Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Actually Do?
Some people just want to feel better. Others are interested in the details.
If you’re one of them, my primary influence is the physical therapy work of Tom Bowen, via Romney Smeeton and Graham Pennington. It is an assessed and targeted way to influence your nervous system which is different from the simplified “Bowen Technique” widely taught and practiced in the UK.
I also use Bowen-inspired scar work called McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release (MSTR) and the movement work which Gary Ward synthesised as Anatomy in Motion (AiM).
How Is It Different from Other People?
I work from the big picture to the detail of your problem, prioritising the identification and treatment of the underlying issue, wherever it may be, rather than just focussing on the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Often pain which isn’t the result of a direct accident has complex causes elsewhere in the body. Very few therapists would disagree with this, but, in practice, not so many have the tools to establish where the underlying issue is or the commitment to prioritise it.
I believe that you have to change the entire context of a problem as much as directly dealing with its symptoms. This is why I can often create change where you may not have experienced anything more than a few days' relief before.
Does it Hurt?
Some of the moves can be uncomfortable when there is a problem in the soft tissue. The great advantage is that this discomfort will be targeted to the exact point where it is needed and lasts just a few seconds.
I don’t deliberately “crack” your spine or do any speed adjustments – the goal is to free up the natural movement of your bones by releasing the unnecessary tension in your muscles. There can often be some immediate improvement, but the full effects take several days, or even weeks, to show up.
How Many Sessions Will I need?
Perhaps not as many as you think. It’s impossible to predict for any individual, but in my experience the range is from 2 weeks up to about 9 months (though in that case, after the first 5 or so sessions I’d only see you once every 4-6 weeks, so it’s not a weekly commitment for that long).
If we’re not seeing changes after 2-3 sessions it may well be time to try something else. I do my best to refer you to someone who I think might be able to help better than I can. I have had people send their friends to me even though I couldn’t help them, because I was able to point them in the right direction to sort their problem out.
It can be a good idea to come for maintenance treatments if your lifestyle puts a strain on your body. These are typically every 1-3 months depending on what works for you (athletes who train heavily and people managing chronic pain conditions are more likely to need more frequent sessions than the average person).
What Do I Wear?
I work through clothes most of the time. Assume that you will stay fully clothed the whole time (in fact if taking shoes on and off is a problem you can leave them on).
I do need to work directly on the scar (i.e. on the skin) for the scar work to be effective, but this is often possible while still clothed if you plan what to wear. For AiM, loose fitting clothes are great. You don’t need to wear your lycra.
Can I Bring Someone with Me?
The basic answer is absolutely yes. I work from my home clinic in Cambridge and if you are more comfortable if a friend or family member comes, that’s completely fine. The Covid answer is still yes, but we’ll have to talk about logistics in order to keep risk as low as possible over the next few months. (It’s obviously the same in London too.)