How to Look after your Back on Holiday or Camping

Holiday season is here and many of you will be taking some much needed time off. We get a lot of our patients asking advice on how to look after their back whilst on holiday so we thought we’s share our Osteopaths TOP tips:

  1. No 1 tip, Bring your own pillow, it actually works, your body is so used to sleeping with your own pillow so why not take it with you and pop it in your suitcase or take it camping with you. (Paul Morrisey)

  2. Bring a towel in your hand luggage, it can be rolled up and used as a lower back or neck support and it doesn’t take too much space. (Lydia)

  3. Keep moving - on a plane or at the airport try to get up and move gently every half an hour and try to get an isle seat so you don't have to disturb the other passengers. (Mark)

  4. Lift your suitcases or camping gear with care – always bend at the knees when lifting and remember to engage your core muscles. If you suffer problems with your disc, politely ask someone to help you. (Paul)

  5. See your GP or pharmacist before you travel and make sure you have enough pain killers or anti-inflammatory tablets, you don't have to use them but its better to have them and not need them rather than searching for a pharmacy in a foreign country.

  6. If you want to try a natural anti-inflammatory try taking some ginger tea with you, as ginger is natural anti-inflammatory, also its can stop nausea, which might help if you are taking any boat trips! (By Nutritionist Zeeba)

  7. Laying on a sunbed or the sand can often lead to lower back pain from over curving and over extending the spine whilst reading your book. Use a rolled up towel and place it under your knees when lying on your back and between your knees when lying on your side. (Sabrina)

  8. You cannot change the bed in the hotel I’m afraid but if you have a hard bed put and extra duvet under the sheet so its more softer. If you need more height, ask reception to give you and extra pillow or put a towel underneath.

  9. Whilst its important to relax on holiday its also very important to move around, our spine in nourished by movement, so if you are having some aches and pains, go for a nice stroll on the beach or do some stretching.

  10. Swimming is good for the back, if I were to recommend a stroke I would recommend back crawl, its great for the back and loosens all the muscles. Try to avoid breast stroke as it doesn’t support your back. (Lydia)

  11. Wear sensible footwear that is going to support your spine, or if you need to wear high heels go for wedges that don't over extend your spine as much. (Rhea)

If you are due to go on holiday and having some niggling aches and pains why pop into our clinic for a quick check up.

Why Take My Baby To See an Osteopath?


Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle and holistic approach which focuses on the root of the problem.

The aim is to remove any tensions that may have occurred during pregnancy and/or delivery and restore proper balance and alignment of the body to optimise health and wellbeing.

With gentle and appropriate techniques, the osteopath will re-balance the baby's tensions by working on the whole body (skull, spine, abdomen, pelvis, lower and upper limbs.) It can also release the tensions around the mouth (jaw, throat, soft palate) to allow your baby to breastfeed and bottle feed easily if having difficulty.


Newborn and infant treatment eases the physical stresses from pregnancy and birth and is effective for:

  • Trauma from difficult delivery (very long or short delivery, ventouse or forceps interventions.)

  • Breastfeeding challenges (latching difficulty, preference for feeding on one side.)

  • Crying, fussiness, difficulty settling, colic, sleep disturbances.

  • Digestive issues (reflux, gas, constipation)

  • Head shape asymmetries and congenital torticolis. 

It is beneficial to have your newborn checked by your osteopath, even if no symptom has appeared, so as to anticipate future disorders.  

Indeed, some of the problems developed in childhood can be anticipated.


There is no minimum age. You can take your baby to an osteopath from birth.

If you have any particular concern, the sooner the better.

The sooner the baby is seen, the easier it will be to detect and release the tensions that may upset the balance of his body and eventually create various inconveniences.

But it’s never too late for your baby have an osteopathic treatment.


For toddlers and older children treatment can help with:

  • Immune strengthening

  • Recurring ENT disorders (ear, nose and sinus infections)

  • Asthma

  • Behavioural and learning difficulties

it’s particularly beneficial after significant falls, and head or tailbone injuries, to release strains in the tissue and prevent compensatory postural changes.

The onset of puberty can exacerbate trauma experienced during birth and childhood, manifesting in structural or functional disturbances such as scoliosis, headaches or difficulty concentrating. 
Sports, carrying heavy schoolbags, and computer and video game use can also lead to injuries and imbalances.


Your babies first appointment will be one hour. We will take a comprehensive case history, asking you questions about your concerns, the pregnancy and birth history, baby’s medical history and family history.

Then we will perform a gentle examination of your baby looking at your babies joints and muscles throughout the body, we will also examine the cranial bones of the skull, look inside your baby mouth for a tongue tie for exemple (and refer to a specialist if needed)...

Then we treat accordingly by gently correcting areas of tension to allow baby to continue its good development and prevent future malfunction.

In some cases, we might refer you to your GP or paediatrician for further screening or treatment if needed.


The treatment rebalances certain dysfunctions in your baby’s body and he then will be adjusting to his new equilibrium.

After the session, your baby will certainly be tired. Each baby will react differently.

Some babies will be very sleepy after their session, others will be agitated, will have a transit disrupted for a few days, or will be hungry ..

Within 1 to 3 days, once he has fully recovered from the session, baby's behavior will be normal again.

The result may be immediate or take few days after the session to be complete.

In some cases it may need a couple of sessions.

Written by Sabrina Peyandana, Paediatric Cranial Osteopath.

Sabrina runs a Mum and Baby Clinic every Tuesday with Lactation Consultant Katherine Fisher from 9:30-11am at the Osteopathic clinic in Croydon.

