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Chris Jellis Sum of Us Interview

Chris Jellis Sum of Us Interview

The journey for these 4 partners involved in this new health practice started over 8 years ago. They were the founders of the Domain Health Physiotherapy group and have lived and breathed the business ever since.

However, something was always missing. Chris Jellis, one of the senior directors and physio's, says -A couple of years ago I went to the opening of a new physio practice. The owner is an amazing guy with a masters degree, has studied the body for over 10 years and worked in elite sport. However, the clinic was really struggling.

The contrast was that morning, I had been to my regular yoga class. There were more than 40 people in it, the fit out was exceptional and the place was pumping. Unfortunately, like many health practices, his clinic felt pretty stale in comparison.

With all of his expertise it felt wrong that it wasn't the go to place for people to fix their body. Understandably, the market is telling us they want to be in a beautiful environment to get healthy. We wanted to put the smartest people in awesome surroundings to make this happen.'

So this team set out to change it by creating something altogether new. Sum of Us in Prahran is a health and wellness studio that combines the science of modern physiotherapy and health care, with the beauty and aesthetics of a luxurious environment. It is eastern philosophy meeting western medicine.

Their yoga and pilates classes will help you work up a sweat, and you can cool off in the green courtyard with a coffee and healthy salad served from the cafe. They even have a medical GP that is one of the yoga teachers!

But this project is so much more than that.

-Not only do I think we can start helping our profession, but I'm also really passionate about our community. For the last 2 years due to a family illness, we have offered our services for free to people going through cancer treatment. We have literally given away thousands of treatments. We do this not only to help those in need, but because our staff are nourished by the act of giving.

We called this studio the Sum of Us because we feel it is the sum total of our vision and values. It was the sum of 4 passionate people, through a lot of hard work, coming together to create something great. For a long time you would only visit your doctor or physio if you were sick or injured. Now you can come not just to be treated, but to get strong, fit and well again. We really felt it was a missing piece in modern healthcare.'


Interview with Chris Jellis

Question: What is Sum of Us?

Chris Jellis: Sum of Us in Prahran is a health and wellness studio that combines the science of modern physiotherapy and health care, with the beauty and aesthetics of a luxurious environment. It is eastern philosophy meeting western medicine.


Question: What inspired the creation of Sum of Us?

Chris Jellis: The journey for us 4 partners involved in this new health practice started over 8 years ago. We were the founders of the Domain Health Physiotherapy group and have lived and breathed the business ever since.

However, something was always missing.

A couple of years ago I went to the opening of a new physio practice. The owner is an amazing guy with a masters degree, has studied the body for over 10 years and worked in elite sport. However, the clinic was really struggling.

The contrast was that morning, I had been to my regular yoga class. There were more than 40 people in it, the fit out was exceptional and the place was pumping. Unfortunately, like many health practices, the clinic felt pretty stale in comparison.

With all of his expertise it felt wrong that it wasn't the go to place for people to fix their body. Understandably, the market is telling us they want to be in a beautiful environment to get healthy. We wanted to put the smartest people in awesome surroundings to make this happen.'


Question: What's a typical day like at Sum of Us?

Chris Jellis: I like to start the day with Nadine's power flow yoga class in the loft. The sunlight shines through the skylight and it is a beautiful way to practice and start your day. I then sit down in the courtyard with a bircher muesli and a double shot espresso from the cafe to get some work done on the laptop.

I see some clients before lunch and run a couple of post surgical rehabilitation groups. Lunch is either a roast veggie salad or fresh chicken roll with a fresh juice. Our chef makes the best take home salads so sometimes we take this over to Victoria park so I can have a run around with my son.

In the afternoon I help run workshops with our dietician and have a few more physio clients, and then I put the local footy and netball teams through their paces with some pilates conditioning work to help them prevent injuries. I like to finish the day with one of our advanced Accelerate Reformer groups which helps me work up a real sweat and gets the blood pumping. Its great for toning and developing strength. And if it has been a particularly stressful week I will finish with Kasey's mindefulness class to help unwind and relax.


Question: How did the four of you combine your passions in creating Sum of Us?

Chris Jellis: We have worked together for the last 4 years. Myself and my wife Brigid, started the company. Melissa, who is a myotherapist, was one of our first staff members. And Marney, has joined the team in the last 3 years. Together, we all feel like a family. This has been something we have all visualised for many years and making it a reality is very exciting.


Question: How do you hope to change the way modern medicine is delivered in Melbourne?

Chris Jellis: Imagine being able to wait for your doctor in a green courtyard, or having your yoga class run by a physio with a masters degree, or being able to eat the food your nutritionist recommends. For a long time you would only visit your doctor or physio if you were sick or injured. Now you can come not just to be treated, but to get strong, fit and well again. We really felt it was a missing piece in modern healthcare.


Question: Why should we be participating in yoga and Pilates classes?

Chris Jellis: They are great ways to exercise that can be tailored to you and your body. They can help tone, strengthen, and stretch our bodies, and you can do them if you haven't exercised in a long time, or if you are advanced and need a strong workout. They are both also very mindeful, so they help us stay in the moment to help quiet our minds.


Question: Can you talk us through the benefits of yoga classes?

Chris Jellis: Yoga is awesome. There are so many benefits to strength, flexibility, mindset. I play a lot of sport, so for me yoga is a tool to help free up the tension in my legs and hips that inevitably develops from all of the running I do. My wife does power flow to develop core strength and flexibility, and in a warm environment helps improve her cardiovascular system. But she also likes to do Yin on a Sunday afternoon which is longer holds and deeper stretches, to help reduce stress and to help her focus.


Question: How do yoga and Pilates differ?

Chris Jellis: In a nutshell yoga is more flexibility based and pilates is more strength based, but that is simplifying it a great deal. You can do some really tough yoga classes, and you can do some very gentle pilates sessions. Pilates also tends to use more equipment like reformers and trapeze tables, and uses springs and resistance to build tension, whereas yoga primarily uses our own body weight. So it really depends on the person and the teacher. We offer all types for all people, so having a chat to us first to see what you are after can help point you in the right direction.


Question: Can you talk us through your free services for those going through cancer treatment?

Chris Jellis: 2 years ago my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has now been through years worth of surgery and treatments, and watching on I often felt quite helpless. So, because we were in the position to do so, we started offering our services to people going through these treatments completely for free. Radiation and chemotherapy are often worse than the disease itself, so being able to do some gentle stretching class, have a green juice, or a nice relaxing massage in a nice environment can be really soothing for both the body and the soul. It is something we are all really proud of as a group that we have been able to give away literally thousands of sessions over the years, and it keeps us focussed on wanting to succeed so we can continue to do this.


Interview by Brooke Hunter



 



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