Fisio’s recovery & wellness: Livehealthy Approved

I have to believe that when we look back on fitness, the new focus on recovery will be one of the most profound developments.

I’m old enough to remember the Stairmaster, cardio-obsessed 90s; debates about whether we even needed to bother warming up or down before or after workouts; celebrity trainers saying that not only could we work out every single day, but we should; vomit-inducing workouts in reality shows like The Biggest Loser and in our real life, like Orangetheory and CrossFit and Bikram yoga; the specter of Nike’s “Just Do It” echoing across every tired muscle and tendon, our bodies screaming at us to Just Take A Break – for once – instead.

So for me and others of my generation – that’s X and probably millenials and hopefully everyone who comes after – this era of less is more, of actually caring for our bodies, is very welcome indeed.

Fisio in Dubai is one of the new crop of welcome recovery centers catering to just that.

Created by the team that brought us the tried and true brands Tips & Toes and Jazz Lounge Spa, Fisio in Dubai offers a range of really effective therapies to help what ails us, with no drama, excellent service, a great price and minimum of unnecessary and possibly irritating bells and whistles.

Sure, you can take charge and book a visit for an infrared sauna, an ice bath, traditional physiotherapy or massage, but you can also book an appointment with a physiotherapist (Dh500 for 60 mins), and then have a bespoke session that delivers what you didn’t know you needed.

That’s exactly what happened on my first session, with a physiotherapist from Costa Rica named Gabi. She asked a lot of questions about my body, how I felt, my activity level; my sleep and energy levels. She determined I needed a bit of manual manipulation for my sore neck and shoulders. We also did some dry needling – the treatment I hate to love, because it hurts but also provides a dramatic easing of tension in tight muscles. Dry needling involves needles inserted right into the muscle, which creates a “twitch” impact, and an easing, as opposed to acupuncture, which works on energy in the body’s meridian.

And then she did a bit of cupping, and I was in heaven. Cupping is a form of alternative therapy, where the therapist applies heated cups to areas, creating suction, blood flow and easing muscle tension. Cupping is one of those treatments that you only know works if you’ve tried it; it’s also one that Google is likely to denounce as pure quackery. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

After that I tried the compression treatment (Dh300 for 15 mins), which involves strapping into what looks like a pair of futuristic black trousers, laying down and having them gently squeeze each leg for a half an hour. Compression therapy is used to increase blood flow in the legs, and ultimately in the rest of your body, too. Athletes use it for faster recovery, improving flexibility and pain relief, among other things. The machine operating the trousers was loud, and I felt a bit ridiculous during the treatment. I’m not sure how I felt after, other than really relaxed, because I was still riding high from my physio session with Gabi.

But if you have issues with swelling or inflammation, this feels like it would be a good one to try.

I’ve been back to Fisio twice for massages: not only is the price right in an overpriced market (Dh390 for 60 minutes), the value is exceptional, because you know that you are getting a treatment from an actual professional, which is not always the case when shelling out for one at a fancy hotel spa. Twice I’ve had Tami, who is from Bali, and a magician. Her work hurts a bit, which I don’t mind, particularly on the legs and on the abdominal region. Those two were sensations that I’ve never felt before, but the entire massage is transformative – among the best I’ve ever had.

She is a true healer.

The other things that I really like about Fisio is that it’s no-fuss, new, clean, compact and accessible: valet parking (although a bit tricky to get to from Sheikh Zayed Road; make sure to give yourself time); is open evenings, has delicious cucumber and mint water and best of all, really good practitioners.

It’s nice to know that you can go somewhere feeling down, hurt and leave even a bit – or a lot – better.  I’ve taken to trying to book a treatment every time I’m in Dubai.

• The physiotherapy, compression treatment and initial massage were provided for the purposes of a review. We try a lot of things here at Livehealthy, but we only publish Livehealthy Approved reviews for things that are truly worth it. is for every body and mind in the UAE. This magazine is all about moderation, making small changes, little additions and the odd subtraction.



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