Study: Effectiveness of Osteopathic & Lactation Consultations for Babies

Though the World Health organisation recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months, a lot of mothers stop due to difficulties with feeding in the first three months. This ranges from sucking difficulties to latching on correctly. Some Osteopaths have described cranial dysfunction and restrictions in the skull sutures being linked to breastfeeding issues. If there is an imbalance in the skull or misalignment of the skull this can affect the palette, tongue, and other structures of the head and make the facial muscles too tight and so breast feeding difficult for the baby.

The study

The Fryman study in 2000 explored the effect of birthing on 1,255 newborns, the results showed that more than 88 % of infants had cranial restrictions. Another study in 2009 Lalauze Pol tested 1000 babies identified different restrictions in the sutures and their potential effect on cranial nerves involved in the sucking process.

Another study in 2014 that was held for one year, tested the effectiveness of Osteopathy coupled with a Lactation Consultant took place at a Mum and baby support group in Quebec City, Canada.  The primary group had three Lactation consultants three days a week and an Osteopath. there was a total of 100 mums and babies that took part in this experiment. The babies that took part had biomechanical sucking dysfunctions.

The Results

The findings were:

  • Significant improvement in sucking skills (measured by the Latch score) found in treating new-borns with Osteopathy compared to non-Osteopathic care group.

  • Mothers of babies receiving the Osteopathic treatment reported that their infants also slept better, appeared soothed, and enjoyed lying on their back, whereas they had been perceived as uncomfortable before Osteopathic treatment.

  • Mothers also noticed an improvement in breastfeeding their babies in terms of comfort and the baby ability to latch and feed.

The study highlights that Osteopathic treatment coupled with usual care (Lactation Consultations) for infants with biomechanical sucking difficulties is more effective to improve latch and sucking than usual care alone.

This study highlights that the combination of Lactation and Osteopathic consultants seems to be promising.

At the Croydon Osteopathic Clinic we run a Breastfeeding Clinic every Tuesday from 9:30-11am with Lactation and Tongue Tie Consultant, Katherine Fisher and Cranial Osteopath, Sabrina Pedayana.

Ironman Training and Time Management

How to fit training into your busy schedule

Hello to you all reading this. A few of you may know that I have entered an Ironman triathlon this coming July. The reason I entered this crazy test of endurance is purely to get a tick on the bucket list.

 I have been involved in endurance events on and off for around 20 years.  At times I’ve been quite fit only to let it all slip and get out of shape again. I’m sure that’s a familiar story to some!

 However, the whole time I’ve had this ironman monkey on my back, as it’s the only distance I’ve never attempted.  For those who don’t know an Ironman is a long distance triathlon consisting of a 3.8k swim, 180k cycle and 42.2km run.

 Now it should be said I don’t consider myself special or amazing in any way by entering an Ironman, I believe most people could complete it if they wanted to and trained enough.

 I decided to write this blog as I often hear from patients that they never have time to exercise or go the gym or do the rehab they’ve been prescribed. In practice I encourage people to move more everyday as I feel a lot of the problems patients visit us with are often due to being too sedentary or not being strong or flexible enough.

 I’m writing this blog as I sympathize with the time pressed people I talk to as I now find myself in the same boat. 

How I Manage my Time

 I work around 45 hour per week, which isn’t too unusual, and having hired a coach to help me train for the ironman I currently have to fit in approx. 10-12 hours training per week as well.  I have to fit the training in around my fatherly and spousal duties.  Hence it leaves little time for much else e.g. socializing and house projects are facing further delays I’m sorry to say!

 I find myself fitting in training where I can e.g. early morning, late in the evening or lunchtime if time allows. Yesterday being a fine example, I pressed snooze once too many times so that ruled out an early morning run.  Thankfully I managed to fit this in at lunchtime before returning to work (don’t worry I showered.) I finished work at Cheyne walk at 8pm, got home around 8.30 then it was straight on the bike trainer for an hour before eating enough but not too much.

 Luckily my wife Martine didn’t mind as it meant she had control of the TV last night!

The Importance of Sleep 

Another important aspect of this heavy training regime is making sure I get enough sleep. I have recently read some research which stated that for every extra hour of training we do we need an extra hours sleep to help our body recover from it. 

What this Training has taught me  

To sum up this process has taught me that it’s very possible to find a few spare minutes each week to move more and exercise. Your body will thank you for it in the long run and it will mean fewer trips to see us in clinic.

 Anyway I’m off for a swim now, I shall try check in again soon with an update on my progress.

 Mark Bolton, Osteopath at the Osteopathic Clinic


Why Omega 3 is So Important during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are eating for 2!

Healthy eating during pregnancy and breastfeeding includes getting the right omega-3 fats. There are different forms of omegs-3s; that are crucial. The main one is Docosahexaenoic (DHA), an omega-3 found in oily fish like mackerel and salmon, seafood, nuts, plant oils and the right supplements.

DHA is an essential nutrient during pregnancy and breastfeeding as we don’t produce it ourselves, so we must get it from food or supplements.  It is crucial during pregnancy for proper growth and development of the baby’s brain, eyes, central nervous, and immune system.  Research shows there are critical times when DHA is needed during pregnancy and if the mum does not get enough DHA during these times, the effects can be long-lasting.

  • Problems associated with getting too little DHA are: 

  • Decreased verbal IQ

  • Inferior communication skills

  • Suboptimal behaviour

  • Compromised fine motor skills

  • Social development in primary school-age children 

  • Mums who don’t get enough DHA are more likely to experience postpartum depression

How to get enough DHA 

Eat 2 portions of fish 150gm per week, of oily fish.

