Testimonial - Arm and shoulder problemThe following testimonial has been voluntarily supplied and reproduced in full.
Richard Heller, June 2011
I used to think that an osteopath was man who hated osteos. Then a friend told me to go to Garry Hares. Mr Hares of Holborn, the alliterative location of his London clinic.
My shoulder was in agony. Arm movements of any kind had become stiffer than the Tin Man before Dorothy applies the oil can. My cricket career seemed to be over. I even had to abandon the piano playing which gives my neighbours such pleasure (they pound on the walls and ceilings to hear more. Sometimes they pound half the night - they just won't let go). Conventional treatment was getting nowhere and I was spending untold but useless sums on proprietary medicines and unguents. It was time to try something new.
Garry is an osteopath and acupuncturist. Framed certificates bear witness to this in his clinic, alongside minutely detailed route maps of the human body. Osteopathy as a discipline is nearly 150 years old, although it shares some core principles with the much older discipline of acupuncture. Wellness entails mind, body and spirit, the body has natural self-regulating mechanisms, structure and function go together. When parts of the body get stressed or displaced the mechanisms stop working and function is lost (I am simplifying hugely). And they can become very painful.
Essentially, an osteopath manipulates things back into the right place. So does a chiropractor (whom I used to think was a doctor who qualified in Egypt) but the latter concentrates on the spine, often with great force. An osteopath works all over the body, and more gently, although that is not always apparent from the patient's screams.
Garry fixed up the shoulder. I could bowl again. Batsmen all over the world rejoiced. My piano playing resumed: the neighbours asked for encores. That happened about five years ago and I have been going to him at least once a week ever since. Both careers are still in progress.
My half-hour sessions with him have settled into a regular pattern. "What have you got for me today?" he asks. Over the five years, we have visited all the joints in my body several times over. Most often I direct him to the one complaining hardest, sometimes I let him take his pick. At times he ignores my selection and sets to work on somewhere quite different. I have learnt to trust him and I know everything is connected. I lie on the couch and he sets to work, releasing the relevant bits of my body from the unnatural places where I have forced them to go. Sometimes he works away with his fingers and thumbs, but he also regularly employs a garish plastic object with a series of hard knobs. This can cause severe temporary pain, but I have learnt to suffer for my art and it feels wonderful when it is over. When I have done something really foolish he may have to move something suddenly and violently. Again, this can be terribly painful but what follows is a rare sense of freedom, not just in the affected part but right through the body.
Usually, he follows up with some acupuncture. The needle has no terrors for me, and I can sometimes sense its unblocking effect, as blood flows with a pleasant tingle where it did not seem to flow before. I then usually pass into a light doze.
Does it work? It does for me. I am a 63-year-old man and I can do what I want most, to play cricket all the year round, and with an unnatural bowling action which throws huge stress on a body never well designed for the task. (According to an orthopaedic surgeon, I should have been shot long ago if I had been a racehorse). If my bowling has become less and less effective, that is not Garry's fault but mine. I can also field energetically and, as a batsman, run swiftly between the wickets, especially when there is a fast bowler to get away from.
Unlike Garry, I have no high regard for the body. Mine is simply a car which I am compelled to drive. It's an underpowered and badly maintained saloon. After half an hour with Garry, it feels like a sports car.
Richard Heller is an author and journalist and cricketer in the sunset of a mediocre career. He has published two novels about the game A Tale Of Ten Wickets and its long-delayed sequel The Network. He has twice been a finalist on BBC TV's Mastermind.
Further information about treatment for the condition(s) detailed above can be found in our therapy pages. For details of where you can receive these treatments, please see our clinic locations below.
Stowgate Road, Deeping St James, Peterborough PE6 8TZ
Serving the wider areas of Stamford, Spalding, Bourne and Crowland
3 Brookside, Sawtry, Huntingdon PE28 5UX
Serving the local communities of Huntingdon, Yaxley, Brampton, St Ives and St Neots
44 Station Road, Steeple Morden, Royston Herts SG8 0NP
Providing services to Royston, Baldock, Ashwell, Potton and Biggleswade