Physician Heal Thyself – how I got my knee pain fixed!

By Pain Relief, Sports

Physician Heal Thyself

It’s an old saying, “physician heal thyself”.  Not for the first time in my career did I find myself wondering how to fix one of my own pains!

Start of hiking route near Black Rock, Cheddar GorgeI have always loved the outdoors and in particular hill walking. For me it is much more than walking, it is my therapy, my health, my social life and above all it defines my relationship with my partner. So it came as a shock to me in summer of this year when left knee became swollen and sore, limiting my ability to walk even 2 hours. By contrast I was walking 5 – 7 hours over hills, mountains and Lakelands for many years. Now being in my mid- 50s, I began to feel the curtain of early arthritis falling upon me.

I have always known my left hip was a bit stiff, but a year before when I took my young teenage nephew wild camping in Wales, I noticed an achy pain on the outside of my left hip during a long walk carrying our rucksacks. So when this knee pain came on I assumed that my stiff hip was making my knee work harder.

As a practicing osteopath having treated other patients with a similar condition I thought some simple stretches  to my hip would be the answer. It worked to a point, but I never managed to shake off the hip problem. With an expedition looming to Chiang Mai in Thailand in 5 months I was beginning to get a little anxious.

It’s a curious thing healing oneself, it’s so hard to see the wood from the trees. It is exactly for this reason that even a medical doctor is required to nominate someone to be their doctor, ie you cant be your own doctor.

It was over a lunchtime meeting when my senior associates Hugo Firth came to ask me a question on managing a patient. At our clinic we collaborate over clinical issues to try and provide the best solutions for our patients and we win too as it helps develop us as a team.

At the end of the chat I asked Hugo if he could shed any light on my knee. It turned out that my left hamstring was a little shorter than it should be. That was the connection between my hip and my knee pain (amongst other findings). Hugo gave me some magical exercises.  In no time he had me doing hip, calf and hamstring exercises.

As a fully qualified osteopath Hugo is also certified by the highly acclaimed Gray Institute of Functional Exercise Therapy. As such he brings a unique contribution to the osteopathic management of sports injuries for our patients.

boggy ground

A typical section of the walk

This weekend my partner and I took a short 3½ hour walk at Cheddar Gorge. We try and book a weekend away once every quarter, ie with the change of each season to help keep us recharged. I recommend this to many of my patients too, as it can give you that lift just when you need it!

I started the walk temperately and after a short while I noticed my old left hip pain came back again. But as I opened my stride and stretched out my hip and hamstring, to my sheer adulation and joy, I managed to walk off the pain and completed our entire walk. As if proof of the pudding were required, that evening and the next day I had no symptoms whatsoever in my knee or hip.

The magic of Hugo’s dynamic exercises is awesome. They are not the “usual” stretches, they are actually exercises working specific muscle groups with a clinical perspective.  As an osteopath Hugo correctly identified the incriminating dynamics of my pain pattern and gave me the correct work-outs my knee and hip needed to keep me going.

Needless to say I have adopted this learning into my own patient care. Learning from my associates is also great for me and something I enjoy.  We have a wonderful talent-pool here at our clinic with lovely clinical staff. By sharing with each other not only do our patients benefit, but through our collaboration we can help provide better results than a single mind could by itself. We cover everything from new-born babies, children treatment, stomach problems, respiratory difficulties and of course back pain.

If you would like a to see Hugo about a knee or hip pain, or indeed any activity related symptoms, please use this link HERE or fill in our online questionnaire for a personal reply.

senior osteopath, Wimbledon

Vispi Jamooji DO PGCert SPOP
Osteopath (1986)
Paediatric & Cranial Osteopath

Reduce Running Injuries By Changing Your Running Posture

By Exercise, Pain Relief, Sports

Improve your running technique

These two pictures put side by side show how from childhood we have good hip extension. The knee of the back leg is almost a straight line with hips and abdomen and chest.  Haile Gebrselassie hasn’t lost that full hip extension either!

However for most of us that have desk based jobs our hip flexors – the ones that help us bend at the waist- become tighter and can keep us in a slightly flexed position. In turn this means that when we run we do not get full extension at the hip.

Why does this matter?

