24 January, 2022, by Olaf Tomscheit

Nutrition consulting: opportunities for physiotherapists

Why nutrition is such an interesting topic for physiotherapists

Physiotherapy is in transition. While on the one hand physiotherapy chains are emerging, the image of the individual practices is changing gradually, also driven especially by private services. What role can nutrition play here? FIBO enquired.

Michael Heßberger and his wife operate a private physiotherapy practice in the German town of Johannesberg. In this municipality with a population of just over 4,000 near Aschaffenburg the two professionals offer shiatsu, yoga and nutrition advice in addition to manual therapies. In the past their practice was primarily funded by doctor’s referrals – over recent years, however, the percentage of revenue generated by private patients has risen markedly.  

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Oliver Wachenfeld

FIBO: Michael, why do you feel that nutrition takes on an important role in physiotherapy practices? 

Michael: After converting my practice more and more to self-funded clients, I now see myself more as a health service provider. Nutrition is an important part of health but my patients and/or customers often lack even the key basics about nutrition. This is why I try to raise their awareness about nutrition themes in general during one session. This is received well for the most part.   

FIBO: Are there situations where this results in the provision of nutrition advice? 

Michael: Since many physical complaints are caused by chronic or acute inflammation, I often end up taking about nutrition with my patients. I acquired the relevant knowledge two years ago at the Academy for Natural Cures while undergoing training as an expert consultant for holistic health. This allows me to advise my patients and/or customers in one-on-one conversations by means of nutritional tips and education. This completes the holistic therapy approach in our practice. 

FIBO: How does nutrition then contribute to the revenue streams of the practice? 

Michael: The integration of the nutrition theme contributes to the satisfaction of my patients and/or customers. As a result, they consult us more frequently and give us referrals. This is a benefit not to be underestimated. At the same time, I also recommend a fermented concentrate. This is not exactly cheap but I do stand behind the product 100%. Fermentation retains the most important vitamins, trace elements and minerals. I am paid a small commission on that. 

FIBO: Michael, could you imagine widening the nutrition segment in your practice one day? 

Michael: Yes, in spring we now want to offer courses where we centre on the importance of exercise, nutrition and relaxation. From the nutritional standpoint the courses will revolve around healthy recipes and education about a meaningful composition of meals. We expect this course to motivate the group and also be fun.  

FIBO: Thank you very much Michael, we wish you continued success.  

The interview was conducted by Olaf Tomscheit, industry insider and FIBO expert.

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