Physio Focus – Zoe Butler

About Zoe

Zoe has been studying and working as a Physiotherapist since 2009. She has worked in a number of private practices in Adelaide in a number of different fields, making the move over to Melbourne to join Balance & Control Pilates & Physiotherapy in 2016.

Zoe practices Physiotherapy in a holistic manner, taking into account the mind, body and gut when working with clients to improve their pain and function. This has been strengthened by the recent addition of Japanese Acupuncture to her skill set. Zoe really enjoys using the combination of Acupuncture with more traditional Physiotherapy techniques (such as dry needling, McKenzie Method, Pilates, manual therapy) and the effect it has on the body and movement.

In particular, Zoe loves working with those who have back pain (acute or chronic). The more complicated, the better! With her holistic approach and emphasis on education and empowerment, she gets results.

About Acupuncture

Japanese Acupuncture is an ancient technique used to treat a number of ailments. It works on regulating the balance of hormones, chemicals, and your nervous systems and immune systems to resolve pathology.

Japanese Acupuncture involves the gentle insertion of tiny needles into specific points on your meridians. This helps to stimulate, diffuse or unblock the flow of energy (Ki), blood and fluids along these meridian pathways.

The acupuncture model is based on the idea that our organs are all attached to a meridian, and the meridians circulate energy (Ki), blood and fluids through the organs. All our organs need to be functioning to be healthy, but sometimes an organ system can become imbalanced, causing disruptions to the flow, and symptoms follow.

Symptoms of system imbalance include but are not limited to:
• Musculoskeletal pain/stiffness (often on affected meridians)
• Hot flushes / persistent cold
• Mood fluctuations – angry, irritable, anxious, agitated, flat
• Gut trouble – bloating, tummy pain, food intolerances, constipation, loose bowels
• Poor sleep – trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, or waking up feeling tired
• Low energy levels
• Poor appetite

When there is system imbalance it is often tricky to get lasting relief with traditional Physio, as it isn’t treating the root cause of the problem (the organ systems). So the combination of Physiotherapy and Acupuncture can be incredibly effective.

Click here to view Zoe’s availability and to book a session with her in Prahran

The importance of a SHOULDER ‘SHRUG’ and why “down and back” may not be the answer

Anyone who has experienced shoulder injury or pain will be aware of the importance of shoulder posture. Scapula (shoulder blade) positioning has a significant impact in reducing the risk of cervical (neck), thoracic and shoulder pain and in improving upper body posture in general.

The oh-so-common instruction to “stand up straight” may still be ringing in your ears from conscientious parental direction, but what does the instruction actually mean and how to know you’re doing it correctly?

In this short post we will cover how to position your shoulder blades correctly and how to strengthen the surrounding muscles, as the first step to achieving efficient upper body posture.

During your Pilates sessions you no doubt will have been cued to slide your shoulder blades “down and back” along the rib cage. The thing to be mindful of, however, is that forcin* your shoulder blades down (depression) can do more harm than good! Here’s why:

Anatomically, forcing downward rotation reduces the sub-acrominal space that the rotator cuff tendons pass through. This causes traction of the neuro-vascular bundle as these structures pass through the thoracic outlet.
The following picture shows the scapula in a ‘downward rotation’ position. Note the gap between the acromion process and the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) is reduced.

As a more sustainable alternative, follow these two shoulder blade movements for more freedom and ease in your shoulder movements

1. Upward rotation, and
2. Posterior tilt.

Ideally, these two movements happen naturally when you elevate your arm, but if they don’t, it can often lead to shoulder pain.

The picture below shows a larger gap between the acromion and the humeral head allowing more room for the rotator cuff tendons to pass through – more towards the ideal alignment that will reduce the chances of injury.

Upward Rotation instructions:

One of the most effective exercises is the simple shrug.
Starting position: Stand up tall with your arms by your side, thumbs pointing forwards or out to the sides.
Action: Lift the shoulder blade gently up and back on a diagonal. You should feel the muscle at the top of the shoulder, your upper trapezius activate.
• Add a small weight, start with 500g, this can be progressed up to 3 kg.
• Progress to holding the arm at 30 degrees out to the side and your palm facing forwards. This helps to isolate the upper trapezius due to the orientation of the muscle-fibres.
• Your upper trapezius muscle is an endurance muscle, so we want to use endurance reps, 3 x 12-15 reps is sufficient once- twice a day.
HOT TIP: As you perform a shrug, make sure your shoulder blade is moving diagonally back and not coming forwards. You can put your opposite hand fingertips directly onto the muscle, feeling the upper trapezius turn on between the base of the neck and the shoulder.