1) Increased risk of running injuries

If our hips remain slightly flexed through the gait cycle then the femur (thigh bone) is always slightly rotated inwards. This in turn can put extra strain on the IT band, the knee and the hip bursa which can leading to strain injuries in these areas.

We can also try to over compensate with a short back swing and with a longer stride. This takes up more energy too and can lead to greater strain on the knee and foot leading to Achilles tendonitis and patella femoral pain syndrome (pain behind the knee cap)

Alternatively, runners gain extra hip ‘extension’ by arching their lumbar spines and this in turn can lead to lumber spine pain.

 2) Reduced running efficiency

It also does not allow for most efficient running. When your hip reaches full extension you have stored maximum potential energy in the hip flexor muscles (psoas, iliacus and rectus femoris) which turns into Kinetic energy on the swing phase of the run as you bring your leg forward for the next step.

And so we can expend more energy in running with less hip extension.

What can you do ?

Running injuries tend to be multi-factoral but a lack of Hip flexion is often involved.

To help increase hip extension you need to work on lengthening your hip flexors (psoas, iliopsoas and Rectus Femoris) as well as activating and strengthening your Gluteal muscles.

And then consider how to incorporate this into your running posture. Look up as you run and run with a more upright stance. This will help with a greater degree of extension at the hip.

Here are two key exercises designed to help you do just that

Do them daily am and pm 10-15x each and work them into your warm ups and warm downs

Hip flexor stretch- a guaranteed antidote to sitting at your desk and shortened hip flexors

Hip extensor activation- Gluteal (buttock) strengthening

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA
Osteopath and
Sports Rehab Specialist

Sports Osteopath Hugo Firth

Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths
“My approach to healthcare is a balance between osteopathy and patient empowerment through effective therapeutic exercises. I recognise it’s not always possible to come in for a treatment, and many conditions can be helped with the right exercise if used early enough. After all prevention is much less painful than cure“.
I offer free advice via email, phone 0208962331 or by filling in this online form here
New Patients: 60 minute appointment  – book here please

Office Chair Exercises

By Exercise, Pain Relief, Sports

Office Chair Exercises

by Hugo Firth, Osteopath

Back and Neck Exercise

90 Second Desk Exercise Workout

Want to know the best way to relieve stress at your desk? Our resident Sports and Exercise osteopath Hugo Firth has devised this special 90 second workout.  Hugo Firth brings together his life long skills of in sports together with his career as a successful Sports Osteopath. Quickly relieve tension and relax tired tissues. 

Do these exercises up to 6 times a day. Why not book bookmark this page and refer to it daily?

As with all exercises these must not be rushed and if symptoms persist you may wish to seek professional help. Why not contact Hugo for some friendly advice – click link below to use our online form:

Use our online form to ask us any quetion about your health or the health of a friend.

Top Tips

In the mean time here are some tip for general well being.

  1. Take a short break out of your chair every 60 mins or so. You may even wish to drink more water to prompt you to get up more often.
  2. Choose a variety of exercises throughout the week to help you keep fit. Try and avoid repetitive exercises, such as constant exposure to running, cycling or the same gym exercises. Postural variety is what keeps you going. 
  3. Avoid any prolonged activity, such as long periods of sitting, driving, or standing. Its hard to break this up if it is what you do for a living, but during your most stressful times, try and find a way around it. 
  4. Early nights help boost healing. So why not try a week of early night (just once, as a one-off) and we are sure you will be so impressed you will want to do that again. 
  5. Try and avoid soft deep chairs and settees. Contrary to popular belief soft squidgy chairs, beds and settees can be a source of hidden danger to the spine. If you are going through a bad time, try lying on your side or back to watch TV (or read), either on the settee or on the floor.

Hugo Firth BOst, BSc, MA
Osteopath and
Sports Rehab Specialist

Sports Osteopath Hugo Firth

Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths
My approach to healthcare is a balance between osteopathy and patient empowerment through effective therapeutic exercises. I recognise it’s not always possible to come in for a treatment, and many conditions can be helped with the right exercise if used early enough. After all prevention is much less painful than cure“.
I offer free advice via email, phone 0208962331 or by filling in this online form here

Pain Relief – Hot or Cold?

