU. Each Biokineticist needs to obtain 60 continuing educational units (CEU’s) over a 2 year period. This is done through accredited CPD activities (i.e conferences, workshops).

At the Health & Fitness Hub, Gino Alho, our in house Biokineticist strives to remain proficient. Above all we want to provide you with the best possible healthcare. Read his story and find out how he can help you