If you’ve watched Batman - The Dark Knight Rises, you may recall the scene in the crater where Batman’s broken back is cracked into place. It may have seemed ridiculous to you. But skilled physicians like this actually exist in the real world. It may not be as dramatic as in the movies, but over time, you can correct very serious issues with your body. And we recently got to meet some people who are able to do something similar - they are called osteopaths.
Osteopaths undergo a 4 year degree course in either the UK or Australia which is similar to what a general practitioner studies, the only difference is that not only are they trained to diagnose issues but they treat with physical therapy without the use of any medication.This can done by joint or tissue articulation to eventually help the body heal itself. They believe that the body is more than capable to heal on its own if guided in the right direction.
When it comes to alternative treatments like this, there’s always a bit of skepticism involved. I’m sure you have seen plenty of these at road shows at shopping malls, offering free consultation services. Like most people, we feared the unfamiliar and did not give it a go. Until now.
We recently made the trip down to Orchard Health Clinic, located on the 7th floor of Parkmall, directly opposite Plaza Singapura.
Osteopathy does not just concentrate on treating the problem area but uses different techniques to balance the body systems to help it function the best it can. Their main priority is to prevent further injuries to your body by finding out why these symptoms have developed in the first place. It is a form of drug-free physical therapy that treats and strengthens the body’s musculoskeletal framework.
Everyone has different issues so every treatment differs. Treatment starts first with a consultation to diagnose the issue at hand followed by deciding what treatment is most suitable and why before moving onto the treatment itself. A good osteopath will never claim to be able to perform quick magical fixes. Treatment will always be in 3 stages: short term (body awareness/pain relief), mid term (exercises) and long term (overall lifestyle maintenance).
As for myself, I’ve had backaches for a while now but assumed it was because of my sleeping posture. I always brushed off the idea that the aches on my lower back could be a serious long-term problem. Instead, I attributed my regular aches to sports, poor sleeping posture or from carrying too many shopping bags.
I never knew it was simply because I had developed a poor body posture.
My Osteopathy Experience
On my first visit, I was given treatment by Lewis Clarke and on my second visit, Martin John – both warm and friendly British osteopaths from Orchard Health Clinic. I was, however, skeptical about my first visit as I’ve had massages for my aches before, but they never proved effective in the long term.
1. The Diagnosis
“It’s never just a backache” was the bold claim Lewis started with when I told him I suffered from lower backache. Lewis was confident of getting to the bottom of my chronic back pains.
Lewis studied my body and was able to visually pinpoint the painful parts accurately. This astounded me.
Based on my posture, he was even able to determine which foot I placed more weight on. True enough, upon examination of my shoes, the foot which more weight was placed on had its sole more worn out. I have apparently been adopting an unbalanced posture all my life.
During this session, I learnt so much about my body, things I never realised I had such as fallen arches, mobility and scapular stability. Also, I learnt that your body constantly re-adjusts during difference situations to keep your eye level straight and maintain inner ear balance.
Lewis then made observations on how to correct my posture. He came off as someone extremely knowledgeable. After the diagnosis, he began some exercise that were tailored to help correct what he had diagnosed.
2. Traction Techniques
Traction techniques involving longitudinally stretching the muscle fibres were used to relieve pressure on my spine. Have you ever felt the wave of electricity in your body? Or like the tingling sensation of current flowing through your body? That was how it felt as the traction techniques loosened the pressure on my spine, promoting better circulation
3. Massage/Soft tissue manipulation
Unlike the Thai or Chinese massages I’ve tried previously, I’ve never had such quick relief of muscle pain and tightness around my back. This type of massage is called soft tissue manipulation which helps promotes the flexibility of the body’s connective tissues. It also increases the oxygen flow in the blood and releases toxins from muscles.
4. Kinesio Taping
Lastly, Lewis started taping my lower back, which felt quite tight but supportive when I stood up. He then described to me what Kinesio Taping does. It is meant to aid treatment and prevent further strain by taping the injured muscles and joints to relieve the pain by supporting the area and reducing any possible inflammation by lifting the skin.
It is actually a type of flexible sports tape with a texture very similar to Salonpas, this stabilizes as well as supports the joints and muscles without restricting circulation and range of motion.
5. Ending The Session
The focus at Orchard Health Clinic is good service and quality care so every treatment session will last for a minimum of 30 minutes. Throughout the session, you will be given good service from friendly staff and clear explanations from professionally trained osteopaths.
As part of what they do, both osteopaths aim to educate and increase their patient’s personal body awareness. They don't like their patients to be solely reliant on their services and prefer to let them manage their issues with the solutions provided. But of cos, they are always there if needed and post treatment communication is welcome through email, phone call or even SMS.
On my return visit, I was treated by Martin John. I’ve always had super flexible joints and never thought there was any issue. Yes, I was one of those girls who could bend her fingers all the way back to touch the back of her hand. I found out from Martin that I actually had something called hypermobility syndrome. I never knew this all my life.
Although Lewis highlighted this to me the week before, Martin was very adamant about the importance of taking care of my body because of my overly soft and flexible joints. He went on to print a list of guidelines on how to take care of myself and what not to do in order to avoid injuring myself because of my condition.
I had never heard of osteopathy before setting foot in Orchard Health Clinic. Simply because I never thought that I would have any muscular, nerve or physical body conditions.
Both doctors at Orchard Health Clinic made the experience an enlightening one. They taught me so much about my body as they didn’t just concentrate on treating the problem area but wanted to dig deeper to find out what caused the problems in the first place. After that, physical treatment techniques were used to balance the systems of my body.
The personalisation of the session was the highlight of my experience as I felt everything was specifically catered to me based on the diagnosis I was given. It’s best to start figuring what the problems of your body are. Finding the root causes of your ache would help prevent issues that could potentially lead to long-term problems.
Another highlight of the clinic is the Visual 3D Scan that both doctors do before any treatment is done in order to pinpoint any asymmetries and to help increase body awareness. For example, how many knuckles facing in or out etc. Both of them are are trained to 'see' with their hands so they don't just rely on the info relayed by the patient. This comes from a lot of hands-on experience that they know what feels right and what doesn't.
We were very impressed by both Lewis Clarke and clinic founder, Martin John. Both whom are UK certified Osteopaths that practise at Orchard Health Clinic. We highly recommend our readers to at least go for a consultation and decide for yourselves.
Consultation starts from $120 for 30 minutes, (Longer timing may be necessary for first time or more complex cases.)
You can check out Orchard Health Clinic here.
This post was brought to you by Orchard Health Clinic.