The Underestimated Importance of Breathing

“But I’ve been breathing all my life, why do I need to ‘Practice’ breathing?”

.. is a common response I hear from clients who get given breathing retraining exercises as part of their rehab. Why should you practice something you do every moment without thinking about it, right?

Fatigue. Anxiety. Brain fog. Breathlessness. Headaches. Bloating. An upset gut. A tight chest. Dizziness. Numbness or tingling. Neck, shoulder or back pain. Poor concentration. Full body tension. Muscle ache.

Any of these symptoms sound familiar? While most these could be due to other medical issues, they are also all signs of a poor breathing pattern. Breathing is a natural, instinctual reflex that is necessary for our survival. However, the way that we breath can often become altered due to many subtle influences on our body over time. Factors like stress, hormones, poor posture, asthma, caffeine, perceived pressure, medication and having a blocked nose to name a few. Throughout our lives our individual experiences and thoughts can shape how we breath. This in turn can influence how we move, react and interact.

Our breathing pattern controls our body’s PH level, it transfers oxygen (O2) into our tissues via our blood and it is responsible for getting rid of carbon dioxide (CO2) as we exhale. When this delicate balance of chemicals is thrown out of balance our body internally responses in ways which cause some of the above symptoms and more. Often these changes can be subtle, however their long-term effects can leave the body working inefficiently and leave you with unexplained nagging symptoms.

One of the most powerful effects of our breathing pattern is the one that communicates to our nervous system whether we are relaxed, or we are in a state of stress or danger. Hyperventilation may make you think of a person breathing frantically into a paper bag, but this occurs anytime we breath faster than 14 breaths per minute. Breathing out too fast decreases our CO2, making our PH more alkaline. This reaction invokes the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), often referred to as the “fight or flight” response. The SNS is wonderful when you are trying to run away from a chasing dog or are late for a meeting, however if we continue to breath out too fast we can often stay in this mode longer than we need to. Robbing us of calm, relaxed, unstressed moments in our day. Decreasing our CO2 levels, ie. breathing out too short and sharp also effects the ability of O2 to be transported by our blood to our tissues. And we all know we need oxygen for pretty much every function of the body.

Ideally at rest, we want to breath 10-14 breaths her minute, inhaling through our nose into our belly. Another common poor breathing habit is when our chest and shoulders lift up toward our ears when we breath. If this is the case, we likely do not activate our diaphragm; the muscle that lives in our belly that is meant for breathing. This muscle functions similarly to our heart, in the way that it does not fatigue to the point it needs rest. When we breath with our chest, neck and shoulders we ask the muscles in this area to draw air into our lungs. The issue here is that those muscles like our arm and leg muscles are skeletal muscles, which means they work on a fatigue and recovery system, they can not go and go and go like the diaphragm. Breathing with your belly can be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one if you are not used to it. There is often a subconscious drive to keep still through our lower ribs and belly as the want for a flat stomach is a social norm these days.

Breathing well can even mean the difference between a calm logical reaction to something a loved one says, or a fly off the handle emotional reaction. In other words, breathing well strengthens the area in the brain which reacts with calm logical through to stimulus called the hippocampus. If we are in a state of hyperventilation and stress and our SNS is in control our reaction will more likely be processed by another area of the brain called the amygdala. The Amygdala reacts based on previous stimulus threat and can cause those irrational, inappropriate reactions.

So, for all those achey necks, stressed out brains and feelings of overreaction out there, give your body the well-deserved rest it is screaming for. Sit down, place a hand on your belly, once you have exhaled fully, breath in through your nose slowly to the count of 4 and let your belly rise up into a big balloon. Then breath out SLOWLY, for longer than you breathed in. Feel your body pause and rest here for a moment and then repeat.

The way you breath is one of the most underestimated but essential aspects of your health and wellbeing. These are just a few of the amazing ways our breathing can improve our daily function and help us to live a more enjoyable life. If this has rung some bells for your body and you are ready to make lasting changes, book a breathing assessment at Bureta Physio by calling us on 07 576 1860 or fill in the form below.

Melanie Smith BHSc Physiotherapy

Physiotherapist & Qualified Bradcliff Breathing Practitioner 

Knee Pain and Tramping

Knee pain does not mean you have to stop what you love! If you enjoy hiking, tramping, mountain running, even walking up and down the mount here is some advice for you.