By Massage, Pain Relief, Sports

Self Help Pain Relief: Apply Hot or Cold?

Self help for pain relief

A frequent question I get asked shall I use a hot or cold compress? Firstly, let’s understand what each does?

Heat Therapy:

  • Improves circulation
  • Allows expansion of the vessels and tissues
  • Increases temperature
  • Soothe and relax muscle discomfort

You can use either dry heat (heat pad) or moist heat (hot baths, steam), both should aim or a ‘warm’ temperature not hot! A common mistake people make, which leads to burns! You can use local treatment for targeting one muscle, or a whole area targeting whole body stiffness.

When you should not use heat?

  • If you have bruising
  • Inflamed joints/area
  • Open wounds

Certain pre-existing conditions that may causing higher risk of burns or complications

  • Diabetes
  • Dermatitis
  • Vascular disease
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Multiple sclerosis

Cold Therapy:

  • Reducing blood flow
  • Contraction of blood vessels and tissues
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Relieve pain
  • Temporarily reduce nerve activity

You can use for local areas: ice packs, sprays, or whole body effect: ice baths, ice massage. During the first 72 hours of initial injury, can use ice three times a day for 10-15 minutes.

When should you not use ice?

  • Tight and stiff muscles
  • Feeling unwell (shivering cold)


As a general rule of thumb use cold therapy on a new injury. The first object is to reduce the inflammation, which is the body’s first response to injury. (Remember inflammation is a big source of pain).  It should be applied for up to 15 minutes only and usually no more than 4 times a day. 

If you are experiencing muscle spasm, then heat can be a great source of relief. Heat is generally best applied a few days after the acute injury has passed (ie giving time for the inflammation to subside).  As a general rule of thumb, if you feel like you need a massage, it probably means you are ready for a heat pack.

If you are unsure, always go for cold therapy first, as at the worst it will do you no harm. Where as applying heat to an inflamed area will increase the inflammation which will certainly add to the pain and stop you feeling better.  Also remember that generally speaking heat therapy works against medicines like Neurofen (ibuprofen), naproxyn, diclofenac etc. Always protect your body from direct sources of hot or cold as both can burn the skin, as mentioned above.  If this all sounds confusing or need personal advice – give us a call – we are always on hand to give free telephone advice – even if you are not a patient. So please share this blog or visit our pain relief page!


Osteopath, Wimbledon
Jennifer Beck, M.OST
Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths

I am available to help you today. Being gentle and working in tune with nature, it will be a relaxing way to heal“.

Call anytime for an appointment of free telephone advice, 02089462331


Choosing Yoga or Pilates?

By Massage, Pain Relief, Sports

Choosing: Yoga or Pilates?Pilates & Yoga for back pain

You may think these are in the same exercise category, however they are rooted from very different histories. Read below to help determine which practice is right for you…


This type of exercise originated in south Asia thousands of years ago, the purpose is the unite the mind, body and spirit. They use the whole body structure using the environment to heal the body and help mental harmony.

The different styles:

  • Anusara: Beginners class to yoga with physical practice to yoga
  • Bikram: ‘Hot Yoga’ series of 26 basic yoga postures, each performed twice
  • Hatha: Classical physical yoga practice using breathing and posture
  • Ashtanga: Six established and strenuous pose sequences
  • Lyengar: precise alignment and deliberate sequencing using props.
  • Kundalini: constantly moving, invigorating poses.
  • Vinyasa: Active and athletic style of yoga adapted from the traditional ashtanga system
  • Prenatal: yoga postures adapted for expecting mothers
  • Restorative: using less poses and increased breathing techniques.


This type of exercise was created by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. The purpose of Pilates is to gain flexibility, strength and body awareness. Although the routine is performed on a mat, there are specific Pilate’s machines; this type is called the Cadillac and reformer.


  • Mat Pilates: classical specific routine of movements and involves little or no equipment – heavily focuses on strengthening the core
  • Contemporary studio Pilates: fully equipped studio under expert instruction
  • Group reformer Pilates: dynamic, full body workout all with one piece of equipment (the Reformer)
  • Classical Pilates: fully equipped studio, with original series of movements in a specific order.


Questions you can ask yourself before choosing?

