<< Back to News
Older PeopleApr 23, 2024

Physio Xavier Rajarathnam books a castle as a venue to host his 'Secrets of Health Heroes' event

Kent-based physiotherapist Xavier Rajarathnam is planning to celebrate the achievements of the county's older people who stay fit and healthy by exercising regularly.

‘We are going to host an event on 19 June at the beautiful and historic Allington Castle near Maidstone, which we are calling the ‘Secrets of Health Heroes’. The plan is to invite a GP, a high-profile sporting personality, and an influential politician to be interviewed in front of an audience that will include up to 70 of our patients who are living longer by staying physically active – perhaps by playing sports or walking regularly.

‘We will select about 10 patients to come on to the podium to share the individual “secrets of their longevity” in short presentations, which we will record and transcribe. We will then pass this on to the local media as well as use their stories in our clinics and promotional materials, social media and newsletter to inspire others to follow their example. We even plan to publish a book at the end of the year.’

Xavier left his NHS post as an advanced physiotherapy practitioner and opened his first private practice in Kent in 2015 – ‘it was a single-handed business operating in one room with a friend acting as the receptionist’. Over the last nine years, his business acumen and personal drive have ensured his company, Xcel Health, has expanded and flourished. Typically, he pays tribute to his supportive business partner, paediatric physiotherapist Kavi Punniyakotti, and his highly motivated team of physios and backroom staff at this point.

Xavier with members of his experienced team, who are now based in four clinics in Kent

Power Diary
Power Diary

New premises will have state-of-the-art facilities 

‘We now have four clinics – in Maidstone, Bexley, Sheerness, and Sittingbourne – and employ about 70 people. In May, we’re going to open our new premises in Maidstone [Kent’s county town], which will have six treatment rooms and state-of-the-art facilities.’

Xavier moved to the UK after graduating in physiotherapy in India. Part of the inspiration for the ‘Secrets of Health Heroes’ event came from having seen how respected older people are in communities in his native country, and how many routinely carry on exercising – perhaps by practising yoga – well into their 80s, 90s and beyond.

In this country, by contrast, he has found that some older people, perhaps when they reach retirement age, have been conditioned to think that they should ‘put their feet up and stay at home’, while others are sidelined by pervasive stigmatising attitudes among their peers.

As a physiotherapist, I can’t do what Mr Buettner [of 'Blue Zones' fame] does, but I can do my part to encourage my older patients to enjoy as high a quality of life as possible and to gain the confidence to start exercising more [Xavier Rajarathnam]

‘I have one patient, for example, who was mortified to find that her friends had stopped inviting her to join their walking group because she had arthritis in her knees and was perceived to be slowing them down.’

On the plus side, Xavier can point to a nonagenarian patient who plays golf three times a week and a man in his seventies who still competes in the Kent squash league three times a week. ‘Men and women like him exercise five times or more a week, and it helps them have a good quality of life and helps their mental wellbeing too.’

Xavier has also noticed that having daily rituals can play an important role in stabilising people’s lives. ‘One guy I see has a tablespoon of virgin olive oil every morning, another meditates for 20 minutes a day. A third is determined to see his grandchildren on a daily basis.’

Secrets of the Blue Zone

Watching the Netflix series ‘Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zone’ , presented by author Dan Buettner, has also proved to be an inspiration for Xavier. ‘These programmes show how people are living very long and healthy lives in certain communities around the world by eating and exercising well.

‘As a physiotherapist, I can’t do what Mr Buettner does, but I can do my part to encourage my older patients to enjoy as high a quality of life as possible and to gain the confidence to start exercising more.’

Xavier has a special interest in shoulder injury rehabilitation, spinal mobilisation and managing running injuries. Trained at master’s level, he says he ‘blends together an array of clinical expertise including manipulation, acupuncture, soft tissue mobilisation and sports rehabilitation with advanced techniques such as injection therapy and independent medicine prescribing’.

The breadth of his intrests is reflcted in the fact that he is a member of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports and Exercise Medicine (Physios in Sport), the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Orthopaedic Medicine and Injection Therapy (ACPOMIT) [now part of APPN] and the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (AACP).

It's no surprise to discover that Xavier practises what he preaches in terms of having an active lifestyle. ‘I play badminton twice a week, lift weights in the gym and enjoy a 20 to 30-mile cycle ride with friends through the beautiful Kent countryside at weekends.

‘My wife and I also take several holidays together each year,’ he notes. Next up is a climbing holiday in Snowdonia, just before the official opening of the new premises in Maidstone. ‘I like to keep busy,’ Xavier explains – perhaps uncecessarily!

Author: Ian McMillan
Power Diary
Power Diary
<< Back to News
By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.