By Lisha Gomes | Opening Doorz Editorial | February 24, 2020

Dr. Aijaaz Ashai was recently awarded the ‘Top 100 Healthcare Leaders Award’ by the International Forum on Advancement in Healthcare in the field of Physiotherapy (IFAH), Dubai. Beaming his broad, boyish grin, Dr Ashai can’t contain his gratitude for the honour in the most demanding field in the medical sector that he has been bestowed upon. Feet firmly rooted to the ground he says he owes it all to God, his parent’s blessings and of course his hard work. Humble and forever caring, Dr Ashai has made it his calling to give back more than what he has received—he conducts free sessions for people below the poverty line, across his clinics and is also on call whenever anyone needs him.

A Physiotherapist in Advanced Physiotherapy in Ortho, Neuro and Sports Injury Rehab, Dr Ashai is also sought out for his fitness consultancy. A Graduate of Physiotherapy from The National Institute for Orthopaedics (Calcutta) Dr Ashai has a specialization in Knee, Shoulder and Back rehab from the U.S.A. He has established fitness centres in Mumbai metropolitan region and is a consultant all over India and abroad.

This ‘Top 100 Healthcare Leaders Award’ is mostly given to doctors from Australia, South Africa, UK, US. For the first time, an Indian Physiotherapist was chosen. “It has taken lots of hard work for me to reach here,” says the good doctor. Whilst receiving the Award, Dr Ashai mentioned that everyone should be awarded for their work in healthcare and fitness and more people in this field should be spoken about. Dr Ashai is well-known as he has worked in a number of sports like cricket, football, hockey, rugby, kabaddi, tennis and case studies of his work was looked into when he was selected for this Award!

Opening Doorz met up with the always smiling and ever ready to help Dr Aijaaz Ashai for a peep into his career, his clients, and the magic in his fingers!

Dr Aijaaz Ashai Indian Physiotherapist
Case studies of Dr Aijaaz Ashai’s work were looked into when he was selected for the Top 100 Healthcare Leaders Award.

A Physiotherapist’s Story
After being an average player in cricket in spite of all his efforts, Dr Ashai started studying harder and gave his entrance exam in Delhi University and found his name in the waiting list of the All India Institute of Medical Science. He was selected for Physiotherapy. With just a little knowledge in this field, he still went ahead after getting admission to the National Institute for Orthopaedic and Handicapped in Calcutta. He started practising physio in December 1998, and his starting salary then was Rs 2,500/-

The journey begins
Being a sports lover, he was asked to go for an ITF Tournament in 1999 after a physio had left. When a player from France, Julien Boutter, sprained his ankle in the first set of the second game Dr Ashai was given 30 seconds to diagnose the problem and three minutes to treat the player. Here was the challenge: if Dr Ashai was not able to diagnose or treat, the player would be out of the game! He managed to diagnose and treat Boutter who went on to win the game. Newspapers the next day in France flashed headlines like ‘Magic hands of Doctor Ashai’. That’s where his journey in sports physio started and he then joined the Mumbai Cricket Association as head physio.

The Indian Physiotherapy Story: Changing face of Physiotherapy in India
Physiotherapy has changed drastically in India. Today, physios are taking decisions if patients should go to a neurosurgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon, etc. As they know their limitations today. Also today, physiotherapy is useful in all fields of medical treatment and there has developed a level of trust between orthopaedic surgeons and other specialist doctors with physiotherapists. According to Dr Ashai, physiotherapy in India is to some extent better and if only Indian Physiotherapists were to get the level of facilities they get abroad they would do much better. Here’s a case in point: A man who was bedridden for seven years came from South Africa since the physios there couldn’t do anything for him. When he came to India, he began walking in 7 days! Dr Ashai was part of the team that treated him in the early years of his career.

Dr Aijaaz Ashai Indian Physiotherapist
“Whenever you train, do not compete with anyone; train according to your body. Do not overexert yourself because everyone cannot have one routine,” says Dr Aijaaz Ashai

Famous personalities treated by Dr Ashai
Dr Ashai (Physiotherapist) has worked with many people famous personalities from the field of Sports, Bollywood and the Corporate World. Some of the famous people he has worked with are Ratan Tata, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Salman Khan and Prabhudeva to name just a few. He has also worked with many sports teams like the Indian Rugby Team, Ranji Trophy teams, Mumbai Indians (IPL), and is currently with the Pro Kabaddi Team. Rugby and Kabaddi players are more prone to injuries than other sports as it is a contact sport. Players playing this sport have to be treated quickly as the game continues unlike in Cricket which gives you time to be treated.

Parting words from Dr Aijaaz Ashai
“Whenever you train, do not compete with anyone; train according to your body. Do not overexert yourself because everyone cannot have one routine. Develop a routine ideal for your body. Not everyone needs bulk. Routines also depend on the profession you have chosen; whether you’re working in an office or on the field or if you are a sportsperson. Marathon runners should never run on concrete because the pressure on one’s joints is nine times your body weight and can cause serious harm.”

Message to Aspiring Physiotherapists
“Work as much as you can, if it works you’re the best, if it doesn’t work it doesn’t mean you are the worst because remember you are just a physiotherapist, not God. Give your 100 per cent and leave the rest to God.”

Dr Aijaaz Ashai Physiotherapist in brief
B.P.T (Cal) IAP (MEM)
Specialized in Knee, Shoulder, Back (USA)

  • Head of the Department
    Adams Wylie Physio Rehab Centre, Red Cross Society of India
    Adams Wylie Physio Rehab Centre, 7th Floor, 1877, Dr. Anandrao Nair Marg
    Red Cross Street, Mumbai Central (East), Mumbai—400 011
  • Director
    Ax1 Physio and Fitness Centre
    Mumbai and Kashmir
    Mumbai Clinic
    Smt. J.B. Khot High School, Rajendra Nagar, Datta Pada Road
    Borivali (E), Mumbai—400 066
  • Consultant
    Nitro Gym
    B1, Skybay Hubtown, Bhulabhai Desai Rd., Breach Candy, Mumbai—400 026

(Lisha Gomes is a third-year BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) student at St. Andrews College, Bandra, Mumbai. She is passionate about reading, enjoys singing and has also participated in a few dance shows. She plays soccer for her college after being a star performer for her schoolMary Immaculate Girls High School, Borivali).

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