Acrobatic physio makes a smart move
by Rosanna Galvin
What do physiotherapy, the circus and a smartphone app have in common? Meet Triton Tunis-Mitchell, UniSA physiotherapy graduate and acrobat, who has developed an innovative physiotherapy app that delivers exercise prescriptions direct to patients’ phones.
While many children dream of running away to the circus, Triton chose to do just that, attending a local South Australian circus school throughout his childhood. Next year, he will tour the world with the contemporary circus company he has co-founded, Gravity and Other Myths.
Triton says his years in the circus fuelled his passion to understand the human body and led him to study physiotherapy at UniSA. It was also the circus that instilled in him a sense of adventure, which has seen him open his own physiotherapy practice and create a physiotherapy smartphone app.
“The circus for me is all about understanding the body, knowing what’s possible and getting excited about it – physiotherapy and the smartphone app are just offshoots of that,” he says.
“Taking a risk in the circus world has developed into taking risks in the business world – having an idea and having the guts to then go with it. In 2006, I decided to open my own practice which over time has grown to a practice of five physiotherapists.
“I am still very involved in the world of circus as well. Physiotherapy – learning about biomechanics – definitely feeds my circus work and vice versa. Being on the floor as part of the circus – training, performing and moving – gives me a better understanding of what other bodies are going through in physiotherapy practice.”
After opening his practice, Active Bodies Physiotherapy, Triton returned to UniSA to complete a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. He says the course equipped him with a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build his business.
The entrepreneur is now working on his latest business venture – the smartphone app myphysio – which he developed in part with fellow UniSA graduate Shane Burgess.
“Last year, I dived into the world of smartphone technology to create a physiotherapy app that delivers personalised exercise prescriptions straight from a physiotherapist’s consulting room to the patient’s smartphone,” he says.
“As physiotherapists, we have so much information to communicate and we can help people get better really quickly if we are able to communicate that information properly. That is what’s at the heart of this app – we’re presenting that information in a way that people can come back and interact with it and work through it in their own time. It’s really about getting people excited and engaged in their health.
“While the circus and a smartphone app may seem worlds apart, to me it’s all part of a common thread – all of my work is about different outlets for exploring what our bodies are capable of.”
On the market for just over a year and already used by physiotherapists around the world, the myphysio app has just launched its second version. The launch coincides with a busy time in the circus world as Triton and contemporary circus company Gravity and Other Myths gear up for their fifth Adelaide Fringe season, following a successful season at the Edinburgh Fringe in August this year.
The company, which specialises in raw, highly physical acrobatics in a style known as new circus, has recently been signed to perform an international tour, travelling from Europe to Africa and the Americas, for the 2014/2015 season.