Instructor profile: Hannah Barnes

Hannah1Full Circle instructor Hannah Barnes, a registered physiotherapist, has been taking her work out of the clinic and into the studio.

Originally from England, Hannah’s active lifestyle drew her to a career in physiotherapy: “I’ve always been interested in sports activities and being active,” she says. “Having a profession that was related to that was interesting to me.”

After a sport science degree at the University of Nottingham, she did a master’s degree in physio at Norwich University. It was during this journey that she became interested in Pilates, a physical fitness system targeting core strength, stability and balance that was developed by Joseph Pilates a century ago.

“It’s a form of exercise that really interested me,” Hannah says about the practice that is foundational to everyday life and activities. “That’s when I started to look into how I can tie all this together.”

An interest in living abroad and the opportunity to work on Vancouver Island brought Hannah to Canada, where she did Pilates training with Balanced Body in Vancouver. After seven years in Nanaimo, she moved to Smithers last spring. Today, she combines her physiotherapy experience and her Pilates training with rehabilitative Pilates classes at Full Circle.

“There’s a lot of influence from both, which I’ve found to be really helpful,” she says about the classes. “I’m bringing them together.”

Physio training looks at the musculoskeletal system while Pilates examines strength-balance fluctuations in the body. Each informs the other, Hannah says, and Pilates is an excellent complement to physio. Taking a class also gives her students the opportunity to regularly do their physio exercises — something that can easily fall by the wayside.

In 2018, Hannah completed a Pelvic Health Solutions course and began offering pelvic floor physiotherapy assessment and treatment for both men and women. Her new skills also inform her Pilates classes. According to Hannah: “The principles behind optimal pelvic floor health and function underline and complement the Pilates principles I am already teaching.”

Hannah’s classes guide people through a series of exercises with direction from a professional, while encouraging continuing the practice at home. Many of her students are seeing other physios or simply drop in out of interest, so she hears about their concerns and injuries before the series starts.

“It’s a nice way to get out of the clinic and still work on my patients,” she says.