What can be done to help hermits

"With prevention we can arm ourselves against the virus"

Despite the coronavirus, the active centers remain open. Jeroen de Leur, a member of the management team at the Physio Care Center in Einsiedeln, considers prevention to be an ideal means of preventing the health system from being overloaded: “Those who exercise strengthen their immune system and can increase the risk of a severe course of Covid-19 disease reduce."


How are you doing in these turbulent times?

I'm fine, even if we are not experiencing easy times at the moment. It was more strenuous during the lockdown in spring, even though the training area was closed due to the coronavirus and the therapy was only used to 20 percent. But everything was new then, and no one had ever experienced a situation like this. At that time, however, I tried to use the time to develop concepts for a successful future for the company. Renovations were also carried out. In the current time you have got used to the situation a little. Nevertheless, the uncertainty is currently rising again. Does the general obligation to wear a mask put pressure on you on the cross? It is of course not comfortable to have to wear this mask all day. But you also get used to it. In the therapy area, masks have been compulsory since the end of April; in the training area, this was introduced a month ago in the entrance area, cloakrooms and hallways. For ten days now, all employees and customers have had to wear a mask everywhere and everywhere. Even at the individual seat of a machine or in a group course. Nobody thinks this is great, but in the current situation we have to stick together and follow the rules. How does the mask requirement affect visitors to the activity center? Training with a mask is less bad than expected. Basically, wearing a mask leads to increased breathing resistance and increased inhalation of CO2, which affects the buffering capacity of the blood and thus limits maximum performance. However, only a few training sessions are performed at maximum performance. The important thing is that you change the mask after every workout. I would basically do endurance training outside in the fresh air. How does the corona pandemic affect your business? A distinction has to be made here between the first and the second wave. During the lockdown of the first wave, the training area was closed and the physiotherapy was only used to 20 percent, as no patients in the risk group were allowed to be treated and, moreover, very many signed off due to uncertainty. Now during the second wave, the effects in the field of physiotherapy are manageable: Only a few isolated people no longer come to therapy for fear of the coronavirus. So there is hardly any drop in the number of clients there, and we are busy. The consequences of Corona are more noticeable in our Active Center: There are already lower numbers of visitors to be observed, especially in the evening. Do you consider the measures decided by the canton and federal government to be appropriate? In any case, I support the fact that there is no second lockdown. We are happy that in the middle of this second wave, the training centers remain open. For many of our customers, strength and flexibility training is not just for fun, but to keep them free from symptoms. In addition, prevention is an ideal means to prevent overloading the health system, which is actually the main goal of all the measures.

What does that mean in concrete terms?

Those who train strengthen their immune system and can lower the risk of a severe course of Covid 19 disease. Opinions differ as to whether a lockdown was actually necessary in spring. In retrospect, you are naturally always smarter. Based on the knowledge available at the time, it was probably appropriate to impose a lockdown.

How would a new lockdown affect your operations? That wouldn't be good at all. We have already made certain preparations, but hope that this will not happen. In November we traditionally have high occupancy rates. In the event of a lockdown, we cannot apply for loss compensation. In the meantime, the only support would be to apply for short-time work for our employees. What are the losses you suffered during the lockdown in the spring? In the area of ​​the Active Center, which was completely closed, the loss amounts to 15 percent of the annual turnover. In the field of physiotherapy and empirical medicine, too, there is a considerable loss of between 8 and 10 percent of annual sales. In order to be able to bridge this deficit, we applied for an emergency loan from the bank, for which the federal government guarantees. What are the future prospects for your company? I am fundamentally very positive about the future development of our company. We help our patients in physiotherapy on the way to freedom from symptoms and offer attractive and user-friendly training options to maintain them in the long term. I hope that prevention will generally be given a higher priority in our society. Because prevention has a direct impact on health costs and helps to reduce them in the long term. Does the general public pay for the costs of physiotherapy? Physiotherapy is often said to be the main driver of rising healthcare costs. However, it is often forgotten that conservative therapy can prevent operations. This saves costs in other areas. With our health and training center, we want to clearly differentiate ourselves from classic fitness centers. Thanks in part to companies like ours, the industry was assigned to the health sector instead of the leisure sector last week. Our association made it clear to the Federal Council what positive effect training has on health. Is it still the case that strength training is particularly popular with young people? No, not necessarily. More and more people are aware of the importance of muscle training as people get older. Strength training gives you freedom of movement and independence and it is in your own hands whether you are dependent on care when you get older. Young people often do weight training for aesthetic reasons. This also has a positive effect on health, as long as you stick to the training rules. In our activity center, however, many older people have recognized the importance of strength training. That is also the reason why over half of our trainers are over fifty years old. Back pain is rampant in society: is it why more and more people come to you? One can justifiably assume that: If I take a look at the last few years, the number of clients who come to us with back pain has risen steadily. It's no wonder: many people sit in front of the computer all day, hardly move and then expect to be able to lift heavy things, do gardening or just do their hobbies without problems.

Where is the problem?

The shape and function of the spine depends on the strength and mobility of the core muscles: These decrease if you don't invest in them. Especially in old age. Many complaints arise from a disproportion between stress and capacity. If you don't want any more complaints in the long term, you have to invest in resilience yourself. This means that hobbies or everyday activities can continue to be practiced without complaints. Why do construction workers, gardeners and farmers often have back pain? They certainly carry loads and move around during their work. Over time, however, the body has adapted to these stresses and a former stimulus has become an everyday movement. The human body is in constant change and can either get better or worse. In order to counteract the degradation, a growth stimulus must be set, which, however, does not happen with everyday stress. In certain cases the cause of complaints is not a lack of strength, but a lack of mobility. In the above-mentioned professions, you also have to consider external factors such as temperature, which can have an impact on muscle functions. How do you proceed with back problems?

In physiotherapy, patients usually come by prescription from the doctor. Our therapists then get to the bottom of the cause. On the one hand, this is done through a detailed anamnesis and additionally accompanied by objective test procedures. However, a thorough examination is very important, especially since the origin of pain can be very complicated. A therapy plan is drawn up on the basis of these results. However, it is also possible to contact us directly for a back scan. This enables us to make precise statements about the posture, mobility and stability of the entire spine and provide solutions for this. This is also done with new customers for training subscriptions. After all, this is our specialty. They also offer other forms of therapy such as craniosacral therapy, foot reflexology, cupping or electrotherapy. When are these procedures used? Our therapists have a wide range of possible forms of therapy. I see this as a chest of drawers with different drawers, whereby each therapist opens a drawer for each patient based on his experience and can open other drawers if there is no success. As an example, craniosacral therapy is only carried out by one therapist. In certain cases, there is an internal forwarding if this form of therapy is seen as the solution to the problem. In your opinion, is it coincidence or fate that the coronavirus hit us? I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. With this in mind, I believe that it is more coincidence than fate that we now have this coronavirus with us. I prefer a pragmatic approach to this virus: one should neither break out into hysteria nor deny the virus as such. You are not simply exposed to the virus without protection. On the contrary: with prevention and an investment in our own health, we can better arm ourselves against the virus. During the entire pandemic, there was never any talk of prevention. You had the whole summer to look at health as well as the disease and show the population how you could not reduce the risk of infection, but increase the likelihood of a mild course of Covid-19 disease.

Jeroen de Leur, member of the management of the Physio Care Center de Leur AG, the center for physiotherapy, rehabilitation and health training at Werner-Kälin-Strasse 11 in Einsiedeln.