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‘Physiotherapy, rehabilitation lifeblood of medicine’
BY MARIECAR JARA-PUYOD September 11, 2018
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DUBAI: Physiotherapy is the lifeblood of medicine, and while robotics will be so significant, one’s full rehabilitation and recovery from any disease as well as acute or chronic disability are also highly dependent on the environment and his connectivity to his roots or history.

These were from UAE and Italy-based specialists including one architect/interior designer who lectured and were interviewed on the sidelines of the “Conference on Innovations in Rehabilitation Practice” organised by the Gulf Medical University/GMU (Ajman) and the Valduce Hospital-Villa Beretta Facility (Como) on Monday.

The conference was held in relation to the annual observation of the “World Physiotherapy Day” every Sept.8.

It was on Monday that the new Thumbay Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Hospital (TPRH), the first-of-its kind in the region, located at the Thumbay Medicity in Ajman was opened for the public. Dubai Health Authority director general Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami inaugurated the hospital.

He toured the facility along with other dignitaries that included Indian Ambassador Navdeep Singh Suri, Italian Ambassador Liborio Stellino, Italian Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Valentina Setta, Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram, Emirates Physiotherapy Society president Amal Al Shamlan, Dubai Sports Council Secretary general Saeed Mohammad Hareb, and UAE Athletic Federation president Ahmad Al Kamali.

New technology

Al Qatami said the new centre, equipped with state-of-the-art robotics technology and highly-trained staff, will add to the increasing number of specialised medical facilities across the UAE.

He underscored the importance of medical education and training, saying these are the core of high quality care wherein the beneficiaries are the community resulting in patients living the best quality of life despite ailments, brought about by advanced physiotherapy and rehabilitation management and care.  

During the discussion, Thumbay Group founder/president Dr Thumbay Moideen said the hospital was built as a support to the growing number of future physiotherapists enrolled at GMU, “They will be trained there. They may also work there after graduation.”

GMU-College of Health Sciences dean Dr Praveen Kumar is of the opinion that physiotherapy and rehabilitation are the need of the times because of the prevalence of lifestyle diseases and injuries as a result of a stressful world.

“We must not delay rehabilitation and any form of physical therapy because it will delay the patient’s (return) to his normal way of life,” he said.

In answer to The Gulf Today question from the open forum that physiotherapy and rehabilitation are the lifeblood of medicine since any disease and disability or pain will completely be turned around, Kumar said that combined with a multi-disciplinary approach and teamwork, the goal is to bring normalcy in the life of a patient suffering from physical and/or mental challenges through consistent or repetitive exercises depending on each medical case.

On the sidelines and as a follow through to his comment at the open forum on enzymes and neurons in relation to a question on Epigenetics, visiting Dr Franco Molteni, whose keynote speech was on “From Cell to Society,” said there are enzymes that are produced and neurons that will be re-activated through physical and mental exercises.


In his speech, Molteni said all physiological functions and mobility are rooted on the brain.

He mentioned that physiotherapy and rehabilitation play a big role in sports medicine because the athletes’ pain and injury will have to be disconnected from their thoughts for the re-strengthening of their motor and mobility skills.

During an interview with him, he said, “If antibiotics were to kill bacteria at a certain dosage, exercise is a drug (that brings about the production of certain enzymes lost and the re-activation of certain neurons snapped) due to diseases and other body malfunctions as a result of trauma).”

Architect and interior designer for 15 years, Politecnico of Milan University-Building Technology associate professor Dr Maddalena D Alfonso was interviewed after her “Innovative Environments for Health Design” talk.

In the presentation, she featured how a team which she has been a part of reconstructed and restored the 456-year-old Ca’Granda Policlinico in Milan, some portions of which became rubble during World War II.

They maintained edifices from centuries-back.

It is all about restoring back to life people suffering from all forms of sickness and physical/mental constraints through “other life forms” and their heritage.

Today, the complex has kept its vegetable garden which had been there since 1456. Added are the flower/shrubs garden of various scents while a  “pet therapy” is being developed to house cats and dogs alongside another animals which would not only help patients “live.”

The complex has a rooftop garden which the public may visit.

“We believe that having that sense of belongingness with other members of the community will help the patients too,” said D Alfonso, adding that their strategy will also be beneficial to the medical staff and personnel.

On her big glass windows and profuse use of lights, she said these are also about having people get close to nature, a definitive healing force.

D Alfonso rated the immaculate and well-lit interiors of the new TPRH as excellent: “White is calm, so with the lights. Green is another good colour because it refreshes. It is nature. Red (agitates), it is not good for hospital.”

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