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Profile: Jiradech Chittawong – Born with the healing touch

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PHUKET: Jiradech Chittawong, or Charlie Arm, as he is better known to his friends, is a physiotherapist from Hat Yai. Just 23 years of age, his clients refer to him as a ‘miracle worker’. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy from the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) Hat Yai Campus two years ago.

“I spent my last year of university interning at different clinics in the south of Thailand. During this time, I learned a lot, but also realized that working at a hospital would not suit me well. My professors told me that I spent too much time tending to each patient, which wasn’t practical with hundreds of patients coming in on a daily basis,” said Charlie.

He decided to move to Phuket after graduating and immediately fell in love with the island.

“I love the beaches, sunshine and the lovely environment, as well as the opportunity to meet lots of different people. I started from scratch when I moved here. My thesis adviser at college had a friend who ran a wellness retreat in Rawai called Atsumi, so I started working as a physiotherapist and guest manager there. At that time, I could barely speak any English – it was hard for me to string a proper sentence together. As I met more people and made new friends, my English improved as well,” said Charlie.

After expanding his network, Charlie moved to another wellness retreat, Phuket Cleanse, where he worked as a physiotherapist, grew his client base and started conducting workshops.

“Most people breathe through their upper chests, whereas the correct way to breathe is through your diaphragm. It helps to improve your posture and restore proper circulation of blood throughout your body,” said Charlie.

“This is especially useful for people who work in desk jobs and keep sitting for long periods of time everyday. About half my clients suffer from the ‘office syndrome’, which is back, neck and shoulder pain due to long periods of inactivity. I help them to remain active and restore blood circulation, which also reduces stress levels in the body.”

These days, he works as a freelancer, visiting patients at their homes to provide services.

“It is important for me to be mobile, as a lot of my patients are unable to come to me.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as adapting yourself to your environment. For instance, your bed could be too low, or your shelves may be too high. The human body is a marvelous machine and I always love enhancing my knowledge of anatomy, biology and bio-mechanics. They are fascinating subjects and very useful in our daily lives,” he said.

Charlie also conducts community activities to encourage people to stay healthy and active.

“I want to involve more people, particularly Thais, with physical fitness. A group of friends and I started a ‘fun run’ at Nai Harn for this purpose, which quickly gained popularity among locals and foreigners alike. I was surprised, but happy, to see the increasing numbers every week. Now people have even started organizing their own events and the groups are getting larger than ever.”

Charlie also works as a sports therapist and treats sports injuries. He was also part of Damien Rider’s team when he undertook the paddle against child abuse late last year.

To learn more about his work, visit his website at: www.theartofphysio.com.

— Sahar Aftab Paliwala

 

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