Media Release; Spinning Down Under

The French Society of Vestibular Physiotherapy will hold its 3rd Congress in Lille, France at the Grand Palais on the 6th and 7th February 2015.

Professor Margie H Sharpe is an invited keynote speaker ahead of an already impressive speaker list including Michel Lacour, Pierre-Paul Vidal, Alexandre Bisdorff, Elizabeth Vitte, Christine Aktouche, Dominique Gerbaulet and Eric Blin. She has an outstanding reputation and is well known for her work in vestibular and balance rehabilitation.

In Australia, physiotherapists are considered primary practitioners and have been for over several decades.

Patients can come to direct without a medical referral when the case is not under an insurance or legal claim.

Professor Sharpe’s success with patients; in particular complex vestibular patients and those with refractory dizziness, attracts patients from all parts of Australia and overseas, reflecting her dedication, inquiring mind, creativity, and unyielding commitment to the betterment of her patients, and professional education in vestibular disorders and vestibular rehabilitation.

She says “Vestibular rehabilitation, in particular through the use of a multi-disciplinary approach, is an important practice that I undertake responsibly. Understanding how to diagnose the aetiology of dizziness and implementing appropriate treatment is a skill that I encourage all clinicians who encounter patients complaining of vertigo and dizziness or disequilibrium to practice.”

Professor Sharpe has been treating patients with vestibular disorders since the late 1980’s, during which time she has witnessed not only a growing interest from allied health professionals, medical practitioners and the public in this specialized field, but also major advances in the knowledge and understanding of the vestibular system in health and disease; and importantly, the development of new techniques and equipment to examine the function of the vestibular system in patients and new treatment approaches.

Professor Sharpe has been using state of the art infrared Video oculography Frenzel goggles for many years, and in 2012 acquired the newly released video Head impulse test, for diagnosis and treatment of her patients after monitoring and observing its approval for medical use. When she established the Dizziness & Balance Disorders Centre in Adelaide, it was the first in Australia, and in South Australia. She is the only vestibular therapist in South Australia using infrared Video Frenzel glasses and the first vestibular physiotherapist in Australia to purchase the video Head Impulse test (v-HIT). These tools are an essential part of assessment and take guessing out of the equation in diagnoses and treatment. Professor Sharpe uses the video Head Impulse test because it is easier to administer, objective and far more reliable than the manual Head Impulse test. The v-HIT influences the treatment approach with the additional information it provides e.g. covert saccades.

Professor Sharpe’s two hour symposium titled “Spinning Down Under” will cover Vestibular Rehabilitation in Australia in a practical sense.

Professor Sharpe says, “We are very hands on in our practices. For example, with a vestibular patient with a loss of vestibular function in one or both ears, we focus on the patient’s gaze stabilisation as well as balance rehabilitation during treatment. In the case of Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo (BPPV), the patient is treated using the Canalith Repositioning Manoeuvre. After the BPPV has resolved the patient’s balance is assessed and a balance rehabilitation programme is prescribed if indicated.“

“We are working through the Australian health system for prescribing rights, and referrals to medical specialists that are Medicare rebateable. There is still much work to be done for this to be recognised.”

She continues, “We have shown, through conclusive evidence in a pilot study in Australia that Vestibular Rehabilitation provides a cost effective outcome for the dizzy patient. I hope to hear from other worldwide vestibular therapists and practitioners, during the course of this conference, in particular, how each of you assess and treat the vertiginous patient.”

Professor Margie H Sharpe welcomes early questions from participants of the 3rd Congress of the French Society of Vestibular Physiotherapy.




The French Society of Vestibular Physiotherapy was established almost 20 years ago by Alain Semont. Alain is a French physiotherapist who developed the Semont manoeuvre to treat Benign Paroxysmal Positioning Vertigo.

Professor Dr Margie H Sharpe is the Director & Principal of the Centre and the pioneer of Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation in Australia, and

  • is a clinical scientist, senior clinical consultant, mentor and a principal educator in this field.
  • is a recognized expert in the rehabilitation of patients with vestibular disorders.
  • is an accredited Senior Consultant who works exclusively in Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation Therapy as a physiotherapist.
  • has undertaken numerous international courses, lectures, seminars and case conferences related to the evaluation, treatment and management of patients with vestibular disorders.