Even as a child I was aware of Osteopathy. My aunt was receptionist to Dr Stephen Ward (the Osteopath involved in the Profumo affair), and I would often accompany my mother on her visits to receive regular Osteopathic treatment from our local Osteopath. I can’t recall a time when I did not want to be an Osteopath, and I could never understand my school friends saying they had no idea what they wanted to be when they grew up. I just ‘knew’ I wanted to be an Osteopath.
On leaving school I studied at the British School of Osteopathy in London, qualifying from there in 1979. My first post found me running an Osteopathic charity clinic in the heart of Birmingham. The clinic had been established ‘to provide Osteopathy for all regardless of income’, and nobody was ever turned away. It was here that I originally developed my interest in what was then termed ‘Geriatric Osteopathy’, and I found it profoundly fulfilling to be able to help those whom the NHS had effectively dismissed with such trite diagnoses as “It’s just wear and tear, what do you expect at your age?” or “It’s arthritis, nothing can be done”. There was so much that could be done to improve these people’s mobility and quality of life. My eldest patient was 102 years old!
I moved to Leamington Spa in 1982; opening my first practice above a shop called Crackpots (which some patients felt to be particularly apt!) in Warwick Street, moving in 1987 to Upper Holly Walk/Campion Terrace where I have worked ever since.
I worked as a Senior Clinic Tutor at The British School of Osteopathy in Suffolk Street London for nearly 3 years, which I found hugely rewarding and stimulating, although getting up at 5.00 am to commute to London from the Midlands was incredibly tiring. I can truly sympathise with many of my patients who suffer the draining effects of long distance commuting, particularly in the wintertime.
In 1989 I embarked upon a 3-year Advanced Diploma in Osteopathy and was awarded my ADO in 1992, being presented with this by Princess Anne at a ceremony at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London which was followed by a reception at St James’ Palace. This was a very special day for me.
In 1990 I trained in the use of Low-Level Laser Therapy, travellling at one point to Washington DC to attend the North American Association of Laser Therapists annual convention at the famous Bethesda Military Hospital. There, I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to some of the world’s foremost laser researchers and therapists talking about this extraordinary and revolutionary technique. I became an immediate convert to this (hitherto almost science-fiction) therapy and even now, 32 years later, I never cease to be amazed by Low-Level Laser’s ability to accelerate the healing and reduce the pain in an ever increasing range of conditions. In August 2021, when my colleague Neil Lunt decided to retire, I fulfilled the ultimate Low-Level Laser ambition of owning a NovoTHOR whole body red light therapy unit. It was a huge financial investment, but it has been worth it. It has transformed some of my patient’s lives in a way that manual therapy could not, and I am constantly delighted at the relief and help that it gives to my patients; expanding my practice’s ability to provide pain relief and total body health care.
Having also practised Medical Acupuncture for a number of years, I decided to train with the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) and became a qualified BMAS practitioner in 2008. The use of Medical Acupuncture has enabled me to help patients in severe pain, in cases where Osteopathy alone would be of limited benefit.
Whilst some might think that, by studying other complimentary therapy techniques, I have become a ‘jack-of-all-trades and master of none’, I believe that broadening my treatment base in this way has served to significantly enhance my ability to help patients; thus I would counter by stating that I prefer to think of myself more as a ‘jack-of-all-trades and master of ONE!’
Osteopathy has been my life for over 44 years – and I still love every minute of it.
For an idea of what I do, please visit What Does an Osteopath Do?