Choose quality fish oil products.  If you are pregnancy or breastfeeding and you don’t eat fish, or you don’t eat enough fish, you can choose to take fish supplements.

Please contact Nutritionist, Dr Zeeba Shariff at Osteopathic Clinic for more details and to get advice  on quality fish oil products that are certified and sustainable. 


Nutritious Pancake Day Recipe

If you are currently trying to cut carbs or on a strict diet, you might be looking for healthier alternatives this Pancake day.

Dr Zeeba, our resident Nutritionist, gives some nutritional advice allowing you to have your pancake still and eat it!

  • Use wholewheat flour instead of white flour to boost your fibre intake.

  • Use skimmed milk instead of full fat or semi-skimmed milk, the consistency of the pancake will still be the same, and you won't notice the difference in the flavour.

  • Add coconut oil when cooking instead of butter, as it contains half the fat.

  • Add fruit and nuts for the fillings, blueberries (for cancer flighting anthocyanin, raspberries for vitamin C and fibre, lemon for vitamin C and chopped nuts, i.e. walnuts for healthy fats.)

  • Go easy on the toppings instead of chocolate that has very little nutritional value opt for a small spoonful of maple syrup that is packed with vitamins and minerals, some include, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6, but remember its still high in sugar so not too much, or try honey which has natural antibacterial qualities.

  • Try not to mix the pancake too much as it will go a rubbery texture and try to let it settle for 15 mins before cooking to break down the flour.

Dr Zeeba currently works at the Osteopathic clinic every week and offers allergy and intolerance test.

Better Sports Performance through Reformer Pilates

If you’re an athlete or training for a major sporting event like a marathon or any field sports like rugby and football or hockey you know what it takes to keep improving past your personal best. You’ll train so much and so hard for even the slightest benefit. It’s the nature of competition wanting to keep surpassing yourself, and giving your best performance each and every time.

The Importance of Tapping into different Training Styles 

This is why it’s so important to experience training styles that others are not using. When the traditional athlete trains, they think of coaches, gyms, and the outdoors.  Few of them consider the Reformer, and how Clinical Reformer Pilates can activate muscles that traditional exercise sometimes misses.

Many athletes suffer from the same-old-same-old style of training:  They have found something that works, so they’re, understandably, sticking with it while they continue to get results.  But the body needs go much deeper than that kind of repetition.  Having a different physical platform and a different path-of-motion can go a long way for any person that is needing to stretch the muscles and re-establish the core balance necessary to excel.

At the Osteopathic clinic in Croydon we often see patients that are struggling with an injury due to taking part in a sporting event or more often suffering from injury whilst training. As an Osteopath I will also recommend Clinical Pilates, as I know it support my patients on many levels and it’s important to me that the patients are finding a way to prevent injury to avoid the same pattern. 

How Pilates supports you whilst Training

Pilates offers a unique take on the diverse needs of the muscles, and helps to promote the firing of deep, intrinsic core musculature.  The Pilates Reformer, as many athletes have reported, provides a wide range of different approaches to more classic exercises. Because of the engineering behind the Reformer, “balance muscles” are forced to cooperate and work synergistically, just the way that nature intended.  This is a far cry from traditional strength machines or athletic devices aimed at targeting one or two key areas.  While that approach has its merits for some, most athletes require a more holistic approach with more muscular involvement.

There are four key areas that a sports person can benefit from Clinical Reformer Pilates

  • Increases flexibility – If you are training regular and frequently taking part in sporting events your activity will naturally allow your muscles to shorten. It’s the shortened muscles that can cause injury. Reformer Pilates allows you to lengthen your muscles whilst simultaneously building strength preventing you from further injury. 

  • Increases Core strength - This is especially important because a strong core means your body doesn’t have to work as hard and it allows parts of your body like your shoulders and neck to be able to relax. This is crucial when taking part in a marathon or sporting event where endurance is essential. 

  • Increases muscle and balance As mentioned earlier it works on every muscle and helps build awareness of which muscles are working and how to stimulate the right muscles. If you are playing a sport that is particularly using one side of your body more often than the other, for example ‘tennis. or golf.’ Reformer Pilates allows you to strengthen the muscles in the arm you don’t use regular whilst allowing you to relax and stretch the dominant arm.

  • Increases Mental focus This is an important factor when training for a major sporting event, when your thoughts are paramount to the success of your performance.  Clinical Pilates allows you to really focus on breathing and movement. This enables you to stay focused when taking part in stressful and major sporting events. 

Long Term Athletic Development

Another concept that coaches are embracing is LTAD, or Long-term Athletic Development. With LTAD the training progresses from general to specific and from basic to complex. Since Pilates is traditionally based in using lighter resistance selections than what we see in more traditional strength-training, and since the multi-angular nature of Pilates is better suited for nearly any sport; Pilates is an excellent choice for coaches and athletes seeking the LTAD style of conditioning.  

The Reformer helps to keep the athlete in the prime position for their exercise. It requires the use of more muscles engaging and less momentum, as the muscles contract together to stabilize the moving limbs. With stability being one of the key components in both sport performance and injury prevention, Reformer Pilates is rightfully earning more and more merit in the world of athletic and sport conditioning.

If you would like to experience the benefits of Reformer Pilates then contact our clinic today to book your place. 

4 Key Pilates Exercises for Osteoporosis

More than 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis.

You didn’t misread that.

Seriously, a whopping 3,000,000+ people in the UK are estimated to have osteoporosis and osteopenia a condition that leads to approximately 500,000 broken bones every year, according to the NHS.