Posterior Tilt Instructions:
Starting position: In standing with the arm by your side.
Action: Think of an opening of the collar bone or a separation of the collar bone at the front. You should feel the shoulder blades sliding back against the rib cage, without drawing down.

These exercises are perfect for anyone who has rounded shoulders and shoulders that point downward, anyone who has one shoulder that sits lower than the other, or to generally improve shoulder function.

If you would like more information or to book a Physiotherapy consultation with Physiotherapist and Rehab Pilates Instructor at Balance & Control Pilates Studio Sam Ziman, call the Carlton Studio on 9347 9052.

Sam writes a regular blog – check it out for more information and ideas

Happy Shrugging


New 2016 Practitioner – Melissa Salvia

As we continue to grow the BCPS team through 2016, we’d love to introduce our wonderful clients to the most recent addition to the team – a real asset in Western Australian Physio and Rehab Pilates Pracitioner Melissa Salvia. Melissa has recently relocated to Melbourne to undertake a three-year Masters in Acupuncture at RMIT.

Melissa’s availabilities for both Physiotherapy sessions and Rehab Pilates Sessions at the Richmond Studio are:
Monday evenings,
Wednesday evenings,
Thursday mornings and afternoons.

Book a session with Melissa here

Mel Salvia02 Mel Salvia Profile Pic02_small Mel Salvia01

Melissa graduated from Curtin University of Technology early 2009. Over the past 7 years, she has been working privately in the area of musculoskeletal & sports physiotherapy and Pilates exercise rehabilitation. During this time she has taken a special interest in the treatment of chronic & psychosomatic pain disorders, energetic healing, sporting injuries and postural & biomechanical movement disorders. Furthermore, Melissa has a keen interest in sports injury management and rehabilitation, with four years experience working as head sports trainer with the WAAFL and assisting with various teams including NSW Rhythmic Gymnastics, Perth Glory Juniors and Salzburg Ballet Company. Her clinical experience also includes hydrotherapy, occupational & industrial health and home rehabilitation.

Melissa has completed a Diploma in Professional Pilates Instruction with Polestar Pilates Australia to further progress her movement analysis skills and expand her exercise repertoire. She has also undertaken further study in sports physiotherapy management, women’s health Pilates, RTUS, Power Plate, advanced biomechanical and pelvic assessment, dry needling, chronic pain, Reiki and the Franklin Method to name a few.

Melissa is currently moving towards being a more holistic practitioner and is exploring different forms of energetic healing and ways of obtaining whole body health. Personally, Melissa has a passion for all forms of movement & dance, and enjoys participating in Xtend Barre, Burlesque, Martial Arts and Yoga and hopes to encourage her clients to move to the best of their ability whilst having fun.

We are sure you will find sessions with Melissa very effective and enjoyable as you continue towards you health and wellbeing goals in 2016.

Book a session with Melissa here

Mat Pilates

What is Mat Pilates and why should you do it?

Mat Pilates is performed on the ground using a Pilates mat, often alongside other equipment including Therabands, Magic Circles and Pilates balls.

Mat Pilates

A Mat Pilates workout is no doubt challenging, but it provides a fantastic opportunity to tone and condition the deeper muscles of the body. The classes provide a full body workout. An instructor will guide you through conditioning exercises for the entire body in particularly the abdominals, arms, legs and glutes.

Mat Pilates lengthens and tones the body, however it is not only beneficial for the superficial outcome, but for learning how to use the correct muscles to avoid injury. The classes also work on your breathing to best compliment the movement, a great way to set you up for the day ahead or to de-stress at the end of the day.

Mat Pilates

At Balance & Control Pilates Studio as the classes have limited numbers, and are smaller than at many other group fitness centres, we have the opportunity to cater the classes to what our clients want to work on.

There is also a friendly, casual environment in a group class. We welcome people of different walks of life and Pilates experience levels.To see our Mat Pilates timetable, click here to head to our Mat and Allegro page.


