Tools for Measuring and Managing Functional Movement [interview transcript]


Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest: Dr. Andrew Lemon
Guest Bio: Dr. Andrew Lemon is an Osteopath and Functional Movement Specialist working in private practice in Melbourne. He is one of only four Osteopaths to be qualified in Applied Functional Science from the Gray Institute in the USA. Andrew also works as Co-Director of the Functional Movement Group.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, learn about the therapeutic education company the Functional Movement Group. They run courses focusing on movement assessment and training throughout Australia and New Zealand. They also specialise in clinical product innovation such as the Movement Assessment Tool (M.A.T) which is designed to help health professionals in both private practice and hospital settings collect measurable data for any movement such as distance, angulation and verticality to achieve better treatment outcomes.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. Today my guest is Andrew Lemon of the Functional Movement Group. Andrew is joining us to tell us what the group does and where they fit into the health industry. Hello to you Andrew.

Dr. Andrew Lemon: Hi there Wayne. Thanks for having me.

W: A pleasure. Now Andrew, tell us about the Functional Movement Group. What are their products and services?

L: Sure. Well Wayne The Functional Movement Group are professional development providers for healthcare professionals and we’re also clinical product innovators and the inventors of the movement assessment tool. So we provide a range of different courses that really focus on functional movement and so looking at an active approach to treatment for healthcare professionals and therapists and also looking at better measurement of movement itself using the movement assessment tool.

W: Now Andrew, you’re based in Melbourne but what geographic footprint do you service?

L: Well Wayne our courses, we’re obviously as you say mostly in Melbourne and that’s where we practice. We do also after work as therapists ourselves, myself and co-director Stephen King but we run our courses on across Australia. So all up and down the East Coast and make our way across to Adelaide and Western Australia as well but we’re also running courses in New Zealand too.

W: I see. Do you notice much difference between New Zealand and Australia?

L: (chuckles) There’s a little bit of a difference in terms of some of the osteopaths that we work with there but realistically, all therapists are they’re trying to do the same job as best they can and that’s help their patient.

W: One of the nice things about the human body is it’s just one model all around the world really, isn’t it?

L: Well that’s right. You know I mean, but certainly there is a need to be able to understand the individual and being able to look at a person as an individual, particularly when it comes to the way that they move because we all are a little bit different in that regard and that’s where we find you know some of our stuff in terms of being able to better understand movement and being able to measure a bit better with the Movement Assessment Tool the M.A.T really comes in handy.

W: Now Andrew, explain this Movement Assessment Tool to me.

L: Sure. So the “Movement Assessment Tool” or the M.A.T. as we like to call it. It really came out of a need to be able to better quantify and measure movement. What we found was that we were, we went to about looking at the quality of movement – being able to look to someone and so whether or not we thought they were moving well or moving poorly. But we really struggle to be able to put a number on things. And when we looked out into the market and what was available already, a lot of the things that was there were quite big, quite cumbersome and maybe a little bit hard as you use in the terms of the tools. So what we decided was we needed to develop something that we could use to be able to put a measurement on movement and be able to quantify it. But to do so in a way that was easy to use and convenient for practitioners particularly in Australia, because in Australia you know we really find that a lot of clinicians and a lot of practices have quite a small clinical treatment bases. So we need something that was small and easy to use as well. So what we developed was a tool that it’s a rubber and not similar to something that you might find in a yoga studio or something like that. And it’s got a lot of markings printed on it and what that it does is it allows us to measure things like distance in movement, we can also measure angulations in movement and then even using a foldable roller that comes with the movement assessment tool, it can even measure the verticality of it. What that allows us to do is really set up a baseline for movement data. And we find this particularly handy for when health professionals encounter a patient for the first time, you can really even give them a bit of a profile on where they’re at the first time you see them. So being able to provide some really good information, on that initial screen that a lot of healthcare professionals will perform.

W: I see.

