My journey towards clinical practice started when I was 12 years old playing indoor football in school. Little did I know then that playing football with my friends in school would start me on a journey towards studying and running my own clinical practise in Acupuncture, movement and bodywork therapies.
I remember I was running towards the goal trying to get on the end of a long ball that looped over me. I was slightly behind the ball and the goalkeeper kicked the ball straight into my jaw. This lead to severe pain and the realisation that the impact had locked my jaw into locked an open position! Which I’m sure looked funny at the time but was terrifying to the 12-year-old me suffering pain and not knowing what or how to fix the problem.
This day was also the first time I did an adjustment. I acted instinctually caught both sides of my jaw and pulled down and forwards popping my jaw back into place. The pain eased and everything seemed to be back to normal as I had no pain any more and my Jaw wasn’t stuck open!
I went about growing up and playing lots of sports including water polo which I loved but all the while there was an underlining problem that was developing from that incident when I played football that I was totally unaware.
Suddenly one day when I was about 19 I had a really bad limitation of movement in my left shoulder, lack of strength and pain that seemed to come out of the blue. It was so bad that I couldn’t lift a pen at one stage with the pain and it seemed only to be progressing into more pain and limitation. I was at the time playing water polo and training with weights with correct form as I was just finishing a course on gym instruction/personal training. So I was fit, training correctly and resting correctly but I was totally baffled by this injury whereby I couldn’t pin down the origin at the time and it was stopping playing my sports.
I tried the western route of scans, talking to a specialist who wanted to operate on my shoulder without evidence of anything wrong showing up on the scans! I saw physios and loads of other disciplines over the course of that year but to no avail.
I eventually found a therapist with a high-level Acupuncture & Bodywork therapy skills set that looked at the root cause. Not just the site of pain. It was only on time lining my experience of life and any knocks and falls I had, that we came back to that indoor football match and the jaw injury that I’d totally forgotten about that we found the root cause. This was a fresh approach that I hadn’t experienced before in the past year of searching for answers with many therapist and experts.
He told me that the Jaw injury was the root cause of my shoulder injury and it had been developing for over 7 years with my body adapting all the time to accommodate the original injury. Essentially my neck vertebrae and all the muscles locally and into the opposite end of my spine were all adapting until it couldn’t any more leading the pain in the shoulder.
A few sessions later and everything was gone completely which I was stunned by and delighted. I knew then and there that I was going to study these disciplines as they were extremely effective and that there were loads of people out there like me who had no answers to injuries they had and needed help.
I began immediately researching the disciplines this therapist had learnt, were to study them and enrolled. I began by studying the Bodywork disciplines of Tui Na/ Kore Therapy and Cranial Sacral therapy and then Acupuncture and a Degree in Oriental Medicine over a period of 3 years to get myself into clinical practice as soon as I could. I totally dedicated myself to this and immersed myself in learning to the extent that I started training in a martial art called Bujinkan Taijutsu (Ninjitsu).
I choose this martial art as there were loads of joint locks within it and I wanted to feel in my own body where an adaption can travel in the body when a joint is compromised. I taught it was important for me to study the body in movement and where practically things adapted in a moving body not just in a textbook.
At the time I was working as a personal trainer in a gym and I could see many people training that needed help so I had plenty of willing patients to practice on.
I continued studying various modalities to continue adding to my skill base all with the intention of helping to understand the root cause of injury and unwind the adaptions in the body until the presenting pain or injury is resolved.
This has to lead me on an interesting journey over the past 25 years constantly adding to skills to deepen understanding of the body all the while marinating a beginners curiosity to everything I studied. Luckily I’ve had the pleasure of studying with masters in their fields over the years which has been wonderfully humbling and enlightening.
I continue studying to this day and every day I’m looking at some book related to my work which I find really really enjoyable and interesting. The saying is when you find something you love doing and have a passion for that you don’t work a day in your life from that point onwards.
Studying The Best Modalities
To date, my favourite areas of study I’ve had the unique opportunity to learn are in no particular order Tungs Orthodox Acupuncture (an ancient specialist form of Acupuncture), Anatomy in Motion (an ingenious movement disciple created by Gary Ward) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (a physiological approach to change dynamics). I use all the skills I’ve acquired depending on the injury and the needs of the person who I’m treating at the time but these three remain my favourite and most effective in isolation or in combination.
The combination of the three disciplines above is incredibly powerful at resolving almost all complaints that I see in the clinic and I count myself lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn them.
When I look back now at that random game of indoor football lead directly to a career for the past 20 years in health it provers to me anyway that if you choose to see the silver lining you never know where it will take you.