People often experience knee pain when walking up and down hills, especially in an overnight or multi day tramp. This blog will address different approaches you can do to reduce the load on your knee joint and therefore decrease knee pain.

Our knee has two joints, one where the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone(tibia) meet, called the tibiofemoral joint. The other joint is between our kneecap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur) called the patellofemoral joint.

Strength Exercises
Biomechanics the way we move, is an important aspect to work on. When walking downhill, your tibiofemoral joint has a compressive force of 7-8.5 times your body weight, even more for females.[1] When running, there is 4 or more times your body weight or more your knee has to absorb.

Firstly, we want to offload the shock absorbed by the joint and ensure our muscles take this load. We do this by strengthening the proximal muscles which include our gluteal and core muscles. Off loaded (non-weighted) exercises e.g. side planks, clams etc. are a good place to start strength work. Working into a loaded position such as lunges, bulgarians and step ups are then going to make it more functional for walking.

Ensuring our other leg muscles are also strong is beneficial, such as calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and your feet muscles. This aims to offload the knee joint and make the surrounding muscles absorb the load. Seeing a physio or other movement specialist will be vital to make sure your technique is good to target the right muscles, otherwise there is no point in doing these!

Walking Technique
To decrease the body weight compressive force your knee joint has to absorb, you can shift your weight onto your heels, sit back, keep your knees bent and land softly when walking downhill. Slow and controlled is the secret. Running downhill or walking with straight legs is not beneficial.

When increasing your speed on any incline or terrain, make sure you do not increase your stride. Lengthening your stride, increases the load on your knee.
When walking uphill try pushing through your heel and squeezing your gluteal. Aim to not let your knee go over your toe or drop inwards.

Other Helpful Tips
The lighter your tramping pack, the less load through your knees.  Clearly there are health and safety essentials for tramping but try not to overpack. Same with your own body weight. The less you weigh, the less load your knees/legs need to absorb when going downhill or have to push uphill.

Shoes Comfort is essential. Hiking boots versus trail shoes is the big debate and this depends on what you feel comfortable wearing. Make sure you have completed some big walks in your shoes before undertaking a multi-day hike – avoid those blisters!

Hiking poles
I am a big believer in hiking poles. They can offload your knees by 30%! So, if you have any knee issues or are worried about hiking, I recommend investing in some poles. They will last you a lifetime. Make sure you get adjustable hiking poles. Poles should be longer when going downhill and shorter when walking uphill.

Note: When walking on flat surfaces your elbows should be at 90 degrees. This is to protect your shoulders.

After walking or running, especially on a multi-day hike, recovery is key. Stretch or roll your thighs/quadriceps, calves, glutes and hamstrings at the end of walking activity. If you’re out in the bush, find something you can use e.g. drink bottle for rolling your thighs.

Primers or muscle activation before starting for the day is a lot better than stretching. Ask your physio to provide some glute primers.
You can add nutritional supplements to help recovery or decrease inflammation such as omega 3’s, ginger and turmeric, but consult a nutritionist for more advice regarding this.

If you have any questions or concerns re any knee pain you may have please contact us to talk a qualified Physiotherapist

Written by Annaliese Horne Physiotherapist

[1] Kuster, M., Wood, G.A., Sakurai, S. et al. Downhill walking: A stressful task for the anterior cruciate ligament?. Knee Surg, Sports traumatol, Arthroscopy 2, 2–7 (1994).

The Importance of Resistance Training

Resistance training is regarded as any type of exercise that builds strength and muscle mass but it is not just for the gym-bro’s and rugby players – It has a wealth of benefits reaching far beyond getting bigger, stronger muscles. This blog will outline some key benefits of resistance training and then explain why it is an important part of rehabilitation from acute and chronic injury or pain.

Slows down muscle loss as we age:

Muscle starts to deteriorate when we reach our 30’s. After age 40, we lose on average 8 percent of our muscle mass every decade, and this phenomenon continues to accelerate at an even faster rate after age 60. Studies show that this loss of muscle hastens the onset of diseases, limits mobility, and is linked to premature death. Resistance training slows this down by working the muscles at a level where they are forced to adapt and maintain, or even improve their strength and size.

