Rowan Ellis

Rowan began a career as a massage therapist in 1990. In 1994, Rowan was introduced to a Dunedin based Physiotherapist, Steve August. Much like Rowan, Steve was one to think outside of the square and in subsequent discussions the pair challenged much of the status quo and the institutionalised thinking that surrounds the rehabilitation of sporting injuries and spinal injuries. During this period, Rowan started to see more and more patients with lower back complaints. Realising the limitations of massage only for the treatment of these injuries, Rowan turned to Steve who then taught him about joint mobilisation and about diagnostic techniques for lower back disorders and biomechanical breakdown. Rowan also began to explore the work of Paul Chek, Dr. Stuart McGill and other prominent researchers advocating the importance of exercise to stabilise and strengthen the core. As a result of this investigation and of his own experience with weight training, Rowan established a gymnasium within his practice and incorporated resistance based core exercises as part of the treatment programmes that he prescribed for rehabilitating his clients’ injuries. For a time, the combination of tissue repair, joint mobilisation and core training provided good results in the treatment of spinal injuries. The benefits of this approach were not, however, able to be sustained over the longer term. It was at this point that Rowan theorised that while the ‘core’ approach focused on passive joint angles and static posture, it did not adequately consider the requirement for pelvic stability in the dynamic state. In response to these perceived short comings, Rowan then approached Dr Peter Taylor, a Dunedin based Clinical Neurophysiologist. Following their initial discussions, Rowan and Peter established a research project to investigative pelvic stability, the relationship between agonist and antagonist muscle groupings and the use of electromyography to determine the firing sequence of muscles during specific activities. The results from their research and from a small double blind study to test their initial findings have encouraged Rowan and Peter to continue their research. They have since developed a programme that includes a comprehensive diagnostics module and a prescriptive resistance-based exercise regime using modified weights equipment. The results from patients using the programme have, to date, been impressive and the research is ongoing.