Don’t take a break – Bone up on Osteoporosis Day

Today. 20th October is International Osteoporosis Day.  

We love being able to play our part in developing awareness of Osteoporosis, and are privileged to work regularly with the Osteoporosis population in managing the effects of Osteoporosis.  The widely adaptable scope of Pilates allows for modifications of the program to apply gentle exercises to strengthen and align bones and muscles into optimal function.

Below are some quick Osteoporisis FAQ’s to identify if you are at risk of developing osteoporosis.  If you or anyone you know could fit into this category, you may be able to benefit from Pilates at Balance & Control Pilates.  Let us know via the contact page.

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Are you at risk of developing osteoporosis?

What are risk factors for osteoporosis?

  • A history of fractures
  • Loss of height in the last decade
  • Early menopause in women
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Gut absorption problems
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Long-term steroid use
  • A very low body mass

Who should be screened by their GP?

  • Any woman over age 65
  • Any man over 70

What can you do about prevention and therapy for bone thinning?

  • Calcium and Vit D supplements
  • Walking at least 30 minutes daily
  • Resistance Exercise at least 3times each week for 30 mins
  • Stop/ Reduce alcohol and smoking
  • Reduce carbonated beverages
  • Reduce salt intake

How does Pilates help?

  • Pilates uses body weight and springs for resistance exercise.
  • Pilates helps you improve your
  • posture, balance and co-ordination, muscle strength, and bone density.
  • Research has established that variety of exercise is important for bone density.


Further information is available at


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Tram Line Upgrade Victoria Street throughout January

Please be aware of the tram works on Victoria Street throughout January. We expect traffic in surrounding streets to be heavier than normal during the works from Wednesday 8th January to Thursday 23rd January. Parts of Victoria Street including the Victoria Street Bridge will be completely closed to traffic during this period. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of your Pilates you can easily access the studio via Leslie Street from Buckingham street. If you need to cross the Yarra River from Hawthorn/Kew we suggest using Bridge Road then coming along River Street or Burnley Street.

Full details from Yarra Trams below

Routes 24, 30, 31 and 109 – Track renewal and maintenance work – Wednesday 8 to Friday 24 January

As part of the modernisation of Melbourne’s tram network, Yarra Trams and Public Transport Victoria will be renewing the tram tracks on Victoria Street bridge, between River Boulevard and Findon Crescent in Richmond. This work is part of the Victoria Street bridge refurbishment. During this time, maintenance work will also take place between Burnley Street and Church Street. The major work on Victoria Street bridge will take place from approximately 1am on Wednesday 8 January and continue 24 hours a day until 5am on Friday 24 January 2014. This renewal work will take longer to complete than other track renewal projects due to the complexity of working on a bridge, as well as additional bridge strengthening works. Tram service changes – first tram Wednesday 8 January to last tram Thursday 23 January 2014 No trams will operate on Victoria Street between Stop 29 Barkers Road & High Street and Stop 18 Hoddle Street & Victoria Parade. Route 109 trams will divert via Route 48 along Bridge Road, between Stop 29 Barkers Road & High Street and Stop 8 Spring Street & Collins Street. Route 31 will operate normally with additional trams on Route 31a each day. These trams will operate approximately every 20 minutes from first to last tram, between Stop 12 St Vincent’s Plaza and Stop 18 Hoddle Street & Victoria Parade. Route 24 will not operate during the work. Passenger should consider taking Route 48, 75 or 109 trams during this time. Route 48 and 75 will operate as normal.


Preliminary work – 6am Thursday 2 January to 1am Wednesday 8 January 2014 Preliminary work to prepare the site for construction will begin at approximately 6am on Thursday 2 January and continue until the bridge track renewal work commences on Wednesday 8 January. This work significantly reduces the amount of time that the site needs to be closed to trams and traffic during the major work. The work will include the unloading and pre-welding of rail, and will take place as per the table below. Details of the times, locations, and effect on traffic of the project are as follows:

Preliminary Work

Location Date and time of work Effect on vehicle traffic
Victoria Street, between River Boulevard and Findon Crescent Thursday 2 to Wednesday 8 January, 6am to 10pm Partial road closures on Victoria Street.