It keeps our bones nice and strong:

Similar factors that help you maintain muscle are the same factors that keep your bones strong and dense. As you age, your bones become more brittle – a process known as osteopenia. The end of the spectrum here is osteoporosis, where your bones are at a much greater risk of fracturing. Resistance training helps delay this process from occurring and can even reverse the process once started. Consistent evidence also suggests that exercise therapy and specific resistance exercises for the lower limb reduce pain and improve physical function in hip and knee osteoarthritis.

You live longer:

Research shows those with higher muscle mass tend to live longer than those with less muscle. This relationship remains after accounting for traditional markers of disease, and it showed that low muscle mass was an even better predictor of premature death than obesity.

It helps you lose fat:

Probably the best way to burn fat and hold onto muscle is to combine a good diet with resistance training. Throw some aerobic exercise into the mix as well and you have yourself a recipe for optimal health and a better quality of life.

So where does resistance training fit in to your rehabilitation programme?

For a start, as a protective mechanism, resistance training has been shown to reduce acute sports-related injuries (i.e., joint sprains, muscle strains, etc) by over 30% and overuse injuries (i.e., tendon pain) by 50%.

If you are unfortunate enough to already have an injury, resistance training makes up the bulk of your rehabilitation to best prepare you to return to sport, work, or just life. This is because when we injure a joint, we naturally have an inability to fully contract the muscles around that joint due to pain, inflammation and/or swelling. Once this process – called arthrogenic muscle inhibition – kicks in, it is a “use it or lose it” situation. Our body cannot utilise the muscles to their full potential, so the muscles become weaker. Progressive resistance training therefore helps to reverse this process and gradually re-train the muscles to become stronger and function better than they did prior to the injury so the joint can tolerate sport/work/life again.

Resistance training is the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we have. To attain the above benefits, the World Health Organisation recommends we perform resistance training exercises that work the full body at least twice per week.  These results take time and adherence to a structured, progressive programme to achieve. That is where your physiotherapist can help. Come talk to us at Bureta Physiotherapy + Wellness if you have any questions regarding the best way to achieve your goals.

Written by Grayson Harwood Physiotherapist

How to Bench Press Using The Proper Technique

Bench press is a very popular exercise in the gym and is commonly referred to as a compound movement. This means it utilises the entire body. When bench press is performed correctly it is a great functional exercise to improve power and strength in the push motion.
Consequently, considering the large amount of force applied on the body and the need to use the whole body in unison it does create potential for injuries. In this blog we will address the common mistakes seen and how to correct them.

Below is a Bench Press checklist to ensure you have proper technique.

  1. Wrist
    • Should not be extended, bar placed on centre of palm and gripping with thumb
  2. Forearm
    • Forearm should be vertical throughout the entire movement. This is to avoid rotational forces on your elbow / shoulder.
    If your grip is too narrow this will make it difficult for you to maintain a vertical forearm.
  3. Shoulder
    • Arms at 45-70 degrees from your body. Greater than this and you put a lot of force on the front of your shoulder which can cause Anterior Impingement.
    • Avoid over gripping with your lats. The lats counteract the action of your pecs therefore you are making the movement inefficient by making them work against each other. Allow your shoulder blades to glide on your ribcage easily.
    • Avoid over rounding your shoulders forward when lifting the weight off your chest.
  4. Mid Back
    • Avoid over-arching your upper back, this can cause excessive compression and unnecessary bracing.
    • Look out for rotation in your trunk when pressing, this could be from overactive obliques and/or lats
  5. Neck
    • Should be relaxed and long on the bench
    • There is no need for tensing your neck muscles during a bench press
  6. Legs
    • Hips stay on bench, glutes squeezed
    • Feet on the floor

There are many benefits to checking your form in the gym, these include

  • Help correct misinformation; unfortunately, not all information out there is created equal, so it is important to analyse where the source is coming from.
  • Identify training errors that could be contributing to your injury and thus speed up your recovery
  • Return to sport optimally
  • Prevent injury
  • Create proper neuromuscular body patterns that will carry over to your daily life

Ask about our gym biomechanical assessment with one of our qualified physiotherapists by contacting 07 5761860 or emailing
We can address any technique or training questions. This can be done at our clinic or at your own gym.

Written by Physiotherapist Lucila Gatti

When Life Throws You a Curveball – Part 2

As the country (NZ) wraps it’s head around the second wave of COVID-19; it would be easy to allow feelings of disillusionment, anxiety and frustration to kick in. Here’s some tips on how to keep your cool over the coming weeks in level 2 and 3.

