Remember a time when your body did what you asked it to? Remember when you didn’t give your back a second thought? When shoulders were just shoulders? There comes a moment when backs, necks, shoulders, knees go… renegade. So unhelpful. Genuinely depressing, actually. So here are 20 of the best osteopaths in the country – each one worshipped and recommended by Midults. Get cracking. Dem bones will thank you.
1. THE TRAILBLAZER: STUART KORTH (TUNBRIDGE WELLS)
When it comes to pedigree, Stuart has it. His father was a pioneer in alternative medicine and Stuart inherited his passion for the profession – it’s obsessive compulsive, he says of osteopathy, “I can’t not.” Now one of the country’s top osteopaths, he’s often the pro people go to see when they need a second opinion or have had nothing but failures elsewhere. His special area of interest is the physical and emotional issues women face after childbirth. He’s like a grandmother, he says, dispensing advice on adapting to life with a baby. His own baby is The Osteopathic Centre for Children in London which he helped to found – a brilliant charity which lets children benefit from osteopathy even if their families can’t afford it.
2. THE CAN-DO CHAMP: SARAH WHITEHEAD (ISLINGTON, LONDON)
Down to earth, full of common sense and wonderfully supportive (without a hint of head-tilting mawkishness), Sarah adores the hands-on delivery and holistic nature of osteopathy. You might think you’re going to see her with back, hip, shoulder or neck problems but “things are never that simple,” she says. Whatever you present her with, she’ll be looking at your whole body. Her approach is very bespoke – “We’re like snowflakes. We’re so individual.” Her beef is pain, which she believes is dealt with badly. And when people are in constant pain, often their job is in trouble, their relationship is in trouble and huge social problems can occur. Well Sarah gets it and can fix it – often in just one session.
0207 609 7628 / www.newriverosteopaths.com
3. THE FAMILY SAGE: MELISSA LODGE (MANCHESTER)
You know when there was that big girl at school who you looked up to because she was a bit more sorted than you? Melissa is that person. She’s lovely, she’s calm and she’s very focused on wellbeing. Her chief interests are pregnant women, babies and children but no one’s off limits. She believes stress is so bad for our bodies – and if we don’t deal with our mental problems our bodies will shut down and worry presents itself as pain. But don’t expect Melissa to do all the work: She’ll be asking you pressing questions about your lifestyle. And we challenge you to lie to someone so lovely.
07980 663 641 / firstname.lastname@example.org
4. THE DIAGNOSIS DOYENNE: KERRY DOWSON (NOTTING HILL, LONDON)
If anyone understands the challenges we Midults face it’s Kerry Dowson. “The pressures for us are huge,” she says. “Kids growing up, our work, elderly parents – we need support, we need to look after ourselves too.” *Midults nod pathetically* Kerry treats everything from migraines to foot pain, but diagnosis is her real strength. She’s a whizz at pinpointing the problem and coming up with an action plan. “The problem,” she says, “is that when your body goes wrong you start catastrophising – so you have leg pain for a month and you’re all ‘Oh my God I have a tumour’.”(Told you she got us) She’ll help you breathe again and psychology is key to the process. She’s good on teenagers too. “I help you understand why your teenager is such a gloop,” she says. She did faint at her first manipulation during her training but as our sources sing her praises – ‘a charming genius’ – so unequivocally, we’ll allow her that.
0207 727 7733 / www.nottinghillosteopaths.co.uk
5. THE TENSION-TACKLING SCOT: ROBBIE SMITH (EDINBURGH)
Based in Charlotte Square, the heart of the Edinburgh establishment, it’s no wonder that office workers make up the bulk of Robbie’s clients. He started out working for a bank himself but found it dull. He wasn’t good enough at chemistry to be a doctor like his dad, so osteopathy it was. And he loves it. “Not being in the mainstream means you can be a bit more of a maverick, you have the freedom to try new things,” he says. Tension is the thread that runs through all of his work. “Everyone’s problems come from tension. I spend my time undoing that tension in people’s muscles and letting them be healthy.” The good thing about Robbie is that while he’s all about helping people adjust their behaviours, he also lives in the real world. “Ideally we’d do everything effortlessly but unless you live in a field and do yoga everyday it’s not going to happen,” he says. We say thank you for understanding.