Now, before people start whispering into your ear about how there is “no cure” and how it is “congenital” and “unavoidable as you age”, we need to gain a quick understanding of what leads to osteoporosis, or “brittle bones disease” as it is often called:

Osteoporosis means that the bones are brittle. Contrary to popular opinion, genetics actually have very little influence over this condition. It is lifestyle that determines how strong the bones are on a day-to-day basis, and every decision a person makes will shape the mineral density of each bone.

This is where you become empowered:  You’re not a victim to osteoporosis at all.  In fact, YOU decide just how strong your bones will be through nutrition, deep sleep, hydration, and of course…Exercise!

For example, Anne, Clinic Pilates instructor at Osteopathic Clinic Croydon says a “Pilates Reformer Squat has tremendous benefits to the heart, joints, leg and core muscles, but it has great benefits to the leg bones, as well. Brittle femur bones are common, especially in older women, but this comfortable, simple exercise puts just the right kind of pressure onto the femur bones to increase the bone mineral density.”

Leg Circles are another great Pilates Reformer exercise with huge benefits to the bones:  Here, your legs are drawing circles, which has great muscular and neurological benefits as well. But, it is the tension created during the movement that stimulates bone growth, forcing bone mineral density to increase.

The Frog is yet another common Reformer exercise that builds bone.  Not only will the hips benefit greatly (making it less likely to undergo hip surgery down the road), but osteoporosis will be turned around readily as bone mass rebuilds due to the healthy, powerful force vectors present in this exercise.

The Quadruped is a great all round exercise that builds strength, coordination and balance. This is a straightforward exercise to do at home, and if you are unsure how to do this exercise watch Anne’s video here.

But it’s not just the lower body bones that benefit from Pilates exercise: The “Lat Pull”, or “Row” as it is sometimes called, is great for building the bone mineral density within the arms (both upper and lower arms) as your shoulders move you through a large range of motion. Even the often-troubled vertebrae will see some bone development as you move through this and similar resistance exercise using our Pilates Reformer.

 If this sounds a bit confusing, or if you find yourself thinking that you’re not ready to take these exercises on alone, then there is no need to worry - Anne is our expert in Clinical Pilates for Osteoporosis, and she’s available to guide you through the process smoothly and safely.

Anne is a Specialist in Osteoporosis who currently treats patients at the Osteopathic Clinic in Croydon 

Why Your Body Needs a Detox

If you’ve always shied away from a body detox, believing it is too complicated and unpleasant (all that fasting and diet restrictions) then read on……..there is a more comfortable and better way.

Detoxing is becoming increasingly popular, with more researchers and health care professionals backing its value. And that’s a good thing, because with today’s high-tech modern lifestyle, your communications systems may have become faster, but your body’s eliminative system has probably slowed down.

In the opinion of many researchers and health care professional’s, a whole body and organs detox is the superior road to better health.Even though we may be eating a healthy diet, exercising and taking good quality supplements, our bodies may still need to be cleansed from other toxins, such as the build-up of toxic metals. However, from time to time, our bodies need to be cleansed from harmful build-ups to really function at their best. We are exposed to toxins in all manner of ways, from receiving amalgam fillings at the dentist; eating fish that has been contaminated with chemicals, being exposed to industrial fumes and eating food that has been sprayed with pesticides.

Over time impurities accumulate in the body’s digestive system. The elimination process works hard to get rid of them, but as the load increases, it becomes sluggish inefficient.

You feel literally weighed down and may well lack energy, and your first point of call may be to reach for the caffeine.

Think of a car engine that needs to decoke its extra power and smooth running that result. When you cleanse and encourage your body’s elimination system, ridding yourself of all those toxins, your whole body and its organs are rejuvenated. The result is a wonderful pick-me-up. You feel as if you have shed the load you’ve had been carrying around with you.

We can detox and cleanse your kidneys

Detox and cleanse your liver

Detox and cleanse the whole of your body, colon and skin.

Take this on board, and soon you’ll learn what it feels like to be really clean from the inside out…….

Please note: There are many ways you can detox, and it really does depend on the individual and what other medication you are taking and also any health concerns you may have. If you are serious about cleansing then why not book in for a consultation with Nutritionist, Dr Zeeba at the Croydon, Osteopathic clinic.

Diastasis Recti - Stomach Muscle separation after Pregnancy

What is Diastasis Recti?

Yup! its that word nobody can pronounce properly!

So what is ‘diastasis recti’ and why do my stomach muscles separate during pregnancy?

Diastasis recti is a separated of the stomach muscles during pregnancy which is natural as this allows the muscles and the connective tissues to stretch to accommodate your new baby.

After Pregnancy

It can, however, take several months for the muscles to come towards the midline again, but for some individuals, this separation remains and unfortunately can cause problems if left unaddressed.

The affects of stomach muscles separation (Diastasis Recti)

This increased separation can lead:

  • Weakened core muscles

  • Back pain

  • Postpartum belly

  • Possible herniation

What can I do?

When you are pregnant, an important hormone called Relaxin which allows your body to prepare and muscles to prepare for giving birth. It also allows your muscles and joints to soften and stretch. Relaxin is still in your system after birth, so you have to take it easy on your body and not rush and do too much exercise.

Fortunately, Diastasis Recti can be addressed and significantly improved by introducing some specific core strengthening exercises and avoiding certain abdominal work. (Yup! No crunches and planks in the beginning ladies!!)

No two births are the same and so many changes have occurred pre/during and after pregnancy .

It’s important to check if you think you may have Diastasis recti…….There is a way!!

How to Test?

Its recommended to wait 6-13 weeks before self testing.

After this you can do the following:

Step 1: Lay on your back, feet flat and knees bent.

