Episode 109 - Sara Leutchford, part 1: MDT Italia

Sara Luetchford PT, Dip MDT, OMT

In this episode, #109, I interview Mrs. Sara Luetchford of Milan, Italy. She shares her professional story, the changes she's seen over the years there related to manual therapy and physiotherapy as a whole and more.

Sara Luetchford obtained a diploma in physiotherapy in 1979 having attended the course at Guy’s Hospital in London. She has been practicing in Italy since 1984. 

After a number of years working in Medical Centres, Hospitals and Clinics as a Consultant and obtaining considerable clinical experience through working with patients and attending numerous courses, especially in the orthopaedic field, she opened her own practice in 1994.
She introduced the McKenzie Method to Italy and organised the specialised courses of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy on the spine for Physiotherapists and Doctors from 1989 to 1995.  

She is a founding member of The McKenzie Institute Italia and is a member of the Board of Directors.

Following training organised by The McKenzie Institute International, she was awarded the title “Credentialed Therapist”. Sara then obtained the Diploma in the Method, and she was authorised as an Instructor of the recognised courses in 1994. She now teaches throughout Italy and abroad as required.

Sara obtained a Masters in Manual Therapy at Genoa University, and the title of Orthopaedic Manual Therapist (OMT). She also has numerous other national and international titles and diplomas.

Married and living it Italy since 1980.


Professional Background

Sara’s initial training as a physiotherapist was at Guy’s Hospital in London before moving to 

Italy. She notes her initial training was Maitland-based, until her mother (also a physio) 

introduced her to the McKenzie Method. She shares the story of her first meeting with Robin 

McKenzie in Italy, and how this led her to eventually become credentialed and move on to the 

Diploma Program in New Zealand. 


Early Exposure

Sara reflects on the differences between the active empowerment approach of the McKenzie 

Method to the passive approach of other schools of thought. She talks about the advanced 

manual therapy coursework that she completed in Italy, and how this allows her to utilize a 

broad set of skills to assess and treat patients.

She talks about her time at The Lodge with McKenzie in New Zealand, and how this 2 week 

experience transformed her practice. She also describes a few different “gadgets” and 

mechanisms that she was introduced to in order to help perform exercises.

Manual Therapy Training and Current Endeavours:

Sara recalls the intensive 3 year course through IFOMPT, and the exciting opportunities that 

arose upon returning from New Zealand. She speaks of her private practice and the 

multidimensional team approach that her clinic provides.

Sara’s referral base is a combination of doctor’s prescription, and self-referral or word-of-mouth. 

She reflects on the rapid change in professional training and patient referral patterns since her 

arrival in Italy.