My Time as a Wellness Consultant & Visiting Practitioner On Board the Viking Sun Cruise Ship

I was so grateful to be invited back on board the Norwegian cruise ship, The Viking Sun, again in 2019 as a visiting practitioner. I offered everything from seminars to teaching Pilates classes on the pool deck and one-on-one treatments and goal setting sessions with the lovely guests on board. Much like last year, I was thrilled so many guests sought out my treatments, and I was fully booked on most of our days at sea!

If you’re wondering what I do as a Holistic Physiotherapist, check out the video below!

Discover what a Holistic Physiotherapist does (video part 1)

Discover what a holistic physiotherapist can do for you and your guests, and hear me say 'niggles' on Live TV! By the host's confusion, 'niggles' must be an Australia term.

Group and private Pilates classes

I’ve been teaching Pilates for over 10 years, and on board the Viking Sun I taught Clinical Pilates, a special blend of Physiotherapy and traditional Pilates moves. Clinical Pilates offers guests the chance to learn exactly why they’re doing an exercise, and what benefit it can give.

Private Treatments of Holistic Physiotherapy

Many of the guests on board were dealing with injuries, irritating pains or arthritis, and I was glad to help in my private treatments. The most common complaints I saw were neck and back pain, nerve pain or irritation, Achilles issues and shoulder pain. Unlike other Physiotherapists though, I’ve invented a special way to treat patients.


I believe these results aren’t simply musculoskeletal, but tied closely to the psychology of being treated in a spa space, even for a very clinical issue.

Jeremy McCarthy, Group Director of Spa & Wellness for Mandarin Oriental Hotels said it well:

“My theory is that the greatest impact of the spa experience…comes from the more psychological aspects of the experience, such as being separated from technology, having time for your mind to settle in silence, and experiencing the nurturing touch of another human being. These are the true luxuries of the modern age.”

It’s these benefits that optimise the unique content of my treatments, and create results for guests.

I was so grateful to have such a beautiful space to work with while on board. The Liv Nordic Spa is just phenomenal! Check it out:

Learn why Goal setting is an integral part of effective treatment (video part 2)

As part of my private sessions, I always help a patient set a goal, or verbalise a goal they already have. For guests, it can be anything from running 10km to walking up a flight of stairs. Here’s more:

Why goal setting is an important aspect of holistic Physiotherapy regardless of age or ability!

Wellness seminars

While onboard, I also conducted bi-weekly seminars to share my knowledge from clinical practice and experience with the guests. This was my second time on the beautiful Viking Sun, and during both experiences I kept hearing the same questions, so I prepared compelling, endearing seminars to help address these questions and concerns.

Healthy living and Wellness on board the Viking Sun Cruise Ship

I was so thrilled to see the Viking Sun offering exceptional healthy options for its guests again this year.

From the daily Green Juice option at the Atrium Bar to the 5-star gym and healthy meal choices, it’s great to see Viking helping guests by offering healthy options. There are, of course, plenty of treats like dark chocolate mousse and the sumptuous gluten-free waffles at Mamsen’s cafe for when you feel like spoiling yourself too.

Huge thank you to Six Senses Hotels, Liv Nordic Spas and Viking for having me as a visiting consultant again. I can’t wait until next year!

The one thing you need to help pull you out of a health rut

The answer is digital

We all go through stages of flux with our health. Maybe you’ve just been through a breakup or it’s winter and you’ve lost all motivation. These fluctuations are normal for most people, but sometimes these fluctuations become ruts. Once you’re stuck in a health rut, it can seem like there’s no way out. But there is!

Whether your diet, exercise, strength or mental health have become stagnant, the bridge between meaningful digital wellness tools and well being levels has been created.

Disclaimer: I’m not working for any of the apps of businesses mentioned. I just love the power of digital health tools!

What is digital wellness?

Digital wellness is a broad term that covers a whole range of digital devices, tools. monitoring systems and even government-led wellness initiatives. Examples are:

  • Digital activity trackers (like monitoring how many steps you take in a day)

  • Bio-sensing wearable devices (such as heart monitors and Fitbits)

  • Digital health records (your medical history all kept in one space)

  • Teleconferencing with health professionals instead of face-to-face appointments

While some of these digital tools sound like something out of the Jetsons, it’s incredible how popular they have become.

what is digital wellness

How do digital wellness tools get you out of your rut?

By holding you accountable. That’s right! When you have push notifications urging you to get 10 more minutes of exercise everyday, or get out of your chair every 20 minutes at work, the irritation will drive you to better health!

