Choosing a kinesiologist can feel like a daunting task, especially for those who have never worked with one before. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, healing from injury or simply on a health kick, kinesiology done right will lead to a strong foundation in your life.
But with so many kinesiologists out there with varying levels of experience and certification, it can be hard to distinguish them from one another.
In this post, we will describe 7 easy steps that will help you find a trustworthy and professional health practitioner.
1. Ask other medical specialists
The easiest way to begin your search and find a great kinesiologist is to start with the health practitioners you already see, like your doctor or physiotherapist. Ask if kinesiology is the right therapy for your health and then ask for a referral.
Unlike sports medicine, connecting with a kinesiologist doesn't require a referral. If your doctor or physio doesn’t have a good connection, you can find one online.
2. Broaden your search for kinesiologists
Finding a kinesiology professional online is easy. First visit your local kinesiology associations. Most kinesiology association's websites have a find-a-kin webpage. Search "kinesiologist [Your City Here}". Your kinesiology association should be easy to identify, for example here in BC it’s called the BCAK (British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists).
When you are navigating to the “Find-A-Kin” page you can expect a flood of results. Make sure to read beyond the top spot on these kinesiology web directories, and check their profiles.
A web directory through your local kinesiology association is a good starting point because you can be sure your kinesiologist is in good standing as a certified health professional. Navigate to the end for more find-a-kin resources.
3. Narrow your search by knowing what to look for in a kinesiologist
You might be wondering what are the main considerations of how to choose a kinesiologist, education, experience, and background? Individually none of these factors will not guarantee success so it’s important to see the whole picture.
Most kinesiologists in Canada are required to meet a very high standard, but this depends on your province/territory. Each province (sorry, no territories yet) has a kinesiology association, and membership requires a 4 year kinesiology degree, CPR, first aid, hands on rehabilitation or research experience. Some of the provinces even require a criminal record check. So skills vary but all kinesiologists start from a very high level of health and fitness education.
Work experience will vary between kinesiologists, but it isn't a definitive characteristic. They might have experience with different types of clients (populations) in various settings over the years. For example your kinesiologist might not have much rehabilitation experience, but might have worked previously as a case manager in a disability management program. There are benefits to both focused and well rounded experience, so keep an open mind about experience when you’re choosing your kinesiologist.
A kinesiology degree is a requirement for a kinesiology career and ongoing professional programs and courses are needed for professional registration. Kinesiology schools offer work placements like co-op, internships, or work abroad, and there are often opportunities on campus working in fitness facilities. As a result, a new kinesiologist might surprise you with their skill.
For fitness and rehabilitation services a healthy relationship is as important as experience. Your kinesiologist is someone you will be spending some time with, so if you have a choice between a kinesiologist with a bit more experience and one that you really connect with, it would be safe to choose the one that you get along with!
4. Narrow your search by location
Ensure that the location where you will be working together has a good reputation. In some cases you might be at a private health facility or studio, or a public gym. Check to make sure the location is listed on Google, or see it in person before committing with your kinesiologist.
Many kinesiologists travel and offer services online. The benefit is you save your commute, and get to work in the comfort of your own space. When choosing a kinesiologist, make sure the location is practical, convenient and comfortable.
5. Make sure to ask your kinesiologist these questions
Plan to spend some time speaking with your kinesiologist to see if you click. Ask about their practice and treat it like a date: find out if you get along and reserve the keep searching if it doesn’t feel right. After 15 minutes if you feel comfortable and at ease, you are most likely in good hands.
Are you a good fit for kinesiology?
Kinesiologist help a wide range of clients, but everybody's situation is different. Make sure to ask your kinesiologist if they can treat you for what you need.
Ask about their fees
Get into the nuts and bolts; ask about their initial consultation fee and prices before you commit to working together. A kinesiologist’s treatment can take weeks or months for full benefit, so get a sense of your program cost up front.
Ask about their approach to sports conditioning
If your goal is performance in athletics, then a kinesiologist can help you. Conditioning is a detail-oriented training style to strengthen muscles, correct imbalances, improve mobility in joints and perfect movement patterns, all of which any athlete would benefit from. Choosing a kinesiologist who specializes in these health benefits will improve efficiency and reduce risk of injury in sports.
Ask about your kinesiologist’s approach to Evidence Based Practice
Increasingly healthcare is moving towards a model where treatments and interventions should be consistent and justifiable for each patient. That’s why it’s important when you’re choosing a kinesiologist to have a discussion about their approach to evidence based practice. For example outcome measures is a scientific framework for setting a baseline and continually testing your progress and outcomes during your kinesiology program.