L: From there, what that allows us to do is really track a patient’s progression as well because once we have that initial data we can really see, “Okay well how’s our intervention in terms of treatment or rehabilitative training?” things like that. How is it actually progressing this patient and we find that’s really handy not only for the practitioner but it’s good for the patient as well to be able to see how they’re tracking along and allows them to see whether or not they are improving and probably improves that buy in into the treatment to which is really important for someone’s progression.

W: You’re listening to Wayne Bucklar on Health Professional Radio and I’ve been in conversation with Andrew Lemon, the director of the Functional Movement Group. Andrew’s been telling us about the Movement Assessment Tool that they’ve released into the market. Now Andrew, you also run a lot of clinical training courses. Tell us about that.

L: So we have 2 course offerings at the moment Wayne that we offer to a range of healthcare professionals. So we see a lot of physiotherapists, a lot of osteopaths but other professionals that particularly work hands on with their patients and we even see people involved in the strength and conditioning in the fitness industry as well. But the courses that we offer are first and foremost we have our “M.A.T.” course which once again looks at how we can use the Movement Assessment Tool in practice and particularly focuses on some key assessment ideas ranging from looking at how we can assess the lower limb moving up to through the spine and even to how the shoulder functions and works as well. So that’s a one day course that really goes into great depths and detail on how you can use the Movement Assessment Tool and use it as your great basis for functional movement assessment. They can be used the next day with any patient that you see. After that, we have another course offering called “Function 101” and this really goes into even more depths at looking at movement assessment as well as how you can use that active movement and training approach to your actual treatment with a patient or with a client, so just pretty clinical with how we can look at those movement ideas and it’s about developing movement … ability and all three planes of motion but also goes into a bit of depths on how neuroscience can even affect how we move and even how pain can influence some of these things as well. So we find it particularly useful for anyone that deals with chronic pain type patients as well.

W: Now Andrew for people want more information about this, what’s the website they can go to?

L: Well Wayne they should go to and from there they can get plenty of information on the Movement Assessment Tool or the M.A.T. as well as our course offerings and any of the future courses and education opportunities that we may provide. I should also mention that for anyone that goes to that website, if you sign up to our newsletter we have a free screening documentation that’s a downloadable pdf file and that goes through some great key movements that can be used either with a mat or it can even be used without the mat itself but they’re all tests that are really backed well in the literature and could use any health professionals some better ideas on how they can use movement assessment as part of their practice.

W: It sounds like a valuable tool. Andrew what’s the greatest misconception about your products and services that drives you nuts and keep you awake at night?

L: (chuckles) I think that’s a pretty good question Wayne. It’s probably the biggest issue that we have is what’s in our name itself and that’s “Functional Movement.” I think in the current world of health and fitness, functional movement is probably considered to be something that is more based on certain tools or techniques in the industry. So often people think about balancing on one leg or standing on a bouncy ball or a wobble board maybe using something like a kettlebell or a medicine ball to actually perform exercise or movement. And I guess the problem is that it’s not really the cases of the tool of the technique, it’s really it should be something that’s more around the understanding behind the movement. It should make either functional or non-functional for an individual. So for us, our consideration is that a functional movement is one that has real meaning for that person who’s performing as part of their training. So it needs to be something that actually based on whatever their wants, their needs and their goals that they want to be able to achieve when it comes to movement. And so that’s where we feel that we provide some really great understanding in terms of how this works for an individual. So looking at how an individual moves and being able to interpret through the use of principles and strategies of the movement whether or not this is something that is actually functional for that person and it’s gonna actually help them progress to where they want or need to get to. So that’s probably the thing that drives us a bit crazy and that people maybe don’t consider that when they think about functional movement in itself.

W: Andrew it’s been a pleasure to talk with you this morning and for people who need more information the website is the place to go. We’ll have transcript of this interview and an audio sound archive of it at our website on My name is Wayne Bucklar. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio.