Mr Muddy Berkshire tries: Nolan Osteopathy
I’m a natural cynic when it comes to the whole holistic gamut, but one of the more established favourites I do believe in, having seen results, is osteopathy. So when Mr Muddy B’s clicky knees and frozen shoulder returned after a gruelling session of golf over the summer (poor lamb) I shuffled/shoved him (ow, ouch, OW!) into the expert arms of Maria Nolan at Nolan Osteopathy.
Maria and her husband Fergus started their business after Maria had been so impressed by osteopathy treatment she’d received for back pain that she retrained as an osteopath. They now have two practices – one in Midgham, Berks and a second in Henley, Oxon.
Fergus is the practice manager for the business, Maria bases herself in Henley, while senior osteopath Matt Devonport works at the Midgham practice.
I sat in on their session so I could see the specific techniques that Maria favours. She uses a combination of massage, manipulation and medical acupuncture, depending on what techniques she thinks will work best on the client’s aches and pains, and their preferences.
After an incredibly thorough lifestyle interview (covering everything from sleeping position to which hand he holds the dog’s lead!) Mr Muddy stripped down to his Calvin’s and Maria assessed his posture and immediately pointed out he was tighter in one leg than the other. I looked and she pointed out how one knee was definitely bigger than the other from the back, I can’t believe we hadn’t noticed it before!
New to me was the electro-acupuncture Maria recommended for the knees. It’s a technique where a small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles. The current is left on for several minutes and continually pulses the needle, getting into the deeper muscle fibres which would take much longer to reach with standard manipulation or massage.
In the name of science (and for laughs) I tried it in my arm. Initially it’s like getting a small electric shock, you can feel your muscles twitching, but it’s not painful, just an odd feeling that you get used to after a minute or so. Afterwards my arm felt quite tired as though I’d been doing some heavy lifting, because the muscles had been contracting. Ooh, I’m thinking no need to exercise anymore, just hook me up to the mains for a few minutes a day!
Speaking of which, my dear husband was ‘suffering’ from a GOLF injury let’s not forget. It’s not like he was doing extreme DIY or helping too much with the housework, so yes, I did encourage Maria to ramp up those amps!
Maria then did some more traditional massage on Mr Muddy B’s legs, some manipulation of his shoulder and back, and ended the session giving him some exercises to do at home. I really liked Maria, she was professional and authoritative (she really knows her stuff and is obviously passionate about osteopathy and the results it can achieve) but still kept the session lighthearted and relaxed.
After three sessions and religiously doing his homework every night (he’s been balancing on one leg while brushing his teeth every night, while I”ve been desperately restraining myself from pushing him over) he is definitely making progress. His mobility has improved in his back, there has been a lot less pain in his knee after his weekly football sessions and overall he’s been really impressed with the results.
Fergus explains that they are keen to give people as much information about osteopathy as possible to make sure it is right for them. Education is a big part of what they do – there’s loads of info on their website and their newsletters and blog are really helpful if you want to find out more.
They also offer a free 15 minute consultation so people can see whether osteopathy is right for them. The fact that I no longer have to wear ear plugs to block out the clickety-click of Mr Muddy B’s knees is testament to an effective treatment, so if you’ve been wondering what to do about your aches and pains, definitely give them a call.
A first session costs £55 and usually lasts about an hour and a follow-up session is £45 and lasts about half an hour. On average, three to four session is usually enough if you do your homework, and then you might pop back for an occasional ‘MOT’.
Nolan Osteopathy, Orchard Life, Orchard Cottage, Bath Road, Midgham, West Berkshire, RG7 5UU, and PureStretch Studio, 45 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AA. Tel: 01491 281972 / 07591 094223. nolanosteopathy.co.uk