Anna Winstanley Physiotherapy York

Anna’s women’s health physio story

Anna Winstanley, msk physiotherapy in York, working on one of her clients

As I child I was fascinated by bodies and creatures and the natural world. This eventually led me to the University of Liverpool where I studied physiology. But the academic principles were not enough, I wanted to apply my knowledge to help people, so I went in again to study Physiotherapy at York St John University.

As a baby physio, I got really into the specialism of musculoskeletal physiotherapy – I found the mechanics and the diagnostic aspect of the work hugely satisfying. But I still had an itch to join more dots and I could see that the patients I worked with had more going on than just a sore knee or a bad back. And I found the increasingly time-pressured environment of the NHS was not only limiting the way I was able to work best, but it was making me ill too.

Leaving that security felt huge at the time, but it was the start of me forging my own path. I had already begun my Pilates journey after I saw the benefits it had for my own hip pain. I decided to train to teach Pilates, and once I left the NHS I was able to start teaching pilates classes in York. Over the years I have had 1000’s of people through my doors – some are still with me!

Next came pregnancy and motherhood

Wow – what a ride! I was lucky with my pregnancy, but the “fourth trimester” really knocked me for six. I couldn’t believe how tired I was, how depleted, how low. I loved my baby, but I wanted to hand her over to my partner and go back to work where I knew what I was doing and felt normal. Every small ailment I had seemed to be “just part of being a mum” according to the GP. I thought “surely this can’t be right?” If I had any inclination towards women’s health before that, the seed was now well and truly sown. Women deserve better. I deserved better! I used my own research and skills to work back through tummy separation and general weakness, and nourish my body with good food. But it was the monumental mindset shift and change of identity that was the hardest for me personally.

During those first few years, I explored yoga, mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioural therapy, compassion focussed therapy, running, journaling. By the time my daughter started school, I was raring to get going with my business again. I knew I wanted to serve women, and I was already offering a deeper, more holistic level of care informed by my own experience, and extreme geekery around the subject. But it took a few years, some awesome coaching support and some post-graduate courses to really upskill myself to where I am today!

My Qualifications and Accreditations

  • BHSc (Hons) Physiotherapy
  • Memberships of Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists (POGP)
  • Fully Certified Pilates Matwork Instructor with APPI
  • Post-graduate training and education in pregnancy and postnatal Pilates (APPI), Postnatal recovery certification (Burrell Education), Physiotherapy for menopause (POGP), 3rd Age Woman’s Wellbeing (Burrell Education), Female urinary dysfunction (POGP) Pelvic Organ Prolapse management (POGP), Explain Pain (Neuro Orthopaedic Institute).

Learn more about my women’s health physio journey

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Anna Winstanley

Hi I’m Anna, a Women's Health Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor in York with a nerdy passion for all things women’s health and wellbeing. I’ve worked with countless women over the years, helping them to feel strong, overcome pain and improve their quality of life so they can be marvellous mums, excellent employees and super selves.

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