Step 2: Relax all muscles and take the middle three fingers and place them towards the navel with your fingers pointing down.

Step 3: Now gently lift your head. See if your fingers sink into the centre of your abdominal. Repeat this step by checking the midline above and below the naval. If the gap is wider than 2 fingers, you may have a diastasis recti. (I would not panic at this stage as your body can still improve and the muscles do take time to move back into place.)

A gap of 4-5 fingers? Go and make an appointment with your GP.

Now What?

As mentioned earlier, please don’t panic as a lot can be done to help and improve Diastasis Recti.

Slowly and gently and mindfully is the way forward. That's why Pilates is an excellent way to gently support the muscles and core.

Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts


  • Address Posture

  • Learn to change position from lying on your back to standing correctly

  • Let your body heal and spend to with your baby

  • Focused breathing

  • Pelvic floor exercises

  • Gently core work

  • Kinesic tape (can assist)

  • Try Pilates


  • Avoid crunches, sit-ups, planks plymetricts (star jumps), running.

  • Increasing intra abdominal pressure this will place extra force through the already divided muscles.

  • Avoid abdominal ‘bulging’ or ‘doming’

If you feel you need a bit of support and guidance or tummy check, contact the clinic and book for consultation with Martine who would be happy to assist.

By Martine McDonnell-Bolton, Pilates Practitioner.

Martine is a Senior Pilates Practitioner with nearly 20 years of teaching experience. Originally in Australia she has worked in all aspects of Pilates. However, since becoming a mother herself in 2013, her experience and knowledge of working with mothers through all aspects of pre/during and post pregnancy deepened profoundly.


Your Body after Birth

I remember after birth, and I am not afraid or embarrassed to say that I had a fragile pelvic floor. Yes, I leaked when I laughed, leaked when I coughed and leaked when I sneezed! It became a joke amongst friends, that’s me forever in Tena pads!

 But listen and here’s the important bit, your body WILL IMPROVE, so if you are feeling like it will never be the same, I promise it will get better. But you need to make sure you do it safely and not jump back into very active exercise too quickly like running, high impact or lifting heavy weights or bags. 

 Your core takes a massive hit when pregnant as your pelvic floor, back and stomach have to adjust to carrying the extra weight. Your stomach muscles often separate called ‘diastasis recti’ to allow the bump to grow. 

Also, your body is not as stable or secure while pregnant as the hormone relaxin kicks in and relaxes the ligaments and pelvis and softens the cervix, ready for your baby. This all puts extra pressure on our muscles to work harder. 

 So, what is the benefit of doing Postnatal Pilates after birth? 

 Postnatal and Reformer Pilates is perfect after birth as it strengthens that all-important abdominal basket, which consists of the abdominal muscles, the back muscles and the pelvic floor. 

 We are all different, and we will all have our own issues and concerns after birth. Some will want to lose weight or strengthen the stomach after a C-section. Some may be concerned about their stomach muscles and would like safe exercises to do this. Some may have discovered a prolapse after birth and have concerns on how to manage it, or what exercises you can do safely and how to improve it. 

The benefits of doing Pilates is that it’s perfect for all these issues as it focuses on the following areas:

 Strengthens the Pelvic floor

 Like myself, I was given some exercises after birth with very little guidance, and sometimes these can do more harm than good. In a one to one session the Pilates teacher will give your specific exercises to restore your pelvic floor and strengthen your core muscles to improve your stability and strength. If you have suffered from a prolapse or incontinence the exercises will start to strengthen the muscles surrounding this.

 Stomach Muscle separation 

 Pilates concentrate on the deep abdominal muscles and the transverse abdominal muscles. By strengthening these muscles, it can allow for Diastasis Recti to improve and Martine (Pilates Instructor) will give your individual exercises and show you the correct way to strengthen your muscle. This will also have a positive effect on your back and avoid you getting backache and help improve your posture. 

 When can I start exercising after birth? 

 It is advised that new mums do not exercise at all till at least 6 weeks after birth for natural delivery and 12 weeks if you a have had a C section. You need to give your body a chance to rest and heal. After this, we can start to help you strengthen and restore your core muscles.

 What happens during a 1 to 1 session 

During the session, initially, we will have a 15-minute consultation to discuss your birth and the key areas you would like to focus on in the session. 

We will then asses your muscle strength and any areas we feel would be beneficial to work on. 

You will then run through various Pilates exercises using the reformer and mat works and start a tailored exercise plan.

One of the benefits of the one to one session is the exercises can be much more tailored to your needs even to the point where the teacher can give you the number of repetitions that would be ideal for yourself.

 At the clinic we also offer Duet Postnatal Training sessions this allows for you to train alongside another mum or a friend.  Here you can take advantage of the reduced price but also give you a chance to motivate each other and train together. 

 Meet our Women’s health Pilates instructor

Martine is currently our Women’s health Pilates teacher, and she has experience with pregnancy Pilates and pre and postnatal care and has been treating mums since year 2000. Martine is also a mum too so has first-hand experience in women’s health issues after birth. In addition, she has experience working with spine and disc pathologies, scoliosis and sacroiliac dysfunction, knee, ankle and shoulder rehabilitation pre and postoperative and individuals with physical disabilities. Through this, she assists in re-educating, retraining and reiterating more economical solutions for you and your bodies to increase strength and keep the potential for injury and dysfunction to a minimum.

 What Martine says..

“What I love about working with people, is finding a unique approach to each individual and assisting their physical health and unlocking their highest potential.”

The Postnatal Pilates sessions are currently available every Friday by appointment only. subject to enquiry and availability.

