Riverland Professionals Series – Georgia Tsanavaras

I am asked on a daily basis for referrals to other professionals in the area. This is the first in a series of blog posts dedicated to professionals around the Riverland, whose skills and qualifications complement services received at Santosha.

For our first profile, I am pleased to introduce Georgia Tzanavaras, remedial massage therapist, Pilates instructor and tennis coach. Georgia is the owner of Wellness Pilates in Renmark. She has an amazing knowledge of the human body, how it works and how to get the most out of it.


What is your profession? What areas do you have qualifications and training in? 

I currently teach Physical Education and Pilates Movement and I am a Remedial Massage therapist. I hold a Master Trainer Certification with Australian Institute of Fitness and I am a Certified Tennis Coach (Club Professional) with Tennis Australia. I am also registered with the Teachers Registration Board in SA.

At a very young age my passion for Exercise and Sport led me to decide that I would like to follow a career that involves movement and teach sport. I studied Sports Science and Physical Education at the Kapodestrian University of Athens and specialised in Tennis.

I worked for several years overseas with schools, sporting clubs and gyms before I came to Australia. By that time movement through the Pilates Method and it’s benefits for athletes and for general wellbeing had already been in my thoughts. I was introduced to the Pilates world overseas via seminars.

When I came to Australia I decided to study Pilates through the Pilates Method Association (APMA) and I currently hold a Diploma in Pilates Movement Therapy. I started my own Pilates Practice in 2006 whilst I was working part time for the Education Department.

Ever since my passion for my practice grew and I dedicated more time in educating my clients about the benefits of Pilates Movement. I decided to extend my clinical knowledge to a “hands on” through Massage Therapy to further assist people with chronic pain and I studied Remedial Massage therapy.

I was rewarded with the Diploma in Remedial Massage in 2012 and I have combined Pilates and Remedial Massage in my Practice ever since.

What does your job involve on a daily basis?

On a daily basis I teach Pilates at my Practice “Wellness Pilates” in a small or bigger group classes and I see clients in between classes for Remedial Massage Therapy.

 

What is your biggest life achievement?

My biggest achievement is growing my family in Australia. I have two beautiful daughters, Maria and Yianna that fill my life with joy every day.

At a younger age, I played Volley ball at professional level (overseas) and reached the National level as a Tennis Player.

What is one thing you can help clients with (that the general population may not realise)?

I can help people with emotional and physical pain through Pilates breathing and exercise as well Massage Therapy. My main goal is to help people take their Wellbeing in their own hands.

Where are you located?

I am located in 53 James Ave Renmark, near the public library on the river front. All information is also available through my website: www.wellnesspilates.com.au

What do you enjoying doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy walking at the beach and spending quality time with my family.

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Importance of Movement in Kids

In 1999 a teacher named Phil Lawler in Naperville, Illinois read an article that stated the health of US children was declining due to inactivity. Looking inside the school gym he saw a lot of kids that were in fact inactive. He decided to shift the focus of the ph

ysical Education class to cardiovascular fitness. Once a week students had to run a mile. Assessments were based on effort and reaching personal bests rather than skill. Non-athletes were allowed to train on bikes. He also brought in heart rate monitors to ensure the students were pushing themselves. “Your goal is to run your fastest mile…your average heart rate should be above 185.”

While this improved their performance within the school (lessons were re-shuffled to ensure those that required the most concentration were at the beginning of the day), since 1999 it has also made a huge impact on their results internationally. Academically this school performs way above any others in the area. In 1999 the 8th graders scored 1st in the world in science and 6th in the world in Maths. US schools as a whole ranked 18th in science and 19th in maths, with some areas scoring last in the world.

 

How does exercise improve learning and brain function?

Exercise encourages our brain to work at its optimum level, it causes nerve cells to multiply, connections between nerves are strengthened and they are also protected from damage. We get more oxygen and blood flow to the brain and a release of endorphins which are happy hormones that reduce stress and improve our mood.