07725 844 000 / www.harmonicosteopathy.com
6. THE ACTION MAN: DAVID MILLARD (RICHMOND, LONDON)
You really do have a safe pair of hands in David – he played professional rugby before he became an osteo. Sport is his thing – in a big way – he’s worked in Sydney and Athens with GB Paralympics and worked at the London 2012 Olympics. When he’s not doing that he’s treating the residents of Richmond upon Thames and the highly charged employees of Goldman Sachs in the City. We see him as a bit of an action man. He sees himself “as a mechanic, trying to get bodies moving”. “We spend too much time at our desks,” he says. “Our bodies are designed to move, regular movement is as good as any medical care.” He’s a can-do, hands-on chap. Energetic, positive and he’s just taken up the javelin because he thought he’d give it a go.
0208 940 2336 / www.practiceonthepark.co.uk
7. THE VOICE OF CALM: SUSAN MONTOYA (PATHHEAD, EDINBURGH)
Susan works miracles, says our source, whose entire extended family trek for miles to her clinic in a tiny village 30 minutes outside Edinburgh. Susan is so calm and softly spoken that listening to her is like listening to one of those calming hypnotherapy CDs. “Lots of our pain comes from stored emotion,” she says. “We supress things for so long they manifest themselves in pain.” She does a 3D ironing technique on the fascial system (think tights and how they’re all screwed up by the end of the evening and you need to untwist them. That). GPs sometimes refer people to her, which is unusual. If you are near Edinburgh, lucky you. If not, it’s well worth the journey.
01875 320 144
8. THE LIFE-BALANCE BELIEVER: SOPHIE SIMMONS (LEEDS)
‘We only get one life’, ‘You can’t buy time’: These are Sophie’s mantras and annoyingly she manages to stick to them. Helping people find the right balance in their life, a balance that suits them, is what drives her and she’s nailed it by working a 3-day week. No, we’re not jealous. Apart from a very dull foray into the world of accounting, osteopathy has always been her true calling. Her treatments blend cranial with more general osteopathic treatments. She treats a lot of migraines as well as pelvis problems linked to upper back and neck problems. Office life and hot-desking in particular are her gripes. Her treatments are very gentle – she has excellent subtlety; working on very minute details to make very minor adjustments. Her big hobby is upcycling old furniture – a bit like her day job: Start with the knackered and make it new again.
9. THE WELLBEING WONDERGIRL: CLAIRE HAWES (NEWCASTLE)
It was snowboarding in Canada where Claire had her ‘a-ha’ moment – she met an osteopath on the slopes and she’d hardly undone her bindings before she was in the UK and enrolling on the 5-year training. Most of her patients have lower back, shoulder and neck problems. All that sitting all day not moving. “It’s no wonder they give us a reminder that we’re not using them correctly by causing problems in our spines and other parts of our bodies,” she says. Her big focus is on wellbeing and she’s helping set up a wellbeing centre in Newcastle which opens next year so hold your breath.
07849 205 770 / www.clairetheosteopath.com
10. THE ENERGETIC ERGO MAN: DAVID AMMET (HARROGATE)
As well as osteopathy, David’s other hat is in ergonomics, so he’s a pro on everything to do with posture. Which can only be a good thing, what with all the alarming anecdotes about the horrors of our work environment and how it’s wrecking our bodies. His gripes are “laptops, watching a tablet in bed and smartphones” (downward looking, tilting head = bad news), but he’s good on advice about how to counter it. He worried leaving London’s edgy Shoreditch for genteel Harrogate would be dullsville but recent clients have included actors on the set of Victoria and ‘Simon’ from The Inbetweeners (who hurt his neck doing a diving scene). He’s a hardcore Northern chap at heart and his sporting achievements make us tired. They include altitude training camps in China and Russia and training the British Modern Pentathlon for 11 years, including preparing them for 3 Olympic games. Oh and mud racing.