  1. Are you seeking exercise for a mental benefit? All exercise is linked with improving your mental health, yoga may be most effective for this as it focuses on the mind, body and spirit.
  2. What physical benefit are you hoping for? Pilates is known for focusing on core strength however yoga has an overall benefit.
  3. Have you currently got back pain? Some routines/positions can increase pain therefore informing your instructor of your current situation is important.
  4. No to props? Yoga using your body weight with a sequence of positions where Pilates uses different props to enhance the technique.

Ultimately the choice is yours, trying out both and deciding what works best for you. Yoga provides a meditative environment for you to improve overall quality of life, focuses on stress relief while improving our body. Pilates works from the centre of your body outwards, it forces to increase your body awareness. In my opinion, yoga is excellent for everyone by improving their mental health, but allowing a combination of Pilates to optimize your body function.

Osteopath, Wimbledon
Jennifer Beck, M.OST
Member of the General Osteopathic Council
Member of the Institute of Osteopaths

I am available to help you today. Being gentle and working in tune with nature, it will be a relaxing way to heal“.

Call anytime for an appointment of free telephone advice, 02089462331


What Makes A Great Massage

By Massage, Pain Relief, Sports

A Great Massage in Wimbledon

Great massae in Wimbledon

Fancy a great massage in Wimbledon? Do you know there is more to a great massage than meets the eye. The Living Centre Clinic massage therapy in Wimbledon offers a higher level massage effectiveness. Here’s why we say why…



Our therapists are not only experienced, but have additional qualifications in different massage areas and therapeutic skills. We believe this increases their level of awareness and so their effectiveness in delivering a great massage.  We believe that’s what makes our approach so much more comprehensive than many of our competitors.


For a massage to be truly great there needs to be dialogue between your body’s muscles and the therapist. A skilled massage therapist is trained to detect where areas are painful or inflamed by touch – as these are common causes of pain and generate tension. A great massage is more than applying a massage stroke, it’s the direction of the pressure, how light or deep to go, the position the client is lying in, and crucially how long to work the tissue. Have you ever had a massage and felt the therapist was applying ‘a series of moves’ without really delivering what you need? Not so with our massage therapists. Guaranteed. If you are not delighted with your massage contact the clinic manager and we will put things right for you (Mr Jamooji,

Neil Woodrow

Neil Woodrow is a fully qualified (internationally recognised) massage practitioner. He is also a fully qualified and experienced Chinese Acupuncturist and a fully qualified and experienced reflexologist with a special interest in pregnancy care, including pregnancy massage, pregnancy reflexology.

With a personal interest in health & exercise and as well as the gift of his own natural physique Neil Woodrow delivers a powerful sports massages, which he can supplement with acupuncture (at no extra cost) if you wish. His treatment style is kind and sympathetic. An example of Neil Woodrow’s humanity is that he teaches Traditional Chinese Exercises, at several locations in southwest London, free of charge as a local service to the community. We are sure you will want to be treated by him again and again.

Magda Oliveira

Magda Oliveira specialises in female massage therapy. As a highly trained massage therapist she holds individual qualifications in a number of key massage therapies, at international level. These include, massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology and she is a qualified meditation practitioner. Between these healing therapies she offers 10 different massage styles from full body massage Indian Ayurvedic Massage and lymphatic drainage massage, plus many more.

As Magda Oliveira has a special interest in female health she also offers advice and support for many woman’s problems or issues. This includes help with fertility issues and pregnancy massage .  As part of a great massage, sometimes silence is required and sometimes, time to talk things through. As a mature and kind practitioner Magda Oliveira offers this awareness which can help make your treatment what you need it to be.

Back pain treatment room

Living Centre Clinic, Wimbledon

The Living Centre Clinic attracts clients not just from Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Morden, but further away too. We offer consistent and reliable massages, which is delivered by exceptionally well qualified and caring therapists. Treatments are available 6 days a week, including evening appointments. Our fees are more than reasonable, when you consider no extra charge is made for the additional therapies included in each and every massage as standard.

More than a massage the Living Centre Clinic, as a clinic, offers massages with a therapeutic angle. This means for a number of minor aches and pains, (ie where you would not normally book an osteopath or physiotherapist) massage can be used to simply and effectively to help you through. This makes our treatment great value for money and offers the security of an in-house referral for osteopathy, acupuncture or Sports Injury Treatment if needed.

