For the past number of years, I have had a growing interest in female physiology and its impact on physical health and performance. The more I learned the more frustrated I became that the industry of sport and sports medicine barely acknowledges the variations in women never mind addresses them. The general rule has always been that unless she is pregnant or breastfeeding, a woman can be assumed to be exactly like a man and treated accordingly. This view has been easy to perpetuate given the staggering gender data gap in the scientific literature that has left women severely underrepresented. Women and all of us who work with them have had little choice but to beg for scraps from the table of male-dominated research. It was easy to adopt a “Well sure it’s close enough” approach until more research directly focused on female physiology started to make it clear that in many areas, women do not respond the same way as men and often have completely opposite outcomes. As a physio who has always strived to keep my practice based on scientific research, I have found it hard to admit that the evidence base I draw from in my work only directly applies to 50% of the clients I treat, the men.
The rise of female participation in sports and performance training is driving change in the research landscape. While there is still huge work to be done there is now a much greater understanding of female biology in relation to sport and performance.
I have followed the growing body of research, relieved to have more understanding of my clients and also to my own biology but I grew frustrated when I realised how little of it seems to be filtering down to the everyday elements of the industry.
After some exacerbated conversations with friends and colleagues, I decided to do something about it and set up The Physio Nomad. I have started running webinars and workshops for female athletes and for coaches, trainers and healthcare professionals who work with them. This page is an extension of my goal to get clear and practical information out of the research articles and into the hands of the people who need it most.