01423 531 398 / www.harrogateosteopath.co.uk
11. THE SOUL SOOTHER: ALEXIA LESCURE (HAMMERSMITH, LONDON)
French but living in London for the past 12 years, Alexia is calm, capable and combines the best of British and French osteopathic traditions. She does lots of gynaecological work, including patients with cysts on their ovaries, painful periods, fertility issues and endometriosis. She has a great reputation and all her work comes via word of mouth. A semi-professional tennis player in the past, she also sees a lot of sports related injuries, incorporating physio into her treatments. She was the Team GB Handball Team osteopath for the London Olympics and still plays tennis, does triathlons, oh and did we mention she recently had a baby? Time spent with her is good for the soul.
0208 741 9264 / brackenburyclinic.com
12. THE PAIN SCOUT: CLAIRE SUTTON (BRISTOL)
She describes herself as a detective but don’t worry, Claire isn’t about to unearth all your dirty secrets. Her thing is to investigate your body. She’s energetic, reassuring and oozing positivity. Pain is her key focus. “It’s exhausting,” she says. “But I try to help improve people’s quality of life naturally without having to use medicine. That’s my goal.” She deals with everything from chronic fatigue syndrome to professional cyclists. Ah yes, the cycling. She cycles in the Pyrenees, the Alps, and recently represented GB in her age group duathlon in Spain. She’s also big on yoga and will probably pop up on the mat next to you if you’re at one of the clinic’s classes.
01179 710 221 / onhealthclinic.com
13. THE HIGH FLYER: CLAIRE BERGADAA (LIVERPOOL STREET, LONDON)
It must be the French in her, but Claire’s bad back chat is pure poetry. “I love developing the ability to read through my hands the patient’s legacy and story, and dive into their tissues with my hands,” she says. Divine. She moved from pilates teaching to osteopathy and has just been awarded the Rising Star Award by the Institute of Osteopathy UK. Her motto is Lotion is Motion – if you keep moving you’ll stay healthy – and she definitely practices what she preaches. In fact she’s real action girl with ballet and aerial circus (including those long silks acrobats twist around themselves and hang upside down from the roof on) in her pocket. Her latest thing (borderline obsession) is rock climbing. She loves that it uses every muscle in her body and every neuron in her brain. Her goal is to get some of her patients into it – so there’s that.
14. THE CALM GUIDING LIGHT: VIOLETTE AUBRY (BATH)
Don’t try impressing Violette with some mad sporting challenge you’ve signed up to, she’d rather you didn’t. Lots of her patients have pushed themselves too far and she finds the whole mentality of pushing your body to its limits very detrimental. She is, says our source, a calm French beauty. Having qualified in England she’s based in Bath and specialises in paediatrics, although her clients run the gamut from baby to elderly and all sorts of ailments in between. She’s a great believer in integrating your work, with your life, with your exercise so it’s no surprise that yoga is her thing. She is fascinated by people and what she loves about osteopathy is that it gives her the time to listen to her patients and to really try and understand them.