Major work

Location Date and time of work Effect on vehicle traffic
Work zone 1Victoria Stree,t between Burnley Street and Findon Crescent 1am Wednesday 8 to 5am Friday 24 January Victoria Street bridge closed to all traffic. Full road closure on Victoria Street between River Boulevard and Findon Crescent. Partial road closures on Victoria St/Barkers Road between Burnley Street and High Street South.

Maintenance work

Location Date and time of work Effect on vehicle traffic
Work zone 2Victoria Street, between McKay Street and Burnley Street. 5am Saturday 11 to 5am Monday 13 January Full road closure on Victoria Street between McKay Street & Burnley Street. McKay St & Burnley St will remain open to traffic. Vehicles from Burnley Street will not be allowed to turn left onto Victoria Street.


Effect of major work on traffic Full and partial road closures will be in place on Victoria Street, and Victoria Street bridge will be closed to all vehicle traffic during the project. Please see the table on the previous page for details. Traffic will be diverted around the work zones during this time.




The renewal of more than 200 metres of tram track will improve safety for everyone, as well as deliver a better road surface for motorists and cyclists, a smoother ride for tram passengers, and less tram noise associated with potholes, broken rails and wheel squealing. Associated noise from machinery, vehicles and work crews will be unavoidable but Yarra Trams will do all it can to keep this to a minimum. The use of reverse beepers and flashing lights is a safety requirement and these devices cannot be switched off. We thank you for your patience and regret any inconvenience caused by this essential renewal and maintenance work. We advise that it is being performed in accordance with our obligations to Public Transport Victoria and is necessary to maintain a safe tram network as required by the Rail Safety Act 2006 (Vic). Accordingly Yarra Trams will not be compensating third parties for any losses incurred during the conduct of the work.

Share your Pilates successes

Let us know what Pilates success you’ve had recently… here’s an email that came in today……
“I have to share what Pilates has done for my body.

Pretty much pain free and the revelation is ……. now my core-to-ribcage connection is better.. and guess what….. the shoulders are released!! I reckon I just joined some dots for me and also my clients.

Also the left hip bursitis, medial knee ligament stuff and brain block on my left gluts has really improved. Now standing strong into the left leg, and actually lengthening the shortened waist on that side…… what Scoliosis?

I think I get this Pilates thing now!!”


The Hidden Benefit of Tremors & Shaking in Pilates‏ – Information Workshop

Saturday 31st August – 2pm-5pm

Early-bird price $79

(book before EOD Wed 28th August)

Usual price $109

at Balance & Control Pilates Studio, 474 Victoria St, Richmond, 3121

Learn how to release stress and tension by invoking your body’s own innate tremor release mechanism.

The TRE approach is that the common experience of shaking muscles during a workout can actually relate to a deeper physical release of tension than is otherwise possible through our conscious control!

This shaking response, termed ‘Neurogenic Tremors’ can be considered as the body’s innate reflex to release deeply held unconscious tension-patterns as a way to create a deeper connection with ourselves and our movement.

In this workshop Executive Director of Trauma Release Australia, Physiotherapist, and TRE Level 3 Trainer Richmond Heath will teach you how to intentionally activate these tremors in a safe and controlled way using simple exercises that can then be used on an ongoing basis to help create greater freedom, flexibility and functional movement in your life.

Watch these videos to find out more about the TRE approach, including an introduction to this workshop by Richmond Heath.

For more information regarding TRE, visit

TRE-logo-dark-greenthe Australia site

TRE_logoor the International site


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November Newsletter

Read the Balance & Control Pilates November Newsletter here

Including the following news:

  • November Merchandise Special
  • New morning Allegro classes
  • Client Christmas party
  • Zac’s back
  • New team members
  • Tanya’s a Poster Girl!
  • Franklin Method Workshops
  • Christmas closure dates
  • Spring Wine Recommendation
  • Updated Website
  • Staff Christmas Party


Balance & Control Pilates turns 7!

May 29th marked the 7th anniversary since we opened the doors back in 2004. Many thanks to all the hundreds of our wonderful clients who have walked through the doors since for making it all possible and who continue to allow us to do what we love in providing the highest quality Pilates and Physiotherapy services available in Melbourne. Happy Birthday to us- Yeah!