Osteopathy with Joanna Mitchell, Aidan Spencer and Soran David
What is osteopathy? Osteopathy was founded in America in 1892 as a system of manual therapy using the body's natural capacity for healing. It is rooted in the core sciences, anatomy, physiology, neurology, pathology and is based on the principle that healthy function of the body requires free movement of the musculoskeletal structures and a balanced blood and nerve supply.
What can osteopathy help with? A wide range of problems can be helped; feel free to speak in person to one of us if you would like to know more.
What to expect? The initial consultation lasts for up to an hour and a half; this includes taking a full case history, physical examination and treatment if we feel that we can be of help. We will ask you details about your current problem as well as general medical questions. For the examination, you will normally be required to undress down to your underwear (please choose wisely so that you feel comfortable). We thencarry out a physical examination to assess your posture and the movements of your spine and limbs, look at muscle tone and strength and if necessary, perform other clinical tests such as checking neurological reflexes and blood pressure.
Once we have reached a working diagnosis, we will discuss with you our findings and what we think is causing the problem. We will talk about the treatment options with you to ensure a safe and effective approach. If necessary, we will seek your consent to liaise with your GP to include them in the management of your case.
What does treatment involve? After assessment and diagnosis, the osteopath will offer treatment that they consider appropriate for the person and their condition. This will aim to address the symptoms to help alleviate them and may or may not include working on the specific area that is painful - depending on for example how inflamed that is - and more generally in order to help balance and integrate the whole body in order to address how the problem came into being.
A variety of techniques may be used during the treatment according to what is appropriate for the individual. These include manipulation, soft tissue massage, rhythmic articulation and the very gentle 'unwinding' and cranial work.
As well as there being a range of techniques, you will also find that the osteopaths have different approaches to each other. This is often down to the practitioner's preferred way of working as they have developed their skills whilst studying and since qualifying. While manipulation can be suitable in a number of different presentations, it is not an essential part of a session. Some patients prefer to have strong treatments in order to feel that something has been loosened up enough for them to carry on working or training; others prefer to only have cranial treatment as either they have experienced stronger treatment and didn't enjoy it or else have something in particular that they want looked at through this modality.
It is important to let us know at the outset if you have a particular preference in order that we can direct you to the most appropriate osteopath; feel free to call us if you need help with your decision.
The Practitioners and the Osteopathic Profession Osteopathy is a state regulated profession and all osteopaths at the Sunflower Centre are registered with the General Osteopathic Council (tel 020 7357 6655), www.osteopathy.org.uk
Joanna Mitchell DO Principal osteopath
I have been an osteopath since 1991. The standards of quality of care, knowing my limits and developing a wide web of connections with other disciplines have been the cornerstones of the way that I work. Health is an ever changing picture, being complex and at the same time incredibly simple. When I first started in practice, I saw lots of people in acute pain who were desperate for some relief. Over the years, I have panned back with the zoom lens and am better able to take in a wider picture of who that person is, with their bundle of genes, their birth story (we all have one!), their personality, hobbies, postural habits, their level of vitality and a whole gammut of injuries. Therein lies the complexity; the simplicity lies in being able to work with those natural healing forces in order to enhance the person's connection to their health.
Whilst at college I was treated by an osteopath using the cranial approach, and felt my eyes opened by the experience and knew that I needed to learn this form of osteopathy. I now mostly treat this way and find ever more depths in it. Cranial osteopathy originated in the US after William G Sutherland had a 'eureka' moment whilst casually observing a model of a skull and spent the next 30 years studying and experimenting on himself until he felt confident enough to speak to other osteopaths about his research. The cranial approach arrived in the UK in the 50's and slowly grew in popularity. The model does not stop at the head, the whole body is worked with using this approach. For me it is a gentle yet potent method of working with the body that enables me to work confidently with pregnant mums, newborn babies, all the way to the very frail and elderly.
I love the challenge of new cases as much as carrying out a long term treatment plan with someone who has a number of health issues. My aim always is to assist the person to better understand what is going on in their body, in their life, assist them as best I can and to look together to see what they can do to help themselves.
My fees changed in June 2011 to reflect the fact that my appointment times lengthened from early that year. I took the step of offering an hour for follow-up appointments, something I'd been slowly moving towards for some time and now make standard for all adults. The fee structure can be seen on the prices page.
Aidan Spencer BOst MSc (Paed Ost) MICO Associate Osteopath
I started practicing osteopathy at the Sunflower Centre in 2006 and find its calm and therapeutic atmosphere greatly enhances my work with patients. I am especially pleased that we help a broad range of people of all ages from within the local community.
As well as my original osteopathic training at the British School of Osteopathy (BSO) and studies with the Institute of Classical Osteopathy, I have completed an MSc in paediatric osteopathy at the internationally regarded Osteopathic Centre for Children where I now work as a clinic tutor. I previously supervised a special clinic run by the BSO in a primary school for children with severe social, emotional and behavioural problems in which we used osteopathy to help with their complex postural and other 'psycho-physical' problems that so often accompany a difficult early life. I lecture in a range of subject areas in both under- and post-graduate level osteopathic education.
As well as my interest in paediatrics, I also specialise identifying and addressing spinal postural patterns in patients of all ages. This is partly founded upon 25 years' study and 20 years' teaching experience of T'ai-Chi and other Chinese exercise systems. Interested patients are taught simple remedial exercises - I see our therapeutic relationship works most effectively as a partnership towards the relief of pain, healing and returning to health. I also provide ergonomic advice and have experience of carrying out workplace assessments to help prevent the common strains and injuries associated with prolonged PC use arising in the first place - prevention being preferable to cure.
I am recognised by all major health insurance companies.
Soran David BSc (Hons) Ost Associate Osteopath
I’m really delighted to be part of the team of osteopaths at the Sunflower Centre, especially having been a patient here myself some years ago.
As well as my work at Sunflower, I teach undergraduate osteopathic students at the BSO (British School of osteopathy) supporting and supervising them in their clinical work and lecturing in the conceptual basis of osteopathy. This keeps me on my toes and constantly informs my day-to-day practice.
I would describe my osteopathic approach as eclectic ~ traditional structural techniques (stretching, soft tissue massage, articulation and manipulation) as well as other approaches such as cranial osteopathy and ‘medical acupuncture’ or dry needling techniques. Whatever the approach, it will always be very much in consultation with you, the patient.
One of the things I most enjoy about my work, and about a uniquely osteopathic approach, is the ‘detective’ work ~ why has this particular problem occurred now? What structural and functional features have conspired to produce this set of symptoms, what systems are involved? Of course we may not always have all the answers, but the more that I can understand the many factors that may be involved, the more chance we have of finding a lasting improvement.