Everyone has their own war stories, be it self isolation, work stress, cancelling dream holidays, wedding plans disrupted, and running out of toilet roll. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, what their age is, the dreaded C word is the first thing on peoples minds.

If the latest announcement has sent you in to a spin, here’s some simple hacks to keep your body and mind on track.

Nourish your body by making sleep, exercise and good nutrition a priority

When under stress it is really easy to let go of the well-being basics but I want to encourage you to make sleep, exercise and fueling your body a priority starting from today!.


Easier said than done I know but start with these simple hacks and if you want more in depth suggestions, keep an eye out on my social media platforms and website

Turn off electronic devices 1.5 hours before bed

Dim the lights 1.5 hours before bed

Consider taking tart cherry juice before bed

Listen to a guided meditation or sleep cast

Take electronics out of the bedroom. Go back to a good old fashioned alarm clock or even better a light therapy alarm clock (simulates sunrise so you wake up naturally instead of a blaring alarm clock sound!)

Make your bed time routine as consistent as possible with the same bedtime.


We are born to move! Don’t over think it. Use Mel Robbins 5 second rule to get you off the couch and outside. (Literally count down from 5-1 and kick yourself in to action) Remove potential excuses. Get your exercise gear out so you trip over them getting up in the morning. Put it in your diary and make the commitment to yourself that you will move that glorious body of yours! Arrange a baby sitter or find the perfect youtube video ahead of time.

Fuel your body

You know what’s right for your body and if you listen, your body will give you signals to let you know what is working and what isn’t. Instead of giving you a comprehensive list of what to eat, here’s my offerings to you.

  1. Stick to 3 meals a day.
  2. Use your common sense when it comes to what to eat. Good, wholesome food. Unprocessed and as close to nature as you can get!
  3. Always sit down to eat.
  4. Chew your food fully.
  5. Slow down and taste your food!
  6. Only eat at the dinner table. (This hack will stop you eating unnecessary calories throughout the day)

Be a role model

Kids pick up on energy and conversations. Funny how they can’t hear you when you ask them to put their school bag away but when you’re talking to your partner or friend about something they pick up on every word. It’s our opportunity to be a role model by holding fact based conversations, keeping drama to a minimum and pointing out the good in a situation. Show them articles of the medical teams working on the front line. Statistics of those who have recovered. Monkey see, monkey do. Looking after your mental and physical health, doing good for others and sticking to the facts will go a long way in keeping the children in your life calm, secure and connected.

Practice acceptance

My friend Henry Fraser (inspirational guy, check him out uses the phrase ‘accept and adapt.’ The term is also widely used in the military where at any given moment the best made plans can blow up and they are left thinking of their feet with life or death decisions to make.

Practicing acceptance is very different to giving up. It is a choice. It is empowering. It makes life much easier to tolerate.

I have long been a migraine sufferer and learning the art of acceptance has been a revelation for me in terms of how I handle them. Gone are the days where I get an attack and fight it, get cross with my body, stress about missing work, letting clients down and the the kids eating toast for tea. By letting go, accepting that what will be will be, being open to the possibility that it’s just a migraine allows me to go in to a calmer space, less resistance, less stress and ultimately less pain.

This is true of so many scenarios in life. I see clients pushing their problems up hill. Feeling the résistance with every step , almost as if it has to be difficult in order to be worth it.

Think of a situation that you are resisting. How much precious time are you spending dwelling on it? How much of it can you actually control? How much freer would you be if you took a breath, and let it go?

Know that you are not alone

Opening up may seem alien to you but the chances are other people are feeling similar feelings to you. Opening up to people that you trust can be one of the most helpful things you can do. If you feel alone and would like free support from a trained counsellor, MIND have a 24 hour helpline. Simply text or call 1737 and someone will be there to talk.

To read Part 1 click here

Written by Anna Veale at Fresh Coaching. Visit to connect with Anna.

When Life Throws You a Curveball – Part 1

As the country (NZ) wraps it’s head around the second wave of COVID-19; it would be easy to allow feelings of disillusionment, anxiety and frustration to kick in. Here’s some tips on how to keep your cool over the coming weeks in level 2 and 3.

Everyone has their own war stories, be it self isolation, work stress, cancelling dream holidays, wedding plans disrupted, and running out of toilet roll. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, what their age is, the dreaded C word is the first thing on peoples minds.