A consultation is required beforehand so Martine can assess your fitness levels and discuss any concerns or area you want to focus on.

To find out more contact the clinic on 0208 6621155 or email on


Written by: Micala Sansom

Weaning your Baby onto Solids

Me, know best?

It doesn't always feel like that, especially when you are a new parent trying not to get into an acute state of anxiety about feeding your baby. We lack confidence in our ability to get it right. When your baby's first food is offered and rejected, we can feel bad and lose faith in our ability to cope. We can become immersed in a whole clutch of ‘difficulties' such as;

  • Establishing which food that is healthy?

  • What should be given at what stage and in what form?

  • Getting your baby to accept what seems appropriate?

The whole business of feeding your baby can leave us nothing short of desperate, dashing out on last-minute errands to stock up on the latest food or item of equipment suggested by the health visitor or the baby magazine that might help solve the problem. We can quickly lose any sense of perspective and faith that we will ever get the feeding right before the child becomes ill with some severe nutritional imbalance.

Baby-food manufacturers make a profitable industry out of exploiting these anxieties and our desire to feed our babies the best we can. The Baby Food market is worth more than £164,000 Million and growing.


And knowing best isn't that difficult. There are just two guiding principles:

  1. We need to feed our babies on fresh foods, prepared from excellent quality raw materials and avoid processed foods where possible or limit it.

  2. We need to accustom them gradually to eat the same food as ourselves, just in a more baby-friendly way.

Following these two principles, it is clear that the food we prepare at home will be the best food.


  • We can select the best quality food.

  • It will retain more natural nutritional goodness.

  • Our baby won't be eating the cheap industrial fillers.

  • The food the baby eats will taste better because it is just mushed –up real food.

  • Our baby will get used to the wide variety of flavours found in real, unprocessed food.

  • We can vary the textures and reflect the differences that occur naturally in unprocessed food.

  • It will save you money.

  • We can start off by feeding them the same food we eat, only in a different form.

For many anxious first- time parents especially, the application of these principles can feel like a heavy responsibility which demands a considerable leap of faith. It seems more comfortable just to buy custom-made baby foods like lots of other parents do. But as many more experienced parents can testify, the leap is worth it – babies can surprise us with the diversity of tastes and textures they enjoy. And for these babies, the transition to a broader real – food diet will be infinitely more effortless.

Written by Nutritionist Dr Zeeba Shariff

If you would like some support on the best way to wean your baby onto solids, you can arrange an appointment with Dr Zeeba Shariff at the clinic.

Contact our reception on to arrange an appointment on 0208 662 1155

How to Avoid Back Pain whilst using a Mobile phone

The average person spends nearly three hours a day using a mobile phone device thats nearly 84 hours a month!

The amount of time spend on a mobile, laptop or iPad all have a negative impact on our posture and the way we hold our head.

These devices are great tools and most of us spend hours per day using at least one (if not all) of them either for work or leisure purposes.

However, we should be careful of our posture while using them as a repetitive poor prolonged posture can be detrimental to our neck and back.

These unnatural positions (head bentdown and/or head forward) increase the weight of your head and can multiply it up to 6 times.

As the adult head weight in average is about 5kg, the weight inflicted on your neck can go up to almost 30kg!

The more your head is bent forward, the more load you put on your neck.

Your back will also have the tendency to stoop to compensate, which may cause persistent low back pain.

I recommend you do the following:

  • Adopt a good posture while using the device (standing or sitting): align ears, shoulders and hips.

  • Place the device at eye level (If necessary, use a support).

  • Take breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to move the shoulders and neck, stretch...

  • Reduce the time your spent in front of a screen, possibly set a timer so you have a limit of 20 minutes.

  • And why not use the dictation function for texting or voice command to search.

  • A text and a notification can be distracting when you’re working but very tempting to read! Why not turn off the notifications on your WhatsApp, Facebook or any social media you have. That way you’re only checking them when you have the time, this should ultimately reduce your time on your phone.

By Sabrina Peyandane, Osteopath and Cranial Osteopath.

Boost your Immunity and Avoid Flu this Winter


Scientists have failed to find the cure for the common cold because it is you, the host, and your defences – not the invader – which is important.

The best way to minimise your chances of getting an infection and recovering rapidly is to boost your immune system. The immune system is our body’s natural defence system against disease. It is made up of a complex network of tissues, organs, cells and chemicals that protect the body from infection and fight illness.


An inadequate diet compromises the immune system by depleting the body of the essential nutrients that play an important role in maintaining this intricate system. A healthy, balanced diet will improve your health and protect you from infection.


A good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can provide extra insurance against getting colds and flu during the winter months. Rich sources of vitamin C include berries, citrus fruits and peppers. Vitamin D is important for immune function; increase the intake of oily fish, eggs and green leafy vegetables.


Zinc is integral to good immune function and found in lean meats, seeds, whole grains and legumes. Both zinc and vitamin C have anti-viral activity, especially against several of the viruses that cause the common cold.


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glutamine is used as a fuel by the cells of the immune system. Adequate levels of healthy proteins are needed for the immune system when we are ill or under stress. Glutamine – rich foods include poultry, fish and legumes. 


Select colourful fruits and vegetables which will be packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Antioxidants protect our body from excess free radical damage, which is associated with illness and compromised immunity. Aim for at least 5 portions a day and select a rainbow of colours to ensure a good range of nutrients.


The types of fat you consume have a significant impact on your health and immunity. The essential fats are found in nuts, seeds and oily fish. Saturated animal fats from red meat and full fat dairy produce should be minimised.


Use garlic and ginger in your cooking. Garlic contains sulphur compounds which have powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial agents. Add ginger, cinnamon and lemon to a mug of hot water for soothing drink.


