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Why has a physio started doing aesthetics treatments?

Updated: Apr 9, 2023

Apart from interest and always wanting to learn something new there are a couple of reasons why someone like me, who is a physiotherapist by profession, wanted to get into aesthetics.

Of all the healthcare professionals that can train in and perform aesthetics treatments, such as doctors, dentists, nurses or pharmacists – physios probably understand muscle function and dysfunction the most. The lines and wrinkles in the face are caused by the contraction of muscles – the frontalis in the forehead, the procerus and corrugators between the eyebrows and orbicularis oculi around the eyes.

An anti-wrinkle treatment aims to reversibly reduce the contraction of muscles and reduce the appearance of these wrinkles. In fact, suitably trained physiotherapists are already licensed and insured to deliver botulinum toxin injections for headache and migraine. Many of the injection points used are the same points used for aesthetics treatments.

Now I mentioned healthcare professionals just now as in the UK, we have a bizarre situation where there is no legislation around who can perform these treatments. Your hairdresser or even you builder could inject you with botulinum toxin or filler bought off the internet from abroad and you would have no idea what that product was. People still get treatment at “Botox parties” not realising that it is a prescription only medication that must be prescribed for you by a healthcare professional following a face-to-face consultation where you are made aware of what side effects you can expect and how they will be managed for you should they arise.

You could still have a non-healthcare professional deliver a treatment for you in a reputable clinic where a prescription has been made by a healthcare colleague within the same business, however outside of this you are unlikely to find a healthcare professional willing to make a prescription for people who they don’t work with as they will carry the responsibility for any adverse reaction even if they haven’t delivered the treatment.

The other reason I got into aesthetics is transferable skills. As a physiotherapist I have trained in ultrasound diagnostics for musculoskeletal conditions such as scanning a shoulder or a knee. I have also training in delivering ultrasound guided injections of steroid, hyaluronic acid and platelet rich plasma (PRP) into joints, tendons and bursa.

There is a movement now within the field of aesthetics to use ultrasound as a tool to safely deliver filler treatment. One can map the important veins and arteries in the face prior to administering filler injections so that no filler in injected into or close to a blood vessel that could cause what’s termed a vascular occlusion. Filler injections can be performed under ultrasound guidance, much like musculoskeletal injections are. Ultrasound can also be used to identify areas of filler that need to be dissolved if trying to reverse over filled facial features or dealing with a filler adverse reaction.

Taking blood and generating PRP for musculoskeletal injections is a skill I learned a couple of years ago, and it is also a method used for facial micro needling and treating hair loss.

So it seems obvious to me that a natural transition of utilising the knowledge and skills I already have lend themselves very well to the aesthetics arena.

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