If the latest announcement has sent you in to a spin, here’s some simple hacks to keep your body and mind on track.

Check in with yourself

How are you feeling? Learn to notice the subtle signs your body gives you throughout the day. Tight chest, butterflies in your tummy, lump in throat, shallow breathing. These signs when unnoticed can generate negative thought patterns which in turn exacerbate the physical symptoms.

Once you recognise your stress signals, take the time to stop and breathe. 5 slow deep belly breaths will take your body out of it’s stressed state and you will immediately feel restored. TOP TIPS: If your mind is too busy, give it something to do. Count backwards from 100 as you breathe slowly and deeply in and out through the nose. To enhance your feeling of wellbeing, make your exhale longer than the inhale. Breathe fully and deeply in to the tummy.

What are you thinking? We see what we perceive. Be aware of your thoughts and ask yourself ‘are they are true?’ and ‘are they helpful?’ With a minimum of 60,000 thoughts running around in our mind on any given day, it makes sense to acknowledge our thoughts and give the unhelpful ones the boot. Call yourself out when you think or say something negative. Is it true? Is it helpful? How would an optimistic, objective bystander see the same situation? TOP TIP: We all come with our own map of the world and see things in different ways. Many of our beliefs are created as a child. When you catch your thoughts, use it as an opportunity for a clear out. Are these beliefs outdated? Are they even yours? If so, what new beliefs can you substitute? If you want something or someone to change, go inwards and ask yourself how you could see things differently. There is no space for judgement here. Just a brilliant opportunity for growth.

Check in with others

Get out of your head and be of service. How good does it feel when you do something for someone else? Boost your feel good hormones by showing kindness, gratitude and thought to others around you.

I just called to say I love you: Pick up the phone and check in with your family, friends and neighbours’. Actually sit down and fully engage in the conversation. Notice how grounding this is for you both.

Pay it forward: On a recent road trip I stopped in to the BP garage and ordered a cup of tea. When I went to pay, the cashier said that someone had paid for it on my behalf. I cherish my tea, but THIS CUPPA was even more special. I took each sip with a grateful heart to the person that paid it forward on to me. Find a way to pay it forward to a stranger, friend or colleague and feel incredible knowing that someone out there will be filled with gratitude BECAUSE OF YOU.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 “When life throws you a curveball”

Written by Anna Veale from Fresh Coaching

The Power of Prevention

The Power of Prevention

You’ve probably heard me mention time and time again that prevention is the best cure and I am sure I sound like a broken record. However, with this current climate, there is no better time to discuss how massage can prevent poor injuries or getting unwell physically, emotionally and mentally.

Most commonly, clients book a massage when they are experiencing pain, are overstressed or have twinge a muscle due to extreme tightness. My goal is to create awareness of the benefits of massage and empower people to have a preventative mindset towards health. Firstly, I am going to dissect massage into 4 main sections.

  1. Physical Benefits
  2. Mental Benefits
  3. Emotional Benefits.
  4. Lastly, I am going to go into more detail around how massage contributes to enhance immunity and how it improves what we can’t necessarily physically feel directly.


Physical Benefits:

During exercise we create tension through shortening our muscles called “concentric movements” A simple example is a bicep curl. As we curl the dumbbell towards our bicep, we are shortening the muscle in order to lift the weight. This occurs throughout our body with a wide range of movements. Once the muscles are shortened, we then need to stretch it out in order to lengthen the muscle back to normal length to prevent injury. If we were to keep the bicep in a concentric state, when we perform a simple day to day movement like reaching for something, we will not have a good range of movement and the likelihood of us tearing the muscle becomes high. Therefore, sports and deep tissue massage is an essential injury prevention tool that improves flexibility and mobility throughout our joints, due to lengthen muscles.

Muscles knots – Muscle knots occur through a build up of muscle fibres within the muscle after use. They can be uncomfortable, painful and restrict movement, which can result in injury through not being able to move the muscle correctly or adapting the exercise and engaging other muscles that are perhaps not as strong. During massage the Massage Therapist can work out the knots using various techniques or make it a lot smaller for it to disperse itself. You will feel an amazing amount of relief once the knot has been worked on.

