Mike Grice photo
background, Behind the scenes, interviews

Mike Grice: Godfather of Movement Therapy

If you’ve ever wondered where I get my knowledge and training, it’s your lucky day! Let me enlighten you…

When I initially opened I started working with people who were from a range of clinical backgrounds, such as physiotherapists and osteopaths. I had imagined that they would know the things that I know, and do the things that I do – but they didn’t.

I first met Mike Grice in 2008 when I studied on one of his Level 3 Sports Massage Therapy courses. For the last year I have been studying on Mike’s own Level 5 Remedial and Exercise Therapy Diploma. I also work from at one his Movement Therapy Clinics (in King’s Heath, Birmingham) once a week, and my clinic (Move Well, Stourbridge) is run in association with the Movement Therapy Clinics group.

Mike has over 20 years of experience working in the Health and Fitness Industry – I always take great delight in picking his brains when I’m in his classes. Fortunately, for those of you yet to have the pleasure of a chat with Mike you can read on to learn what he had to say when I interviewed him at his clinic in Harbourne UK, earlier this month….

… look at the person as a whole, and not just the injury.

Fiona: What is so unique about Movement Therapy Clinics?

Mike: The idea is to have a multidisciplinary team so that each aspect of our clients’ health is looked after. For example, an injury can be assessed and treated by one of our team members. After this, there can be a referral to another team member who can take care of later stage exercise programming to prevent the injury from reoccurring.  We also have support for nutrition, mental health, etc., to look at the person as a whole, and not just the injury.

mike grice photo 3.jpg
Mike (front centre) with students on one of his RockTape courses in London (2018)

Fiona: How did you get into your profession?

Mike: I started in the fitness industry where I worked as a personal trainer for about 7 or 8 years. I then moved into management of health clubs. But after a while I realised that it wasn’t for me – I wasn’t customer facing and dealing with people, which is what I like to do. So I retrained on a one-year long sports therapy diploma. On that course one of my tutors was an osteopath – he was the best teacher on the programme, so I then looked into osteopathy as a career. Soon after I started an osteopathy degree and that’s basically how I got into it.

The most rewarding times are when people who have been in pain or inactive for a very long time return to their favourite activities

Fiona: Who do you help in your clinic?

Mike: I’ll see a wide variety of people, from children as young as seven up to adults aged over eighty years old. But typically I find my clients are aged about 30 years old and often returning to sports and physical activity – in fact, they are often quite sporty people.

Fiona: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Mike: The most rewarding times are when people who have been in pain or inactive for a very long time return to their favourite activities. You can see changes in not only their physical health, like their strength and fitness, but also their mental health. You see the effects of them being able to do the things they want to do on their lives – and that’s very rewarding.

Usually people are either doing too much or not enough

Fiona: What advice to you most often give to your clients?

Mike: Usually people are either doing too much or not enough. Often, if they’ve got pain and not been doing enough exercise my advice concerns how they can get started with exercise. A lot of the time it’s helping them to decide which exercises are the right things to do. On the other hand, with the sports people, often they’re doing way too much and getting injured. So we restructure their training, which is an essential part of their life, and so we are looking for them to continue. Quite often people don’t have an ‘injury’, they mainly have an ‘overload’ issue. In this case, it’s about adjusting intensity, load and volume, because they’ve been pushing their body too much.

mike grice teaching
Mike teaching a RockTaping course at his clinic in Harbourne (2018)

Fiona: Where is your clinic and where will people find you in future?

Mike: We have a few locations. I am based in Harbourne in Birmingham, and that’s where we originally started. We have a couple of clinics in the city centre and clinics in Lichfield and King’s Heath as well. We use all the clinics as a referral network – so if I get an enquiry from someone in King’s Heath or Moseley, then I will refer them to a team member over at our King’s Heath Clinic, which is closer to them. Basically, we all work together as a team – but I’m based in Harbourne.

It’s not just a treatment room – it’s a facility where we can get people moving.

Fiona: What kind of services do you offer in your clinics?

Mike: It depends on the clinic – each location has a slightly different set up. But wherever we go we try to have a place to do exercise. It’s not just a treatment room – it’s a facility where we can get people moving. I have tried to replicate this flow at all of the locations – so that we can provide both treatments and exercise therapy in the same place. Initially, we are able to provide passive manual therapies, for example: soft tissue therapy, joint manipulations and mobilisations, taping, acupuncture, as well as some methods that incorporate some Traditional Chinese Medicine theory. However, although manual therapy helps with pain relief it is really essential to do the exercise therapy components in order for the therapy to work.

Fiona: Can you tell us a little bit more about your educational approach and how you are trying to change perceptions about pain and injury?

Mike: One of the biggest decisions I made in the clinic was about a year ago – that everyone working in the clinic has to do the Movement Therapy training course so that there’s a consistent approach in how clients are treated, as well as the messages put across to them and how we communicate with them. When I initially opened I started working with people who were from a range of clinical backgrounds, such as physiotherapists and osteopaths. I had imagined that they would know the things that I know, and do the things that I do – but they didn’t. So the entire team working in the Movement Therapy Clinics have all completed the Movement Therapy course – even the team members that have been trained to degree level. This is so that there is a consistency throughout the team – that’s been really important. I’ve noticed a really big change in the last year in the way that we all work together because of that underpinning education.

I tell them, “I don’t want to see you very often – I want to give you the tools so that you can help yourself.

Fiona: What is the main difference between the way you treat clients for prevention of injury and after an injury?

Mike: The clients that come in for injury prevention mainly have exercise prescriptions and we monitor their workload. We generally get them to follow a strength and conditioning route when the aim is injury prevention. They may also have some soft tissue work, which makes them feel good too. However, clients that have been injured would initially get more early stage exercise therapy and mobility work alongside more manual therapies to build their confidence back up. This is so that they can be ready to return to exercise, and hopefully join in with the injury prevention exercise programme. Essentially, I am very upfront with clients – I tell them, “I don’t want to see you very often – I want to give you the tools so that you can help yourself. If that is in a structured exercise class that we look after then fine. If you don’t know what to do, then it’s probably the best route. If you’re happy doing your own training, then we can give you tips on what’s best to do and how to you look after yourself”. That honest approach works really well, because our clients understand that we’re not just trying to get people in to have treatment after treatment after treatment, and relying on us. We want to give them the tools so that they can help themselves and their problem doesn’t come back.

tim gabbett website screenshot
A screenshot of Tm Gabbett’s website and blog

Fiona: Are there are any reading materials or resources you can recommend to the Move Well Clinic Community regarding movement quality and pain?

Mike: For pain relief, especially acute pain I would recommend reading work by Greg Lehman. He has some great free materials on his website. I would also recommend Ben Cormack. These guys are specialised in exercise and pain education. They describe what pain is, why you feel it and why it might last a bit longer than you think it will. For more performance stuff, I would look at Tim Gabbett – he’s pretty scientific and great if you are more into fitness. If you’re looking for something less technical there is also Tom Goom aka The Running Physio. He writes everything in layman’s terms and explains injuries – in particular, he offers strategies to help you get into running.

Fiona: If people want to find you on social media where should they look?

Mike: Facebook is the best place to look – we have a page for my clinic in Harbourne, which is: Movement Therapy Clinics – Harbourne. We have the Movement Therapy Clinic Instagram account @movementtherapyclinic that you can also follow. I also have a personal Twitter page @bhammovement if you would like to follow me.


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