We sat down with Jessica Hall recently to talk about physiotherapy, sports, family life and the joys of living on Vancouver Island.
Are you on Facebook?
I’m on Facebook yes, but not very much. I’m old school. I’m not a big social media user.
How long have you been doing physiotherapy?
Eight years now! Time has sure flown by! I did my undergrad in Kinesiology here in Victoria at UVic. I worked as a Kinesiologist for a couple of years before going back to school to do my Master’s in Physio at UBC. School was challenging for sure; long hours and lots of work. But amazing and so much fun! Work hard, play hard. I lived in Kitsalano. School was hard but amazing.
Are you from the West coast?
Yes! I’m from Saltspring Island, but I was born in Vancouver. Lions Bay actually. My parents moved our family to Saltspring Island when I was three years old – so I grew up on the island and graduated from high school there. My dad’s from the West Coast too, Maple Ridge. He and my mom met in Vancouver. My mom had moved out west from Ontario. She is a west coast lady at heart and has been here ever since.
Is your family on the West coast?
Pretty much. I have three older brothers and a younger sister. One of my brothers lives on the mainland with his family. The rest of us are here on Vancouver Island. My extended family is in Ontario and over in the UK. My husband is from Saltspring too, but we never really met on Saltspring. We were introduced by a mutual friend in Vancouver.
What? How is that possible?
Life is funny that way. He’s a few years older than me, so we didn’t hang out in the same social circle in highschool. Our paths crossed at the right time I guess, and the rest is history.
And now you have children together. Do you get away on vacation?
Yes, two little ones, a boy and a girl. We definitely fit in vacations. We go to Hornby Island every summer. It’s one of our happy places for sure. There’s amazing mountain biking, hiking, and beaches there. Downtime there is magic. Our family loves that. The cell service there is patchy at best, so we get to unplug, which I love. Maui is another one of our happy places. My family has been going there since I was a baby – so there’s a strong connection to the island. It’s another place to unplug and just enjoy family time. To be honest though – I’m not really an ocean swimming person. I have an irrational fear of sharks. My family makes fun of me, which is fair. I’ll play in the surf, but I’m totally afraid of going out deep in the ocean. I even have to hold my husband’s hand when I snorkel – or at least be RIGHT beside him. I love being at the beach though! And can’t imagine not living near the ocean.
Carrying a baby while you do your life is like carrying a twenty pound flour bag around while you try and accomplish daily tasks. Moms and Dads suffer from repetitive stress and other sports-like injuries all the time.
What are your fave beaches?
I love Cordova Bay Beach and Gyro. We live near Cordova Bay so it’s quick to get to and gets hot there in the summer. Perfect for a quick dip in the ocean to cool off. Durrance lake is another swim spot we take the kids to a lot in the summer. The lake water is warm so the kids like it better for swimming.
Do you identify as an athlete?
No, not really. I don’t consider myself an athlete, but I am athletic. I was a competitive horseback rider when I was younger, and I used to snowboard quite a bit. I lived in Whistler for a year; did the ski bum thing there for a season. That was a lot of fun. These days my exercise consists of running, hiking, cycling, and bootcamps – with Reel Life Fitness. It’s been a great way to meet amazing women. So I guess I’m athletic. When people ask me what my sport is, I say I don’t have a sport.
Would you say “being a mom” is a sport?
Well, yes, actually. But it’s not recognized as a sport. Being a mom can be a full-on fitness regime. I’m an active mom. You’ll find me running with my children in the double buggy, or hiking with them. I’ve exposed them to hiking right from the start, which is great now, because they love getting out and exploring the trails. But also, when I’m “momming”, it’s physical. Carrying a baby while you do your life is like carrying a twenty pound flour bag around while you try and accomplish daily tasks. Moms and Dads suffer from repetitive stress and other sports-like injuries all the time.
The reality is that pregnancy is a marathon.
Do mother’s book in to see you as a physio?
Yes, totally, breast feeding shoulder is a real thing! [laughter] I see mothers/fathers/parents all the time. They can get carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, rotator cuff strains, back pain, etc..from lifting and carrying kids. The thing about carrying children is it’s not evenly distributed weight. It’s off-centre and you’re not in a controlled environment. It can be like lifting weights with really bad form. Life comes at you pretty fast, and you just forge ahead as best you can. Also, recovery from child birth can be tough, and it takes time. Activity levels can change a lot for parents. I don’t want to generalize or tell a single story about this topic, because every pregnancy and every baby is so very different.
Pregnancy seems like serious training?
The reality is that pregnancy is a marathon. In my opinion, physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and osteopathic care can be really helpful in making for a more comfortable pregnancy.
Can people see you preventatively?
Absolutely! I usually don’t have the chance to see people in advance, as it’s more human nature to seek out treatment after we are in pain. Even then, sometimes people tend to wait until the pain worsens. People can hesitate when they have just a little pain, and often wait to see if it’ll resolve. I’m even guilty of this. It’s a natural reaction. Treatment early on is always beneficial. Prevention would obviously be the best, but this isn’t so much the reality. I can often notice from people’s gait that they could benefit from preventative work – hazard of the job I guess. My husband has even started to notice un-optimal gait patterns. He’ll point them out to me when we’re out and about together. It’s spilling over to him now!
I love my job! I love meeting new people all the time. I feel so fortunate to be doing what I do, and to be able to help people in some way.