01225 460 106 / www.stillpointbath.co.uk
15. 007’S SECRET WEAPON: BARRIE SAVORY (HARLEY STREET, LONDON)
Barrie the Back is a Harley Street legend who’s been practicing for 52 years and going strong. Lower back pain was his bread and butter but now it’s all about the upper back. “Everyone is posturing over modern machines like tablets, screens and phones,” he says. He’s a pro at opening up the front of the chest to release all the tension and can work wonders in 10 minutes. His two killer tips if you’re buckled over a laptop – every 5 minutes shrug your shoulders and every time you get up from your work put your hands behind your back and try to make your shoulder blades meet. A true character and widely respected, Barrie is too discreet to mention it, but clients include Sean Connery who has a glowing endorsement on the cover of his book The Good Back Guide as does HRH Duke of York. If he’s good enough for 007…
0207 436 1954 / email@example.com
16. THE BAD HABIT BLITZER: JONO A’BROOK (MOORGATE, LONDON)
He’s very highly regarded but we’d just like to say, do hold on to your handbag. As well as western medical acupuncture, cranial osteopathy, pregnant women and babies and so on, he’s long on lifestyle advice and big handbags is on his hit list. If you’re hauling an oversized handbag that’s filled with everything you might need from here to Christendom, “Get rid of it,” he says. You can’t change circumstances but you can change the way you do things: Like getting a smaller bag. Or changing the way you use the mouse because it’s giving you a high shoulder. Or not sitting at a laptop all day until your spine is bent. Our source tells us he has an uncanny ability to know the habits you’ve slipped into and just what you’re doing that’s made things so bad. And he’s on a mission to put you on the right track.
17. THE MIDULT MAN: BRENT OSBORNE SMITH (SLOANE SQUARE, LONDON)
He was an army major and treats patients as a soldier would, which sounds alarming until he explains it’s more about how he assesses, then plans, then tackles the problem. No yelling, no drills, in fact he’s upbeat and very easy to talk to. His primary focus is Midults who he sees as a much ignored group. He’s just finished a 2-year post grad in women’s health. “There’s so much going on during these years with childbirth, looking after children, hormones, stresses,” he says. He works a lot with psychologists to help people with post traumatic stress: “Your back might have gone but while I’m treating you it might come out that your home life is falling apart or you have terrible polycystic ovaries. We can do so much to help balance things.” Follow him on Twitter @clickaback, he has a steady flow of cracking lifestyley facts and tips.
0207 730 8899 / www.clickaback.com
18. THE BUMP ‘N BABY BUFF: LUCY LEWIS (FULHAM, LONDON)
If we did all the right things, our yoga and pilates, kept our flexibility and ate nutritiously Lucy would be out of a job. But we don’t. So she isn’t. Which is lucky as she’s good. So good that she counts great and good among her clients. She’s engaged, chatty and loves making you better. When she started out, 60% of her work was lower back problems, now it’s 80% neck and shoulders and she’s very worried about our phone addiction (“I’m addicted too,” she admits) because our necks are all suffering. As well as her osteopathy she is passionate about an antenatal course she runs at The Bump Class, set up by Marina Fogle and her sister. It’s all about looking after your body pre- and post-baby. Delightfully charming.
19. THE HOLISTIC HEALER: PETER ANDREWS (SUTTON COLDFIELD)
We’ve come across a lot of epidemics but Peter has a different one in his sights and it affects us all. The sitting epidemic. Sitting is underestimated in terms of the harm it does to us he says. It gives us pain in our lower back, upper back, neck, shoulders, as well as breathing and digestive problems. With a specific interest in breathing, headaches and migraines and shoulders, his treatments might include meditation, exercise, nutrition, stretching, the outdoors – all things your body needs to stay healthy, he says. He seems to have nailed it himself. He swims, does yoga, meditates and recently became a vegan. He’s not remotely smug about all of this and luckily seems happily realistic about what most of us can (will?) do.
01213 547 306 / www.suttonosteo.co.uk
20. THE NURSE CUM NATUROPATH: FATIMA CARDELUS (WEST LONDON)
She’s great with jaw problems. No, this isn’t a guide to dentistry (though there’s a thought…) but jaw problems are often the result of tension. It often comes from us holding stress in our subconscious, which leads to headaches, she says. Fatima’s thing is getting to the root of the cause. She was a nurse before becoming an osteopath and all that medical knowledge serves her well, especially when a patient actually needs to go to the GP. Recently a child was brought to her with hip pains but she knew straight off that it was acute appendicitis. So her diagnosis is brilliant. Actually, our source tells us, SHE is brilliant.
07525 720 094 / www.brackenburyclinic.com