Eating too much sugar is detrimental to the immune system and depletes levels of vitamin C. Excess sugar in the diet also puts a great deal of stress on the body.


Mucus forms the first line of defence against airborne infections. It contains leukocytes, which are the primary cells that fight infection and tissue damage. An excess of acid – forming foods will supress the immune system and promote increased mucus production. The excess mucus creates congestion, which acts as a conductor for the growth of bacteria and viruses.


Your GI tract houses two-thirds of your immune system and is the biggest interface with the outside world. Each day you eat hundreds of germs, most of which die in the saliva or stomach acid. Healthy bacteria in the gut are killed off by antibiotics, so a course of probiotics is especially useful when you are taking antibiotics.


Shor –term stress can actually boost the immune system. However, chronic longer term stress has a negative impact because excess adrenaline and cortisone will lower immune system function.


It’s easy to forget the importance of rest for good health and wellbeing, but getting sufficient sleep and finding time for relaxation will keep your immune system strong. When we sleep, our immune system is replenished improving our resistance to infection. A lack of sleep also depletes our body of many nutrients, especially magnesium and vitamin C.



1tsp green tea

1 tsp dandelion

1 tsp barley

The pips from 1 lemon – cut open

These herbs are all known for supporting the immune system. Add the ingredients to some boiling water.


5 Top Tips for Getting to the Start Line Injury Free.

With the London Marathon coming up I’m being asked how my body is coping with the increase in mileage and the demands of training. Here is an insight into the behind the scenes work that goes into getting to the start line of any race injury and niggle free.

1. Listen to your Body:

Listening to your body is a skill which needs to be practiced and trained, its about working out whether something feels good for your body, and when it doesn’t. Just because a training session is on the plan doesn’t mean you have to complete it as pushing through fatigue, illness or injury can often result in overtraining and increases the risk of further injury. Be flexible, listen to your body and train smarter. Adapting the plan or taking extra rest won’t mean a loss in fitness, but it can mean being able to train harder when it counts and making sessions successful.

2. Regular Stretching, Rolling and Sports Massage:

Being told I spend all my time “rolling about on the floor” gave me confidence that I was spending enough time stretching and rolling! I generally try and spend about 30mins after each session (irrespective of length of training session) following a stretch and rolling routine which I devised to target the areas which get tight. Combining that with a fortnightly sports massage helps keep my body injury free. 

3. Good Nutrition and Hydration:

Keeping my food choices as clean as possible means I have the right energy to fuel all my training. With so much aerobic endurance training I’m not shy with carbohydrate portions and have recently increased my protein levels each day to aid with muscle recovery and development. I’ve done this with extra servings of Amino Acids, whey protein shakes, and have changed snacks to be protein based such as crudites with houmous, boiled eggs and Greek yoghurt. That with drinking 2.5-3L a day means my nutrition aids my training rather than hinders it.

4.  Embrace the Rest Day:

I love my rest day, but I know a lot of athletes struggle to take a day off and do nothing.  A mixture of active recovery and feet up means the body can rest and recharge and absorb all the training you’ve done that week. Its the most neglected part of a training plan but so important for body and mind.

5. Don’t Neglect the Strength and Conditioning:

Vitally important for maintaining the strength of key muscles. I target my glutes, core, and do a lot of mobility and functional work to keep strong and mobile. Running and cycling isn’t enough to keep you strong, resistance training increases lean muscle mass, strengthens bones, and benefits balance, coordination and posture. All key areas to improve to make you a stronger athlete overall.

So that is my insight into how I’ve made it to the start line of the Yorkshire Marathon injury free, strong, and raring to go. Personal Best....I’m coming for you!

Written by Rhea Malkin. Sports Therapist BSc (Hons) MSST and STOTT Reformer Pilates Instructor.

Seeing an Osteopath after childbirth

Why consult an osteopath after giving birth?

Pregnancy and labour can take its toll on your body. Your posture has gradually adapted for several months to pregnancy, and, suddenly it must be readapted to the absence of the baby in the womb.

Pregnancy hormones also continue to affect your muscles and ligaments for around 6 months after birth, making them more lax, which places pressure and increased risks of injury on the joints, ligaments and discs of the lower back and other parts of your body.

Finally, new activities such as feeding and carrying your baby will put additional strain on your body.

How can osteopathy help?

Osteopathic treatment is an effective way to address these concerns, promote optimum recovery and help prevent future problems due to unresolved issues.

Besides, by relieving postural strains resulting from long hours spent carrying and feeding your baby as well as repetitive movements such as lifting your baby, osteopathy will make the day-to-day demands of motherhood much easier for you.

Finally, it can harmonize your nervous system, improve sleep and help hormonal balance.

How soon can I consult an Osteopath after giving birth?

If you had a difficult delivery, It is recommended to consult an osteopath the earliest to speed recovery and prevent future problems.

For example, the use of instruments, such as ventouse and forceps, can leave strains in pelvic tissues and alter the position of the uterus and bladder.

The sooner you will be treated, the fewer tensions can set in, and the less pain will appear.

Even if you had an uncomplicated delivery, a post-check-up four to six weeks is highly recommended to assess your alignment and make sure everything is back in the normal position and moving well.

My advice, consult without delay, but once you are ready.

It is important to take care of yourself. Because if you are well, this can only be beneficial for your baby.

Caesarean section, episiotomy, should I wait to see an osteopath?

In case of caesarean section, you can consult even if your scar is "fresh".

Your osteopath will not work on the scar directly but promotes proper healing by working the tissues around.