If an injury has occurred massage increases blood flow, which will target the injury and start the healing process

Mental Benefits:

Mental health is described as being our ability to process information. Massage is essential when it comes to our mental clarity. Not only for athletes, but for the everyday person. Each day we process large amounts of information, which takes a toll and becomes overwhelming. During massage we give ourselves permission to lie within our thoughts without being distracted by anything. Massage is a sensory stimulation that releases chemicals into our body which allows our mind to relax and in turn focus mentally. Having a relaxed mental state decreases our stress levels and promotes overall health. From a sporting perspective there’s a certain amount of mental stillness one needs to have in order to perform at their best and focus. Massage therefore will be a positive tool to achieve results.

Emotional Benefits:

Emotional health is described as being our ability to express feelings, based on information you have received. Since ancient times massage has been used to promote emotional healing. Massage allows us to take time for ourselves, it’s a promotion of self-care and encourages us to be vulnerable. Now more than ever we have a lot of pressures in life and with the current climate we are all in limbo with our work, families, health and lack of control. This has naturally caused us to have added emotional stress. By taking the time for a massage you are taking care of your body and mind and allowing your mind to rest and focus solely on the massage treatment. Studies have described that certain areas of the body hold emotions, for example, “hips hold anger” and once the hips are released the anger decreases. People have described feeling “emotionally lighter” as they leave the room.


Immunity Benefits:

Now more than ever we need to focus on our immunity. Massage decreases our stress hormone, cortisol. When cortisol is high it supresses our immune system and we often pick up viruses or colds during that time. White blood cells defend the body from disease, and they increase during massage. High levels of inflammation in the body are known to be associated with depression, cardiovascular disease and asthma, massage lowers the inflammation in our body. As you can see, massage plays a huge part in terms of our immunity.

If you have any questions on this please send us an email on or give us a call on 5761860.

“Prevention is the biggest cure”

Written by Elly Hunt – Massage Therapist

The Bureta Physio Story

In 2004 my husband Sean (then fiancé) and I decided that after four years living overseas it was time to think about returning home. We had had an incredible time including some great work opportunities and had made the decision to buy a physio practice back in NZ. We looked into Hawkes Bay, Nelson and Tauranga as after two years in Ireland we were pretty keen to return to some sunshine and were keen on the lifestyle these areas could provide us with. After looking at a few practices we came across Bureta Physiotherapy which was at the time owned by a long-standing Tauranga physio named Trish MacKenzie who was getting ready to retire. Funny how things work out but after a few phone calls and emails we agreed that this was the one for us and on our travels home through South America we purchased the clinic sight unseen but confident that it was the right move for us. We had ten days between moving back to NZ and taking over the clinic which was a whirlwind – buying a car, finding a house to rent, organizing all that was needed to be a “grown up” in NZ as I left the day after I graduated. At the same time we were organizing our upcoming wedding so life was busy to say the least!

We took over the clinic in what was then the sleepy suburb of Bureta in the quiet retirement city of Tauranga. Wow what a different place it is now. There were a couple of part time physios that stayed on for a few months but other than that it was just me, some patients and lots of coffee breaks for hot chocolates and gossip mag reading at the gift shop that had opened up next door. We had green walls, hideous speckled carpet, the most uncomfortable bench seat in reception, bars on the treatment room windows, no air con in sight and one computer that was barely used as we still drew up columns in the diary every week for appointments but it was a brilliant place to begin this journey. Notes of course were all by hand and life was pretty “old school”. Whilst this was the case it was a great starting point in a handy location with some other new shops opening up alongside us – Simon from the Pharmacy was new too and the Doctors hadn’t long relocated from Brookfield. Marcel came on board in the new year and we have had the absolute privilege of having him as a senior part of our team ever since. Unbelievably over 15 years he seems to be the only one who hasn’t aged so he knows the secrets for sure.

Over the following 7 years the clinic grew steadily.  I completed my Masters in Auckland and had three awesome kids and the challenges of a being a working Mum and a business owner began. We were lucky to have some steady staff members along with the new grads and young staff who have come and gone on their own journeys over the years. All of whom have taught me many things about being in business, being a boss and being part of a team. Over this time we outgrew our original clinic and needed more space. This is a little of the story of the last 15 years as over this time we have continued to outgrow our space and have been creative about how we solved these issues. Needless to say the clinic now is a far cry in many ways including physically from where it was in 2004.

