spiprohealth.com | PHILIPPA STEWART
SPI ProHealth provides specialised physical therapy services at world sports championships, tournaments, and private therapy to elite athletes and teams.
sports physiotherapy, physiotherapists, elite athletes, philippa stewart, sheilagh anderson, sports physiotherapy international, prohealth asia
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    • Originally from New Zealand; Grew up in Australia
    • Director of SPI ProHealth International Team


    • Travelling all year round to cover major sporting events and tours, our international physiotherapy team is led by long-time business partners Philippa Stewart and Sheilagh Anderson.
    • Supporting a growing number of tournaments we attend each year, our world-travelling physiotherapists not only come from a vast number of countries, but they bring together with them an adventurous spin to physiotherapy services as they go on-the-road.

1.Tell us about your background in Physiotherapy.

There has only ever been one profession for me since 12 years of age when I decided to become a physiotherapist, and over the ensuing years nothing has changed!!  My training was in Perth, Australia in the institution now known as Curtin University and even before graduating in 1982 I was out working with football teams learning about this new area of the profession called Sports Medicine. In many ways those early days have influenced my whole life as it was the desire to continue on this path of travelling with teams that led me to leave Australia and move to Asia in 1989.

Living in Hong Kong gave me the opportunity to teach for a while both at the Polytechnic University Physiotherapy School, and in China on the World Health Organization training programmes in Rehabilitation Medicine, but ultimately sports physiotherapy was the new frontier and we set up Sports Physiotherapy International Co. Ltd in 1995.  What started as an Asian venture evolved into a global business as we worked very hard to develop a unique, specialized service for clients worldwide and in a variety of sports and tournament formats.

After 20 years of travel, and with the business now covering 120 events a year globally, it was time to change direction and the opportunity arose when we were approached by Prohealth Asia Ltd.  My extensive knowledge of the Asia region and global contacts in both sport and physiotherapy were a springboard into new business opportunities which I was keen to explore.   Early in 2016 we rebranded our business whilst developing new physiotherapy clinics in Manila and Delhi, and with Singapore clinic coming soon.

The ultimate challenge for me in the future is the development of the Prohealth Physiotherapy Academy which we are developing to help educate physiotherapists in the region to become better within their profession. With 35 years of experience behind me it is time to move into teaching once again, and give my hands a well-deserved rest.


2. What are your interests?

A long time ago I had lots of hobbies but most seem to have slipped away due to the time commitments of running a business and travelling non-stop!!  But I still like to read and watch movies, love a party, and am very interested in anything to do with property.


3. Tell us about a life-changing experience or adventure you’ve been on. 

Looking back, the time I spent working in China for WHO in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s was unique.  The country was still very traditional with people wearing blue Mao suits, riding bicycles and living on the Communist work units.  I was teaching doctors who had never seen a foreigner before and just walking down the street could stop the traffic!  Hospitals and medical care was dire and rehabilitation a new concept.  It wasn’t safe to fly within China so we would take 24 hours train journeys across the country travelling with the locals and not a white face (or English) to be seen or heard!  Visiting China 30 years on it is difficult to describe to people how great the changes have been.


4. What is your area of expertise?

Many practitioners have trained in the area of sports physiotherapy, while I describe myself as an expert in sports medicine.   This sub-specialty requires unique skills, many of which are not taught as part of the physiotherapy programme, but acquired out in the field and in the locker rooms.  When you work with athletes in their competitive environment the demands are different from a clinic (and so are the hours!) so you develop the skills of a primary healthcare provider equally capable at treating minor illnesses, skin conditions and a sprained ankle.


5. What is the most fulfilling part of the job?

As physiotherapists we are in the profession to help people live better, healthier lives. For myself it has also been the challenge of helping professional athletes reach their potential and working as part of a multi-disciplinary team which has been inspiring.  My role from now on is to impart this knowledge and passion to the next generation of physiotherapists and sports therapists.