In children, exercise has been shown to reduce restlessness and hyperactivity, decrease symptoms of ADHD, improve moods and immunity, and it also improves sleep which further enhances all the other benefits listed. It has also been shown to increase energy levels. Imagine if your child began the day with more energy, a better mood and was more settled. Imagine how much better their ability to learning would be.

Movement particularly from birth to 3.5 years is essential for laying down appropriate pathways for learning and development. It is how the brain learns to relate to the world around it. Movement develops optimal posture, eye movement and control through balance and co-ordination, better reading and better fine motor control which is crucial for handwriting.

 

How to get kids moving

  • Walking or riding a bike to school. Even if you live too far away to walk/ride the whole way, park a little distance from school and walk/ride the remainder
  • If there is time to watch TV in the morning, there is time to send the kids outside in the backyard. Bike riding, jumping on the trampoline, running around, kicking the footy, whatever it may be
  • Get to school early and play on the playground before going into class
  • Give them goals
    • “See how long it will take you to run around the backyard” and time them while you’re getting yourself ready. Then do it a second time and see if they can beat their time
    • “Go outside and see if you can get 10 goals” or “See how many goals you can get in a row” (Basketball, soccer, football)
  • Organise friends to walk/ride with before or to school
  • Ask them what activities they like and incorporate these into the daily or weekly routine
  • Get the family up 20 minutes earlier to ensure there is a little more time before school

While exercise in the morning is the best time for learning, any time is better than not at all. Even after school limiting screen time is so important for many reasons besides getting the body moving more.

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Child and Maternal Health Month Wrap-up

Empower Nuture Nourish

Due to an influx of pregnant patients (we have had 7 patients give birth in 2 months!!) I was inspired to dedicate a month of information sessions aimed to educate and empower parents to give their children the best start to life. After setting this intention, things fell into place. 3 speakers just about fell in my lap, so planning began for Santosha’s Child and Maternal Health Month in Feburary. Each speaker focussed on a different aspect of children’s and family health. We covered birth, breastfeeding, maternal mental health, childhood development and raising a healthy family through diet and nutrition. The information was really well-received and we had some great feedback.

The month started off with Louise McCartney. She covered many aspects of 20th century health from why our diets are making us sick, to things to avoid and why ‘gut health’ is so important. We were at capacity for Louise’s talk and I am still investigating the possibility of her coming back for a second presentation. Some feedback from the presentation:

“Louise is extremely informative, providing information that is hard to access in mainstream medicine.”
“Very informative.”
“I have heard Louise speak 4 times now and every time I attend one of her sessions I learn something new or remember the importance of something.”

Louise McCartney

 

Our second speaker was Rebecca Kubenk, a lactation consultant and expert on Tongue-ties, speaking about breastfeeding and tongue-tie. This was information that is hard to find! Rebecca is extremely knowledgable on these topics and those who came went away with a sense of empowerment.

“Having had 2 children with ties, I learn something every time i talk to Rebecca. I wish I knew when my kids were babies, what i know now.”

On the same weekend Sarah Menadue from RDGP spoke to the mums about mental health particularly around having a new baby. She shared information about where to turn to in times of need and different services available in the Riverland.

Sarah Menadue

 

Anna Siebert, an Adelaide based doula (see her blog post 8 things you might not know about doulas). Anna spoke about all things birth, particuarly things you may not hear in your traditional birthing class. She covered a history of birthing practices, why we do what we do and how to have your best birth (yes! it can be enjoyable). We received a lot of verbal feedback (nothing in writing) but the general consensus was that Anna’s knowledge was extremely empowering and those who attended felt more prepared for their upcoming birth and labour.

Anna Siebert

The last weekend in February I presented to a small group on “Optimising Learning and Development”. Discussion was focussed on the normal milestones of development from infancy to childhood and why each of those are so important. I also explained what may impact these normal stages and how to prevent this from happening in children. This presentation was aimed at parents, but is extremely important information for any care-giver or teacher. Some feedback received:

“Catherine spoke very well and made us feel comfortable enough to ask questions and comment.”
“I found it very informative.”

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