Health: A holistic approach to health and fitness works best for Boddys

In a former life, working for the HALO Trust charity, Ashley and Rachel Boddy cleared mines in Afghanistan, the Caucuses, and Cambodia. They’re still in the business of saving lives, but now it’s personal.

The couple’s mission – about which they are zealous – is getting clients into optimal shape, utilising a holistic approach.

Rachel, a local lass, is a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, and Ash, from Australia, is a CHEK Practitioner and a CHEK Golf Performance specialist.

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Created more than 25 years ago by Californian Paul Chek, the acronym stands for Corrective High Performance Exercise Kinesiologist. At your three-hour-long assessment, Ash measures you from top to bottom, checks your range of motion, and even asks to see you walking, to get a picture of your physique.

This is the time to discuss health and fitness goals, as well as any physical problems. Your nutritional profile and other lifestyle elements are also placed under the microscope, because the driving principle behind CHEK is that nothing exists in isolation. You are what you eat; you are how you walk and stretch and hold yourself. Your health is also affected by your spiritual beliefs and your emotional life. This philosophy makes a great deal of sense, yet it’s surprising to me how often fitness professionals fail to see the body as one great big ecosystem.

Make no mistake, working with Ash and Rachel means making a commitment of time, money, and discipline. The bulk of the work is one on one, and highly individualised. They operate out of an exercise studio, but it’s not a gym, so for the most part – though not exclusively – clients work out elsewhere.

Every client is issued with a ptEnhance online account, where they can log their training sessions, watch videos, and get support, when needed.

Several times a year Boddy Language offers a six week Integrated Core Conditioning Workshop. During the class I took, our small group learned a variety of progressive exercises that went far beyond just tightening our abdominals. Instead, working on the floor, with inflatable balls and with broomsticks, we learned how to improve our stability and strength throughout the body’s entire central belt – the bit of us that’s meant to do the lion’s share of keeping us upright and mobile.

Worksheets and an online diary were helpful between the weekly sessions, and when memory failed, there were videos of the various moves. Some of us in the small class were simply out of shape, others were die-hard fitness stalwarts coming back after injuries.

And, via Boddy Language’s team of affiliated therapists, you can also get a variety of massages, as well as running coaching using the Feldenkrais Method of Movement Education.

• Boddy Language, 54 Timber Bush, Edinburgh (0131-554 5564, www.boddy Programmes are individualised so prices vary.