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ContinenceMay 18, 2021

PhysioUpdate Q&A: Elaine Miller, a physio who uses humour to break down taboos on continence issues

In an exclusive PhysioUpdate Q&A, pelvic health physio Elaine Miller – who describes herself as a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, an award-winning comedian and a recovered incontinent – answers questions posed by editor Ian A McMillan. Elaine is unapologetic if her no-holds-barred approach means she can successfully reach a new audience – even if she has ruffled a few feathers among her fellow professionals in the past.

In the spotlight: physio Elaine Miller on stage with Gusset Grippers in pre-lockdown days

Are physiotherapy and humour compatible?

Humour has long since been used in health. If you work in paediatrics or had a child in hospital, you’ll know the value of the Clown Doctors. Dr Patch Adams has been using clowning to huge effect since the 1970s and patient groups develop ‘in jokes’ that identify their ‘tribe’ and provide mutual support.

Dr Sophie Scott’s research showed that humour is a short cut for building bonds, and I think that’s especially true for therapeutic relationships. People who are funny instinctively know it works in some situations and not in others. I’ve seen physios use very dark humour to great effect – it’s a tool that can put patien...

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