In 2008 I started working with the NZ Blackferns and the following 9 years for me work wise were a mix of business, clinic and International Sports Physio opportunities. I loved every minute of it – the challenges, the learnings, the people and the experiences. I never could have imagined how much I would learn and grow both professionally and personally over this time. Thankfully with husband Sean, my Mum and an awesome family supporting me along the way. The NZ Womens Sevens programme grew and grew and it became obvious I could no longer be a lead International Sports Physio and a sole owner of a growing business despite the awesome staff we had onboard. It was time to look for help. One person came to mind and unbelievably as they say the rest is history. Blair and I went to University together 13 years earlier. We had not seen or spoken to each other since other than catching up at a conference but through social media I tracked him down hoping he might be keen to return home. Post the Christchurch earthquakes it was a turning point in his family’s life and after working through the process Blair came onboard heading back home with his wife Sheree and two young kids. Over the following years there were new things to learn. How to let go of solely holding the reins, how to maximise the talents and skills of someone else knowing they had strengths where I had weaknesses, compromise and above all communication. It has taught me so much more and the clinic would certainly not be where it is today without the partnership we have had over the past 7 years. We have been incredibly fortunate over this time also to develop an amazing team of senior staff both therapists and reception. A team who enjoy being challenged to remain leading edge, a team who enjoy time together inside and outside of work despite our differences and a team that love what they do and the satisfaction they get from seeing our patients achieve their goals, whether everyday activities or competing on the world stage. Blair and I are passionate about the evolution of our profession and are both involved in governance in Sports Physiotherapy in order to ensure we assist in the growth of our profession both locally and Nationally.

We have been through the global financial crisis and now the COVID pandemic. Both of these along with the regular shortage of experienced physiotherapists in NZ have challenged us without a doubt. What I have learnt from these situations in particular is that change is the only constant in life. We must grow and adapt if we are to survive and not only survive but thrive. As one of only a handful of Physiotherapy Specialists in NZ I am confident in my ability and the ability of our team to provide amazing care to our patients that is not solely focused on a reactive model of physio, which is the historical model in NZ but on a proactive model that focuses on the health and wellness of our community and how we can work to support and ensure they achieve their goals.


Originally from Tauranga and attending Otumoetai college,  it was time to start University. Jacs and I initially met in the deep south of Otago when we began the scarfie days of our undergraduate physiotherapy degree. We graduated in 2000 both going different ways not knowing that in some years we would be back working together.

After Uni my journey took me to Christchurch working in Private practice with a sadly now departed Guru of Physiotherapy ( Graeme Nuttridge) including working with Canterbury Cricket and local rugby teams before heading off together with Sheree overseas to London.  After five years in London Sheree and I decided to return home, coming to Christchurch and picking up where we left off with Canterbury Cricket and moving up through the ranks of Canterbury rugby with a promise to buy into what was at that time the South islands most extensive physiotherapy practice. After several events in Christchurch, including going through the canterbury earthquakes and the canterbury practice buy not coming to fruition it was becoming apparent life had other plans for Sheree and I. Jacs, and I met up at a conference, and a couple of months later I got a call from Jacs to consider moving back to Tauranga. Sheree and I with our two children decided to move North which at the time meant walking away from my positions in Canterbury Cricket and Rugby.

I started at Bureta Physio in 2013 and became a co-owner with Jacs the following year.

Management of physiotherapy practices is nothing that we get taught a University, and the jump from clinician to management is not to be underestimated. Luckily Jacs has been there and done (most) of it before.  It didn’t take long until we fell into stride with understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We have managed to grow Bureta Physiotherapy to be the most extensive Physiotherapist practice under one roof in the Bay of Plenty. We offer a diverse range of not only physiotherapy but also health and wellness solutions for individuals and groups. Each year this business goes from strength to strength supported by our hardworking and dedicated team of clinicians and administrators. We are blessed as a clinic to have a great bunch of people working for us all as equally important in delivering on our clinic values. Jacs and I have the moto “work hard – play hard” and that’s what keeps the practice energetic and vibrant. When you walk through our door, you can feel the energy, and our vision was always to have a professional and dynamic health practice.


In 2017 Bureta Physiotherapy won the Customer services awards. “It takes a lot of bravery to go into business, continue in business and grow – sometimes against the odds – and then to enter something like the awards where you are putting yourself on the line and opening up your business to the scrutiny of outside judges and their feedback,” said awards co-ordinator Anne Pankhurst.