You may discuss your needs with our very friendly reception staff (12 hours a day), or have a chat with either Neil Woodrow or Magda Oliveira to see what’s best for you 02089462331 or  The clinic also has an online form (option “2 –  Ask My Medical Question”) if you prefer.

We wish you a great massage – hopefully the best one you have ever had!

Book a massage today

Living Centre Clinic




Ready To Get Fit in 2017

By Sports

Get Fit Living Centre Clinic

New Year resolution?

Help and advice is at hand

If your New Year’s resolution is to get fitter, faster, stronger or to be more active then hopefully this advice will help you achieve your goals.

Normally in January and February my Sports Clinic starts to see a steady rise of people who have taken up an activity, sports or increased the frequency of their chosen activity as they achieve New Year’s resolutions or may be just a promise to themselves to get fitter.

The most common is a recurring pain or old injury that has flared up or new aches and pain in neck, shoulder upper or lower back.

What’s going on?

The general advice we hear is ‘Do more activity, get your heart rate up and you will become healthier’. Except our muscles and joints are often unprepared for the extra work load.

Our wonderful adapting bodies

Our bodies adapt to what we do most of and for many of us it is sitting at our desks for 5-8 hrs a day. The muscles at the front of our body tend to be shorter. Our pectoral and hip flexors whist our back muscles tend to be stretched and over worked. Our muscles and joints have adapted to be able to stay in this position for hours on end without complaining. But it takes time and hours of training to be able to do this. This changes our posture.

Adding more work load to already over-worked muscles?

So just like your boss assigning you three more projects without any more resource you ask your muscles to work harder when they are already over-worked.

If your muscles have the capacity to cope with the extra workload then all is fine. If not then muscles start to become inflamed and pain soon follows. Achieving your New Year’s resolution becomes a lot more difficult.

The Recurring Injury scenario

Alternatively you have always been quite active and you return to a sport you love or you increase the frequency and that old injury comes back. You leave it to rest and dig out some old exercises your physio gave you years back. You start up again and the injury comes back. The resolution starts becoming harder to achieve.


Start doing things differently

Picture of Einstein

Einstein once said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different outcome.

Before you start off on your New Year’s Resolution get your body prepared for the extra work load.

It’s all about giving these muscles and joints that are currently over worked more capacity. To do that your need to increase their mobility.

Regaining Movement

I use a combination of the latest Functional Exercise Therapy developed by The Gray Institute of Applied Functional Science and tried and tested Osteopathic techniques.


The approach works for people with recurring injuries as well as those starting exercise for the first time. It gets joints and muscles moving in a pain free way. The body relearns this as an effective pain free movement and with repetition soon adopts it, increasing range of movement. This in turn gives your muscles and joints the capacity to take on more work and help you achieve those 2017 goals.

A typical Functional Exercise that helps golfers, tennis players, swimmers, runners and walkers and cyclists.

Upper Back Mobility Exercise
Upper Back Mobility Exercise – Demonstration

Rotation, our ability to turn, in our upper backs is important for many sports. If it is reduced, normally by sitting at a desk for long periods, then other parts of the spine, shoulders, hips or knees will have to work harder and rotate more to give the movement we need. Increasing the potential for injury in those areas.

Rather than forcing the person to rotate I encourage movement in other vectors such as side bending or flexion. The body responds to these similar movements and soon additional rotation returns.

Achieving those New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

Run - start point

If you want to achieve those goals and already have niggling pain made worse by sitting at your desk, recurring injuries or think that an MOT before you get started could really help then get in touch.

Hugo Firth has created a 3 treatment package to assess , develop and hone your body so you are ready for your chosen sport or activity. At the end you will have strategies to help you move better all captured on video so you can refer to it whenever you need it.

Treatment one. Approx 45-60mins, Assessment and treatment. Defining the cause and initial treatment muscles and joints and functional therapy exercises ( and video)

Treatment  two: Approx 30 mins. Feedback on progress, further exercise refinement and additional osteopathic treatment as required (and video)

Call 02089462331 before 31 January 2017

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