It's in our hands

This physiotherapy practice strives to provide comprehensive quality care. Treatment is evidence-based and up to date with the newest treatment modalities.


At our practice we are a treatment team of four physiotherapists.


From left to right:  Jessica Wallace, Samantha Van der Walt (nee’ Harding), Shabnum Shah and Tayla Saunders

The Team

This physiotherapy practice in Empangeni has a strong dynamic team of physiotherapists. We treat our patients with a holistic team approach. Our aim is to help our patients the best that we can and to maintain a high quality and friendly service. Our physiotherapists treat patients in hospital at Life Empangeni Hospital and at Richards Bay Melomed Hospital, as well as out patients at our practice no. 5 Addison street.

Samantha Van der Walt (nee' Harding)

Samantha Van der Walt is a qualified physiotherapist with a passion for helping people to live a better pain-free and healthy life. She qualified in Bloemfontein in 2009 with a Bsc. Physiotherapy (uovs). She completed her post graduate Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy (OMTC) in 2011.During this time she became very interested in post operative orthopaedic rehabilitation and the treatment of back, neck and joint pain. Samantha continued to complete various post graduates in this area of physiotherapy, and continues to do so even today.

In 2012 she moved to Kimberley and started working in a large physiotherapy practice where she was mainly involved in outpatient care. It was in Kimberley that she discovered a special interest in treating shoulder conditions, headaches and knee injuries. She got more involved in treating sports injuries and various athletes especially runners and rugby players.
In 2014 she moved back to Kwa-Zulu Natal and opened her practice in Empangeni. It was in this time in her career when she started her quest on learning more about how to treat chronic pain and has since completed multiple post graduates through the train pain academy on the neuroscience of pain and how to manage these patients.Samantha started presenting body conditioning exercise classes in 2016 at her out patient practice. In 2017 she started furthering her training into the area of womans health physiotherapy and treating pelvic conditions such as urinary incontinence, pudendal neuralgias and vulvodynia.

In 2020 Samantha started to train in paediatric pelvic health and treats urinary and faecal incontinence in children as well as bed wetting.
Samantha is trained in the application of dry needling, taping, mulligan techniques, maitland techniques, pain neuroscience education, graded motor imagery, connective tissue and fascia mobilisation and mindfulness. She is trained in exercise prescription with regards to appropriate loading to specific tissues while respecting the phase of recovery post operatively, post acute and chronic injury, in the recovering athlete, chronic pain patient, ante and post natal.
Samantha believes in the value of continued learning to give the best evidence based treatment to her patients. At her practice the continuation of professional development of herself and her staff is a priority. Samantha is kind and friendly, and cares about her patients. She will always do her best to help, or to get them the help they need if it's not within her own expertise.

Jessica Wallace

Jessica Wallace graduated with a BSc. Physiotherapy from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2016. She completed her community service year at Queen Nandi Hospital in 2017. It was in Queen Nandi that Jessica developed her love for paediatrics.

Jessica has been working at Samantha Harding Physiotherapist since the beginning of 2018, and has since completed numerous post graduate courses including dry needling, taping, multiple pain management courses through the train pain academy, Tanya Bells Lower quarter course, ante natal and postnatal concepts and breastfeeding, as well as her Basi Pilates mat teacher training course. In 2020 Jessica went on to train further in paediatric pelvic physiotherapy where she is now trained to treat urinary and faecal incontinence as well as bedwetting in children.

Jessica has special interests in paediatrics, orthopaedics and post operative rehabilitation, sports injuries as well as pre and post natal physiotherapy and the management of shoulder and knee conditions. She also teaches Pilates at the practice and is hoping to expand her clientele to include varying age groups as well as special populations (OA, back pain, pre and post natal etc.)

Jessica is friendly and outgoing and loves interacting and forming relationships with her patients. She is commited to providing quality care and helping patients achieve their best quality of life.

Shabnum Shah

Shabnum Shah graduated from UKZN in 2016 with a Bachelors Degree in Physiotherapy. She completed her community service in 2017 at Ngwelezana Tertiary Hospital where she had gained experience in treating various conditions. 

Shabnum locumed at hospitals back home in Durban post community service and thereafter joined Samantha Harding Physiotherapist in February of 2018.

Shabnum has completed various post graduate courses including Dry Needling, Kinesiology Taping, Tanya Bells Lower quarter course, and the treatment of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. She has also completed some of the modules in pain management and the application of pain neuroscience. Shabnum is OMT (Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy) trained and can apply both Maitland and Mulligan techniques.

Shabnum enjoys treating a wide variety of conditions both in and out of hospital. Her special interests are the treatment of neck pain and headaches; post operative rehabilitation; rehabilitation of neurological conditions (such as stroke and cerebral palsy), treatment of SIJ dysfunction, as well as the treatment of the intensive care patient and cardiothoracic post operative care.

She loves watching her patients reach their highest function and is committed to helping them get there.

Tayla Saunders

Tayla Saunders graduated from the University of the Free State in 2018 with a Bsc. Physiotherapy. Tayla completed her community service year in 2019 at Ngwelezane Tertiary Hospital. The experience gained there developed her passion for neurorehabilitation (such as strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries), burns, polytrauma and intensive care physiotherapy. Her extracurricular activities of yoga and diving also sparked an interest in woman's health physiotherapy and hydrotherapy respectively, particularly when integrated with neurorehabilitation.

Tayla started working at Samantha Harding Physiotherapist in August 2020. Tayla has completed various post graduate courses including Management of Neck pain, Hip rehabilitation, Tanya Bell's Unpacking the shoulder, management of covid, Management of complications following a spinal cord injury, Functional synergy of the deep muscles of the hip and pelvis, Mindfulness, Endometriosis and the role of physiotherapy.

Tayla is in the process of completing her Yoga teaching Training with the Young Yoga Institiute and has started giving yoga classes at the practice with the aim of expanding it to offer classes to pregnant woman, chronic pain sufferers and the post natal mother.

Tayla fully believes in treating her patients with a long term holistic goal in mind and tries to integrate this as much as possible into her treatments.


We are trained in the management and rehabilitation of sports injuries. We can assess for any muscle imbalances that may be the cause of the injury or contributing to poor performance. If you have had any sport related injuries or want to improve your performance, make a booking to see us.

Often when you have suffered from ongoing pain your nervous system becomes over sensitive- this means it over reacts to stimuli in the area of your pain.

Pain is very complex with multiple factors influencing our pain experience. It is vital to understand that on-going pain can be due to the way the brain processes information from the body, and not necessarily from damaged tissue. Pain is an experience we have in order to protect ourselves from further injury- in other words our brain decides there is a threat to us and the output the brain sends is pain.