“These businesses are true heroes in our community, and we want to acknowledge them for their bravery in putting themselves forward, as well as their initiative.”


At present Bureta Physio has just under 20 staff. What the future holds for the practice is exciting. While we have been in COVID 19 lockdown the work has not stopped – out physiotherapists are all consulting virtually, and Jacs and I have been working on the new Bureta Physio business initiative. Stay tuned.

Below is a section of photo over the years.

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Exercise During Pregnancy

If like me you are stuck at home and pregnant during this isolation period, you may be looking for pregnancy-appropriate exercise to keep you busy, fit and healthy. Exercise during pregnancy can help with:

  • Promoting muscle strength, tone and endurance.
  • Back pain, constipation, bloating and swelling.
  • Improving mood and energy levels.
  • Improving sleep.
  • Prevention of excess weight.
  • Reduction of gestational diabetes risk.
  • Shortened labor and reduced C-section risk.

As a rule, research suggests that if you are pregnant and have no contraindications to exercise, you should be aiming to meet the general physical activity guidelines for adults aged 18-64 years, which are:

  • 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity per week, OR
  • 75-100 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week, OR
  • A combination of the two above.

If, however, you were previously inactive or you are in the higher BMI weight range, you should be starting with 15-20-minutes of moderate exercise 3-4 times per week and building up to 30-minutes as able.

It was previously thought that if you are pregnant you should not be exceeding a heart rate of 140 beats per minute, however specific heart rate limitations are no longer recommended.

When it comes to the type of exercise, there are plenty of great options, including:

  • Walking, swimming, or stationary cycling.
  • Pregnancy-specific yoga and Pilates.
  • Strength-based gym classes or home-based strength workouts.

If you were a regular runner or participated in impact sports pre-pregnancy, you can also continue this as comfort allows. However, running is not something I would recommend starting during pregnancy.

Specifically, it is also super important to work on lower abdominal and pelvic floor strengthening during and post-pregnancy. Exercises such as kegels and transversus abdominis strengthening are a fantastic start, and as physiotherapists we can prescribe a home-based program for you specific to your fitness level and needs.

There are also certain exercises that should be avoided, particularly after the first trimester, which include sit-ups or other abdominal exercises that compress the abdomen or stress the rectus diastisis. Further, if you are experiencing aches and pains resultant from your pregnancy, exercise is a fantastic tool to help increase strength and stability and reduce pain.

For specific assessment and prescription of appropriate home based exercises, get in touch with one of our physiotherapists on 07 576 1860 or email


Is your ‘new work office’ a pain in the neck?

Is your ‘new work office’  a pain in the neck?- Quick Tips to Avoid Back & Neck Pain Whilst Working From Home during Covid-19.

With the unprecedented times we currently face, many of us find we are working in a different environment at the moment- One not designed for sitting eight hours a day….

Quick Tips from your friendly Physio:

  1. Comfort is key! Set up your workspace well- invest in a wireless/plug in keyboard & mouse. And even treat yourself to a laptop stand (or a stack of books works just as well).
  2. Take regular breaks- AWAY from your workspace; grab a glass of water, check on the kids or you could even do one of those stretches your physio prescribed you!
  3. Sit less!- be creative with cardboard boxes to make a standing desk, stand during online meetings or webinars, walk during phone calls.
  4. Use your Lunch Break to get MOVING! Even if you can’t spare half an hour to hit your daily activity quota, get creative- Walk Up & Down the Stairs, March on the Spot, or grab a ball and head outside with the kids.
  5. Whenever you feel uncomfortable- get up and stretch! Some examples below to try.

Levator Scapulae Stretch:

Gently take your nose towards your right armpit. Place your right hand on top of your head and apply slight over pressure into the stretch.
Hold here maintaining a gentle stretch for 10-20 seconds.
Repeat to the other side


Mid-Back Rotation:
Cross your left leg over your right leg, placing your right hand on the top knee.
Rotate the body to the left, looking over your left shoulder.
Hold here for 10-20 seconds

If you’re doing these things and still struggling with pain, KEEP CALM AND CALL YOUR PHYSIO! We are open for Online Video Consultations.

Call 075761860 OR email: to book your appointment TODAY.

Written by Kimberley Pilbrow