Hi Nick, welcome to the Neighbourhood Clinic’s therapist Q&A session. First off, how long have you been osteo for?
What have you liked about being an osteo that has kept you in the industry?
People often get faster relief than with a panadol.
Curiosity, we know a lot about the body and medicine, but for what we know, there is more that we do not. I tend to enjoy questions more than the answers and the body in all it’s complexity and provides me with plenty of questions. It maintains my curiosity and keeps my mind and hands busy.
For me the beauty of being an osteopath is that it is both an art and a science so the left and the right brain are firing together. They fire together over anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, psychology, evolution and philosophy. Oh yeah, and I like that I don’t have sit at a desk all day.
In the last 12 months, what areas have interested you the most?
The autonomic nervous system, more specifically the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic subdivisions. These are the automatic guidance systems that run your body, from heart and breathing rate, digestion. When in balance we feel relaxed, calm and great sense of wellbeing. When out of balance sleep and digestion are affected and our ability to heal is reduced.
Good mechanics and posture. I regularly practice yoga and enjoy problem solving movement problems through a combination of osteopathic philosophy and yogic wisdom.
You’ve studied a lot in the visceral field within osteopathy over the last 4 years? Could you briefly explain it and give a practical example of it?
The organs are not just floating around in space, well, in some sense they are but basically they are strongly connected to each other and to the skeleton. If they were not there would be some significant problems that would occur if you were doing a head or shoulder stand during your yoga practice. In addition to this many of them respond very well to gentle manual therapy. Take for example the stomach and intestines. It seems there are a good number of people experience problems with their digestion. These structures at a very basic level are hollow tubes of muscle and respond very well to massage and stretching just as do a tight set of shoulders.
I had a recent patient that had severe pain when doing back bends in yoga. To begin with we worked on the basic mechanics of backbends releasing the muscles around the front of the body, mobilising the facet joints in the spine that glide and control the back bend movement. There was some improvement but still there was a sense of restriction during her yoga practice. After a little more exploration we found a little abnormal tension around the duodenum (the first part of the small intestines).
With some really simple gentle work through that area she was able to once again able to do fantastic instagram worthy backbends.
This is where the work becomes really interesting. What was thought initially to be a mechanical issue was in fact a visceral issue manifesting as a mechanical issue. One of the clues for this case was that the patient had reported bloating after eating.
You came from Warrnambool, moved to Melbourne, have Indian heritage and have travelled a heap over the last 14 years. What has been your favourite destination?
Hiking the Lycian Way along the Mediterranean coast and alpine Cedar forests of Turkey, picking pomegranates and figs off the trails, being invited to dinners with Turkish Nonna’s and tracing the footsteps of the old Roman trade routes.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Prior to osteopathy I did 2 years at Melbourne Uni with a focus on botany and biochemistry. So I spent a fair bit of time in greenhouses. Plants are a sincere love of mine and my house and backyard are not dissimilar to the botany labs I spent so much time in all those moons ago.
At present there is a healthy collection of bonsais, ornamentals, edibles including 6 varieties of chilli. I also love wood and am currently making a Danish mid century desk, at the current rate it is being made it should be finished in early to mid 2025.
I have also been on a mission since I inherited a ridiculously fancy cafe espresso machine to perfect my latte art. This morning’s rosetta was passable. The machine is too large for my living room but I consider it an installation piece for my house.
Who are you heroes?
Nikola Tesla – What a brilliant mind. Can you imagine a world where you could charge your phone in a way as simple as you pick up wifi?
AT Still – The brilliant natural philosopher and father of Osteopathy, a man of philosophy, reason, spirit and connections.
William Buckley – An amazing story of survival against all odds and Australia’s first agent of reconciliation between the indigenous population and the Colonials.