Mark Jones – Solving The Human Jigsaw
All content by Joff Alexander-Frye
“The body is the most complex machine or organism in existence”. How’s that for the opening gambit in an interview? They were some of the first words out of the mouth of Mark Jones, Founder/Owner of Three Sixty Rehab in Exmouth, who I recently met with. These words prepared me for what was a superbly interesting conversation.
Based on the beautiful Exmouth Marina and established in May 2017, Three Sixty Rehab offer a unique approach to rehabilitation and recovery, embracing the latest in physical, technological and neurological advances to ensure that their services are first-rate. They specialise in improving movement, flexibility and strength, as well as reducing pain and removing physical barriers or limitations for people. Their most common issues that they treat are back pain, sciatica and ‘runner’s knee’.
When I asked Mark about this approach, he commented,
“So much of the recovery or rehabilitation journey is based around fear and confidence. Our job is to simply help individuals to have faith in their bodies again, to educate them on why certain physical ailments or trends have persisted in their lives and, importantly, fix those problems once and for all. My job is to solve the human jigsaw! The human spirit is an incredible thing and if people embrace the mental posture of perseverance, focus and determination, there is very little that they cannot achieve. Whatever the mind sets itself on, the body can usually follow. As a health practitioner, my job is simply to go after the root problem and fix it.”
Bold statements indeed, but not unfounded when I found out that Mark has worked in a rehabilitative capacity with the human body for over twenty years now. Originally from Essex, he joined the Royal Navy as a Chef, before continuing with the Navy working alongside the Royal Marines in 1996. During his successful career with working alongside the Marines, he was a specialist Personal-Trainer and Instructor, ran Outdoor Leadership Training in the Brecon Beacons and then became a Rehab Instructor in 2007.
It was this last move which saw Mark find his real groove within this career, so much so, that his trajectory accelerated and he rose to eventually become the Head of the Complex Trauma Unit, in Hasler Company of the Royal Marines, working with Royal Marine Commandos and Special Forces personnel who had suffered serious injuries in the act of service in Afghanistan. He worked particularly with those who had sustained life-changing injuries (including single, double and triple amputees), helping them to gain confidence and faith in their new body, and assisting them in the process of adapting to the challenges that their injuries presented them. Mark reflected,
“You look back at the road you’ve taken and there’s a straight line. You never saw it along the way, but all of my varied career experience adds together into one complementary skillset. I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.”
It was here, in the Complex Trauma Unit, that Mark learned his ‘bed-side manner’; the art of reading people, intuiting their deep underlying emotions and fears and building rehabilitation plans around that person’s specific needs. He also has an amazing ability to discern someone’s nuanced physical defects simply by running a visual check over them. I was to find this out first-hand when he noticed me carrying my weight slightly more on one hip than the other. Little did he know that I have complex issues diagnosed from my younger years including stunted hamstrings, pectus excavatum (a sunken sternum and twisted ribcage), a dislocated hip, two damaged knees and a left foot which fractures on a recurring basis.
I have learned to mask the lasting pain/discomfort of those injuries, but Mark clearly has a well-trained eye to notice these sorts of things. Not only did he notice them, but he took me through a ‘neurological M.O.T’, aiming to reset certain neural pathways that have got into bad habits. This is based on a cutting-edge area of science called Applied Movement Neurology, treating the brain as the main processing unit of the body and trying to fix issues at the root, rather than treating the symptoms. For me, some of the ‘re-mapping’ that Mark took me through included balance and equilibrium issues, triggered in my right ear canal. I must admit that I felt different afterwards and was pleasantly surprised, as I thought I was just popping along for an interview!
Mark has intentionally built Three Sixty Rehab upon a foundation of an ethical, value-based approach to physical therapy. He is a belief-driven man and told me how much of a risk it had been to start the business last year. He openly admitted not having a well-thought through business plan but, rather, a strong gut-feeling that the timing was right and a deep sense that he would regret not going for it if he didn’t ‘pull the trigger’.
As with any small start-up, it has been a roller-coaster ride for Mark but he has already tasted meaningful success. Attracting a steady stream of new clients, he has only seen one person leave his classes in the eighteen months since starting up. His clients almost always achieve full rehabilitation or recovery and then want to stick around and take part in other classes; a sign of loyalty and thankfulness for Mark’s services and approach.
“Age is absolutely irrelevant to rehab and recovery. The human body deteriorates over time, but the human spirit doesn’t. People either have that determination to recover and enjoy their lives, or they give in and fall into a cycle of ill health (both physically and mentally). My mid-to-long-term ambition is to see the business grow and, hopefully, open a large clinic in Exmouth, offering the same services and classes that we currently do, but on a much larger scale. Watch this space!”
Just as Mark had started our time together with an inspiring quote, he finished our time together with one too, recalling some famous words from Mark Twain;
“In twenty years’ time, you’ll be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than the things that you did.”
Follow Three Sixty Rehab on Facebook to keep up to date with their exciting journey.