Plus, you can see a clear graphs of your progress showing you objective readings of your current health status. This helps you see exactly what you’re doing, creating correlations between your ‘objective wellness’ and ‘how you feel.’

The combination of health apps I suggest for anyone stuck in a health rut:

  • One activity tracker (steps and heart rate)

  • One nutrition recording app. My Fitness Pal is a good option.

  • One meditation app (Breathe or Calm are great)

  • and one symptom recording app if you’re in the midst of injury rehabilitation, or any treatment plan, including for mental health.

Activity trackers are popular and they work

Activity trackers from the stepping tracker on your iPhone to Fitbits on your wrist all work to track your movement. If you have a more complex tracking device, you may even be able to measure your heart rate, distance traveled and top speed.

Aussies are loving wearable technology, with one study finding those using wearable tech increased from 19 to 27% between 2016 and 2018.

Setting SMART Goals is the key to getting out of a health rut - digital wellness can help

Goal setting is great, but it can by empty if your goal isn’t measurable. Thanks to digital wellness devices, you can track your wellness data to monitor your progress..

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

So! For example, your goal might be to walk 20 minutes everyday. But that’s not enough. It’s not concrete enough and you’re likely to favour an excuse instead of your seemingly boring walk.

It needs to have parametres:

Specific: Walk 20 minutes per day from home to work (instead of catching the train) But what about weekends? Ok, change it to 20 minutes per day, at any time of day.

Measurable: Track the time you spend walking daily thanks to your wearable device

Achievable: 20 minutes is a very manageable investment in your time

Realistic: Everyday? What about when it rains? What if you feel sick one day? Let’s change it to 6 days per week.

Timely: So by summer I can walk along the beach with my friends without getting out of breath

NEW SMART GOAL: I’m going to walk 20 minutes per day, 6 days per week.

And you digital wellness device is going to help you get there!

how to get out of a health rut

Digital wellness tools help you communicate better with your health professionals = help you get out of your rut

As a Physiotherapist, I have about 5 minutes to check in with a repeat patient and see how they are progressing since their last appointment. The rest of the time is spent on treatment, and education.

If I have a patient I’m treating for chronic, cervicogenic (from the neck) headache, I need to know how often many headaches they had since I last saw them, how long they lasted, what medications they took and how often, if it stopped them from their daily activities, and if they feel better or worse than when they last saw me. That’s a lot of information for a patient to remember!

I had one patient who wrote a huge A3 spreadsheet of all this information over a month. A practitioner’s dream! But most people won’t do that. They’ll rely on their memory.

Instead of asking a patient to recall all this information, we can use digital wellness tools to help.

Tools like Apple Health help a patient monitor their medication dosages, and symptoms. The patient can whip out their phone and show me how often they needed pain killers, and how much they took.

The same goes for their activity. If they’ve had two episodes of headaches since I treated them last, their activity tracker will show huge declines on those days, giving me accurate information of their well being since I last saw them. Thanks to digital wellness tools, I’m able to see this information quickly and easily within a few minutes, and record it in my notes. This takes the pressure off the patient from having to remember all the details.

For this patient suffering chronic headaches,data allows the to see a clear pattern of improvement, which helps them feel a sense of relief. Plus! Having access to all of this health data on their own phone is hugely empowering.

Many digital wellness tool interact with each other

Apple health is one tool that’s created to interact with a number of other third-party tools to help you monitor everything from your sleep to your health. This is really exciting for those tech-savvy people out there, but if you’re very new to the wellness tool world, stick to just a few.

how digital health apps can help you

Digital wellness empowers you to start fresh

If you’re stuck in a health rut, now is the time to start again. Forget the 10 Mars bars you ate yesterday, or the empty graphs in your Fitbit app. Today is the day!

  1. Set a SMART goal for your wellness. Only one! And it must be positive eg. A distance to walk vs. ‘not going to eat candy’

  2. Integrate the digital wellness tools you need

  3. Track your progress every 3 days. If you miss a day, no worries! You’ve allowed for that in the ‘realistic’ part of your SMART goal setting

Ruts don’t last forever, even though we can get stuck in them for months and even years. There’s always time to turn things around.

Phones are an integral part of our daily lives, so use yours to help pull yourself out of your health rut, and help you move forward towards your goals.

If you’re stuck in a health rut and don’t know where to start. Send me an email, and I can recommend the best way to start.

caitlin reid wellness consultant physiotherapist