Members Spotlight Interview With Mario Ciccone

Thanks to Mario for coming onto the podcast! Mario is an osteopath based down near Buckinghamshire – do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself Mario?

Yeah so I’ve been down here working as an osteopath for about 10 years now. On this journey I’ve been throwing myself into various courses and in January of this year I went through the mentorship program. I’d very much be a structural osteopath which is very much a hands on based, passive type of modality, not much hands off at all really, and I wanted to expose myself to more rehab which is what drew me to the mentorship this year.

So thinking back to when you first signed up to the mentorship, can you tell us a little bit about the struggles you were facing in the clinic prior to signing up to the mentorship?

Yeah, I suppose my patients call to action is very much that they are in pain. Getting the message across that they need more treatment once the pain goes away is quite hard. What I found it that people tend to come in in acute pain and within 2-3 sessions you’d be able to eliminate or drastically improve that pain, then they’d do the usual where they’d say they’ll give me a call if the pain comes back.

And I guess I was thinking that there’s probably something missing here is there more to this, and then from other courses I was looking at functional movement patterns and realising there was a big chunk on treatment or rehabilitation that I was missing out on. And getting a consistent volume of clients through the door also, as they were only staying for 3-4 sessions. So yeah I wanted exercise progressions and ways to implement more rehab into the clinic and see from a business point of view how I could go on a journey with some of these clients and keep them in the clinic for longer and help them see the benefit of the progress they were making even once the pain went away, getting towards more goal specific stuff instead of just pain management.

That’s a really good point, I think a lot of therapists struggle to communicate why it’s important to build resilience with patients. We had it in our own clinic recently where we started to see more emails coming through from patients saying they were better and did not need their next session, and when we analysed these we realised that some of our newer staff weren’t nailing that effective explanation at the end of each session and explaining what the plan is for next week. So that problem, where the pain goes away and they discharge themselves, is really a symptom of the fact that there’s no plan for what’s going to happen when the pain goes away. If there’s a plan from the start, it almost eliminates that problem.

100% I second that. And you’ve just touched on a great point there, and it’s only something I’ve picked up on in the past couple of weeks and that’s the reinforcement of the treatment plan. The effective explanation has been brilliant for me in terms of figuring out where I am going with patients, but I’ve found that if I don’t come back and reinforce that at the end of each session patients lose focus. So when it’s used properly and you take that 5 minutes at the end of each session and have that conclusion – this is where we are now, this is the plan for the next week etc. it’s a very powerful tool.

Definitely. I think the recent trends we’ve noticed in our clinic really hit home how important the little things like that are. As soon as we took action, nailed the effective explanation and coming back to it at the end of each session again, our cancellations and drop off numbers reduced. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

So going back to that initial journey when you started the mentorship, can you remember your first big wins or what results you started to see?

Yeah, when I throw myself into a course I throw myself into it so I scheduled about 2-3 hours a week to go through the content at the time so that I could get comfortable with the module and implement it with my clients. Some of my biggest wins were coming from the coordinative testing and finding which directions(s) were positive and then actually integrating some hands on work and seeing how the motor output is then changed. It’s great for clients to see that too, as they can see that there are things that you are doing in a short space of time that changes how their body feels and produces power. Up to that point it was a lot of hands on that maybe would increase ROM, which clients can feel and that was great, but to see power changes as well, they were big wins.

That then gave them the confidence that this stuff works, it makes a change, then getting them up and moving again without pain. It was very much do something, test, do something, test, whereas before I probably did a lot of doing and not enough retesting. So the test, retest module was good for me but also the client so they could see changes quickly.

Yeah I think that test, treat, retest concept is really important. I was definitely guilty when I first started treating of doing too much on the bed, or maybe treat 3-4 things before rechecking their symptoms. And if you got the result that’s great, but I was never really sure which intervention got me that result. So it was hard to replicate that again. When you purposefully use the test, treat, retest module it’s very easy to see if the intervention you’re applying is getting the result you want very quickly.

So do you want to tell us a bit more about the biggest changes you’ve seen between January and now?

Yeah, and I’ll just regress a little bit and go back to the frustrations before I started the mentorship in the early months you still come across those frustrations. And week by week you’re trying to implement the stuff and you still come across the same frustrations. But if you’re patient and take things step by step these little wins start to build up. And about 2-3 months in I started to feel more confident in the model. And even to this day when we can watch your inservice training and see how you guys are implementing this stuff and giving some new ideas is very useful as well.

So yeah going back to the transformation from the mentorship, at the start, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, and it’s surpassed my expectations. The first thing that comes to mind is the financial aspect. I’ve had my busiest clinic since I started out doing this, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence it’s a lot to do to the system that I’m now implementing. That lead to me implementing treatment packages – I’ve got a 6, 8 and 10 session package and 90% of my clients now buy into either an 8 or 10 session package. And then the knock on effect to that, we’d just had a newborn baby, my wife was in the position where she was considering whether she needed to go back to work, and we’re now in a situation where she hasn’t gone back to work and she’s working as a practice manager for the practice. So now we have 2 rooms in my clinic space, and we’ve introduced a cranial sacral therapist, reflexologist, and a sports masseuse. So they’ve come on as self employed but we’re doing the marketing for them, and taking a percentage.

So it’s great, it’s been a massive transformational year. I probably didn’t think I’d be here in January. I’ve gone from an average of 15 clients a week to doubling it to about 30 clients a week now. It’s been a great journey and I’m still looking forward to still learning with you guys and seeing how the model evolves.

You’ve had a great year and that’s a credit to you. I think what the mentorship does is it forces you to look at your whole customer journey and focus on what’s important and what you could improve and streamline. And once you’ve got that you get better at your time management which is important as you get busier, and I think the knock on effect of all of this is the growth as you’ve had in all aspects of your life and business.

Exactly, and long may it continue into the new year! Like I say it’s had its ups and downs but having that clarity of where I’m going with each client now takes the pressure off and coming away from the pain paradigm too and focusing more on their goals and the treatment plan really helps avoid too many challenges.

I think like you said, anybody starting out just be patient, take your small wins and take your time, don’t put too much pressure on and the results will come. The last question I always finish with is your plans for the next 12 months?

Yeah I think next year in terms of clinical skills I’ll try to get to another refresher course and a return to play seminar as well. Then it’s delving into more the CX club stuff next year and business developments, get an associate in with me who adheres to the mentorship model. So that’s the plan, take stock of where we are, keep the numbers up, and continue to grow.

I’m sure you’ll have another great 12 months. Appreciate your time Mario, thanks for coming on and we’ll see you again soon!

Thanks Shane, take care!

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About The Author

Dave O'Sullivan

Dave O’Sullivan, Chartered Physiotherapist with a master’s in Strength and Conditioning, worked as a sports physio for the Wallabies Rugby Union team (2023 World Cup), England Rugby Union (2019 World Cup) and England Rugby League (2017 World Cup). He built a leading clinic in Huddersfield, UK, and developed a unique step-by-step approach with his own sporting and non sporting patients.

Dave now teaches his methods globally and has helped over 1,000 physiotherapists and other health professionals, giving them confidence and clarity to help patients who have failed traditional approaches.