Photography by Alex Slaets and Roland Haynes
Web Design by Roland Haynes
Specialties and Treatments
Massage, Stretching and Joint Manipulation
Typically, I use massage techniques to explore the condition of the different layers of fascia and to discover possible overtight or very weak muscles or pockets of fluid retention or obstructed fluid movement. After I have felt and warmed up the tissue, I might apply Muscle Energy Techniques, PNF stretches or Active or Passive stretches. The aim is always to relieve pain and increase the Range of Motion of certain joints and consequently restore fluid movement throughout the body.
Kinesiotape is a lightweight, flexible style of taping that I might apply after a treatment to prolong its effect and continue to relieve pain and provide gentle support up to 5 days. The tape allows for maximum movement and you will barely notice that it's there.
The placement, shape and direction of pull of the tape dictates whether it lengthens and relaxes a tight muscle or whether it supports the tissue that has become rather weak. Furthermore, when the tape is stretched and applied the skin underneath is lifted slightly from the tissue below allowing for a small change of the flow of the fluid in this area. This is thought to be the reason why it helps to reduce local swelling and the success of this tape modality in lymphedema treatment. I may use it to:
Reduce swelling or bruising
Offload weak, injured or strained muscles
Improve awareness of postural problems
Help you move more comfortably
This technique differs from the Classical Acupuncture that is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and uses fixed sets of insertions to address the body holistically. Medical Acupuncture is based on Western Medicine and attempts to ease pain caused by muscular, skeletal or myofascial problems. It is used with great success in a lot of NHS GP practices and most pain clinics and hospices in the UK.
There are a few contraindications to Medical Acupuncture and people who have bleeding tendencies or those who are on anticoagulant medication should avoid it. I also do not tend to offer acupuncture as a standalone treatment and consequently the needles will stay in place for between 5 to 15 minutes.
This technique is inappropriate when you are undergoing cancer treatment or when you show signs of infection, open wounds, aneurysm or malignancy. When you are afraid of needles, I think it wise to try out other modalities.
Acupuncture helps relieve pain because the body starts an inflammatory process the moment the needles pierce the skin and this has a healing and relaxing effect on the area. Simultaneously it releases endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers.
Scar Tissue Release
Following any kind of surgical intervention or injury that pierces the skin, the body immediately initiates an inflammatory response. In a chaotic and hap hazardous manner it starts laying down tough fibrous replacement tissue to rapidly gap the wound. Fortunately, the brain is very much aware that up till this point the repair has evolved in a rather unorderly manner and it starts about four to six weeks later a process to regenerate or remodel the scar tissue.
This process is of particular interest to the manual therapist because we can help the body to organise the scar so that it causes minimal restriction to the surrounding tissue. All scars superficial or deep and no matter how big prevent fluid movement of the underlying and neighbouring tissues and organs and will cause discomfort and pain. Abdominal scarring from a C-section for instance is closely related to chronic back pain. Scarring can also decrease the arterial or venous blood circulation of an underlying organ and interfere with its health.
The therapy consists of gentle stretching and manipulation of the area based on myofascial release techniques.
Jean-Pierre Barral and his team promote the concept of Visceral Manipulation or the possibility to change and manipulate the rhythm and inherent mobility of each individual organ. The viscera of our abdominal cavity move freely with respect to each other because they are enveloped in membranes that make up gliding surfaces. Mr Barral found that all pathology of the viscera results in restrictions of the organs which the body tries to compensate. After a while this compensation will be the cause of problems that are no longer identified with the diseased organ. Restoring the freedom of movement of the organ through gentle manipulations very often leads to pain relief.
"Eat healthily, Sleep well, Breathe deeply, move harmoniously"
Lymphoedema is a chronic condition of localised swelling caused by an impaired lymphatic system. This condition can be present at birth, manifest itself after surgical interventions or occur as a complication of cancer treatment. Unfortunately, the condition is incurable but Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) or Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) help improve outcomes.
Manual Lymphatic drainage is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow.
This stimulates the lymphatic vessels which carry substances vital to the defence of the body, removes waste products and reduces the swelling. An appointment will on average last 1 hour and the number of sessions needed depends on the volume lymph load and the progression of the lymph flow.
Combined Decongestive Therapy is a combination of Manual Lymph Drainage and Compression Bandaging. It also includes the fitting of proper compression garments, skin care and self-care and advice on nutrition and exercises. The duration of an appointment depends on the size and the numbers of the of the limb(s) that need treatment and may last up to 2 hours per session. On average a minimum of 10 appointments will get the body ready for compression hosiery that will keep the swelling under your control.
Regrettably, I came across Pilates classes rather late in life but from my fist class I was surprised by the immediate effect it had on my body. Not only has it allowed and helped me to grow physically stronger and more flexible, but it has also increased my stamina and willpower, and it has been a great companion and support on my weight loss journey.
I chose to train with the Australian Pilates and Physiotherapy Institute (APPI) in London because they practice physiotherapy led Pilates that can be a guide or a basis for rehabilitation schemes. Therefore, I like to keep my classes very small with a maximum of 10 participants because that allows me to observe and assist you to find the best execution of the exercises. Generally, I aim to help you find your individual best alignment and to strengthen your centre which will allow you to move efficiently and fluidly without compromising your joints. Together with you I will try to become aware of my body’s shortcomings and strengths, to be patient and precise in the execution of the exercises, to be kind and forgiving to our bodies, to become alert and improve our balance and stamina and most importantly have fun and enjoy and celebrate that we can move.