Ask about their Exercise prescriptions
If you hear your kinesiologist ask you “what do you want to work on today” you might want to reconsider your choice of kinesiologist. You’re not visiting a hairstylist, this is your health! In fact kinesiology is similar to medicine in the sense that prescription is a core kinesiology technique. Exercise prescription is effective delegation of exercise and essential for a successful program.
Ask about their approach to personal training
Training is a broad, but indispensable technique in kinesiology. Note the first word: “personal”. Not a pre-set program, but something personalized to you and your goals. When you’re choosing a kinesiologist for personal training, make sure to find one who sets goals, creates accountability and brings the energy!
Ask about your kinesiologist’s self regulation techniques
When choosing a kinesiologist you might ask about how they approach self regulation. Normally it’s done through a set of specific techniques such as breath work that help calm the nervous system and prepare you for more effective physical activity. This is particularly useful for clients experiencing chronic pain or in rehabilitation programs.
Ask about what education you will receive
Education is a huge component of a kinesiologists treatment and will be an ongoing part of any rehabilitation, fitness or wellness program. Make sure to ask your kinesiologist about their treatment approach and what to expect from treatment.
There are lots of frameworks and systems in a kinesiologist’s tool belt. From fitness to sport, rehabilitation programs to traditional healthcare, a kinesiologist is equipped with a range of techniques. By communicating about your kinesiologist’s fees and approach to therapy, you should be on the right track.
6. Is your kinesiologist active?
Another tip is to ask your kinesiologist what they do for health and fitness in their own life. They might have gone through a rehabilitation program themself, a common thread between many professionals in the industry. And chances are that they stay very active in day to day life, activity is human kinetics, so they should know best!
Kinesiology is an active therapy, and a wellness career aligns well with physical activity interests which reflects well on their practice. Take a minute to strike up a conversation about what sport or health program your kinesiologist pursues in their spare time.
7. Qualify your kinesiologist
Make sure they have certification to practice in BC or your provinces/state. A kinesiologist pursues a career in healthcare and will provide a professional registration number on request.
Your kinesiologist’s certification number is verifiable through their kinesiology association/college. This body is important as they set the professional bar for qualification for becoming a kinesiologist, offer insurance and run criminal record checks.
Your kinesiologist is also required in most regions to have valid First Aid including CPR. If this is of concern you might check in to see if your kinesiologist’s certifications are up to date.
What if you're not happy with your kinesiologist?
It's simple, if you're not happy with your kinesiologist, you can find another one. Sometimes personalities don’t mesh and that’s fine. However, if you have had a negative experience (for example your kinesiologist was distracted during your session, or they treated you in an impersonal or disrespectful way) it’s important to know how to get out of a difficult situation.
In case of a negative experience, step one is to give direct feedback to your kinesiologist as soon as possible. In cases where this is not possible you should make your kinesiologist’s manager or business owner aware and consider a complaint to the governing association.
In the most serious cases, looping back to your regional kinesiology association might be very important, potentially saving future clients an equally negative experience. This is another reason why anyone working with a kinesiologist should familiarize themselves with the governing association.
You're in control of your program
Like any other therapist your kinesiologist is required to ask for your consent before working together and collecting health information about you.
Your health data is your own. If your kinesiologist has completed an assessment, filed any reports or recorded any chart notes, they must legally allow you access within 30 days. They might however ask you to pay a reasonable fee for the privilege.
This data will be important if you decide to continue with another practitioner so you can easily transfer your file and stay on track with your program. You might also give consent to a lawyer to access your health data if they need your health information for legal purposes.
Looking for a kinesiologist can feel daunting which is why it is important to do your homework and ask the right questions. If you're in a situation where you find yourself seeking and choosing a great kinesiology practitioner, don't give up. Ask friends or family for a referral or look online for listings with reviews. Be sure to find a good fit before making a decision.
By following these tips, you will be able to find a qualified and reputable kinesiologist who can help you meet your fitness goals! Make sure to check out our blog on active vs. passive treatment.
Make good use of the following resources in your search for a kinesiologist.
The College of Kinesiologists of Ontario (CKO): This is the regulatory body for kinesiologists in Ontario. The CKO website has a searchable database of all registered kinesiologists in Ontario.
The British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK) is the association in BC. Check out their find a kinesiologist listing. https://bcak.bc.ca/find-a-kinesiologist/
The Kinesiology Association is a UK based organisation whose web page also offers find-a-kin service: https://kinesiologyassociation.org/directory/find-a-practitioner-near-you.aspx
New Brunswick Kinesiology Association http://nbka-aknb.ca/find-a-kin/
PEI Find-a-kin https://www.kinpei.ca/find-a-kinesiologist