They will also make sure that your scar does not cause any tension. Which will help prevent pain in the future.

Caesarean sections cause scar tissue on the uterus and pelvic tissues. Releasing adhesions and mobilising the scar tissue can alleviate low back and pelvic pain. This work is also essential for future reproductive health, fertility and successful vaginal births.

In the case of an episiotomy,

All techniques are external and extremely gentle. They aim to release all accumulated tension and help to heal.

Written by Sabrina Peyandane Osteopath and Cranial Osteopath

The Benefits of a Sports Massage


Have the summer holidays taken their toll? Is your athletics or triathlon race season over for another year? Is your body in need of some TLC?

If the answer to any of the above is YES, then its time you booked in for a Sports Massage at The Osteopathic Clinic, Croydon!

One of the oldest forms of massage dating from early martial arts in the far east to the ancient Greek and Roman games. Homer writes in the poem 'The Odyssey of Greek soldiers being rubbed with oils to aid their recovery and regain strength on return from battle, with Roman gladiators being prescribed massage before and after exercise.' A Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger developed ‘Swedish’ massage as we know it today, and adopted terms such as ‘effleurage’ ‘petrissage’ and ‘tapotement’ for the basic strokes used also in sports massage.

Sports massage

Sports massage sn’t just for elite sportsmen and women. Yet it is often misunderstood as a treatment modality because “I don’t do a sport”, and “aren’t they really painful”. Quite simply, sports massage can be beneficial to anyone regardless of athletic ability or exercise participation. So whether you are training for a race, visit the gym regularly, enjoy gardening, or have a desk-based office job, a regular sports massage can help to keep your body feeling great, and keep injuries at bay.

The benefits of Sports Massage are widespread and can include:

  • Increased muscle blood flow
  • Raised muscle temperature
  • Increased lymph flow and the removal of toxins from the muscles
  • Break down of adhesions and scar tissue which builds up over time causing tension
  • Relieves muscular pain
  • Physiological and psychological preparation for a race or event
  • A positive sense of wellbeing, relaxation and lowered stress levels.
  • Improved sleep patterns.

So if the summer holidays have been hectic, you’ve had a few hard races this year, or you are feeling neck or back stiffness from sitting at your desk for too long, maybe its time to give your body a well-earned treat and get those niggles ironed out.

Contact The Osteopathic Clinic, Croydon for appointment availability.

Written by Rhea Malkin BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy MSST and STOTT Pilates Reformer Instructor.



It’s been a long time since yours truly has been in touch and I can only apologise. I’ve been busy with the clinic, Shockwave Therapy, social media and rebuilding my body after undergoing further hip surgery last December. I’m also currently in the process of strengthening the muscles on the inside of my sorry-looking-scraped-carrot-of-a-leg with the aim of warding off a knee replacement. 



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Some of the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I’ve ditched the business suit for spandex – no inappropriate comments, please – and have been sharing my rehab videos on Facebook and Instagram. Here are some of the exercise videos

which should not only help you but may raise a few laughs. I warned you about the spandex look. In these clips I demonstrate numerous positions and techniques. From how to open up your body and improve your posture to strengthening the muscles in your trunk, I've got you covered. I’ve also recorded an IGTV video – which lasts for ten minutes – and shows how you fire up your deeper core stabilising muscles. To watch it click here,



Interestingly, some of our clients have enquired as to where our regular newsletter has gone. Like many, we've now decided to only communicate via our blogs and have upped the frequency of the posts to help you stay up to date with what’s happening in the clinic. There’s also plenty of helpful advice over there. Why don’t you take a look? Our recent posts include: How osteopathy can benefit the over 65s   

How to look after your body on holiday



We’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be launching a new Mother and Baby Morning every Monday from September 10 to help mothers with lactation and breastfeeding issues. The combined breastfeeding support and osteopathy sessions shall run between 9.30 and 11am. Breastfeeding lactation consultant (IBCLC) and tongue tie specialist Katherine Fisher will be on hand alongside our cranial osteopaths Sabrina Peyandane and Mark Bolton to help patients with all sorts of concerns ranging from sleep to digestive problems including reflux disorder. There is no need to book an appointment in advance. For more information read our full blog post here. 


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You might spot a smiley new face around the clinic. That’s because we’ve brought in Micala Sansom to manage our commerce affairs. Micala was the brains behind the soon-to-launch Mother & Baby Drop-In Clinic. 




As mentioned we are FIT-NUTS at the Osteopathic Clinic. Our osteopath Mark Bolton is a real Speedy Gonzalez. Despite being out with an injury for four weeks, he still managed to run the Brighton Marathon in 3 hours and 40 minutes. We’ve got great hopes for Mark and are sure it’ll just be a matter of time before the invites from New York and the rest of the world start flooding in. And it’s not just Mark that’s been running up a sweat, Rhea Malkin, our sports therapist and STOTT pilates reformer instructor is also training for a marathon, while osteopath Lydia Armitage is preparing for an Iron Man. Additionally, Rhea has moved her sports therapy clinic to the practice, too. 

Best pic of the year, without a doubt

Best pic of the year, without a doubt


Things have also been busy on the Shockwave Therapy front. I’ve been teaching a number of independent universities and clinics about the science and technique – which is one of the most effective and risk-free ways to fix persistent joint or tendon pain - and will be travelling to Belfast to host another session in October. I’ve also been invited to attend a big official congress in Switzerland in November and am looking forward to hearing about the latest developments in this field. By the way, did you see my animated Instagram video on Shockwave Therapy? It’s an easy to understand clip of how Shockwave might help you. 

Also, you might like to read this blog post here on the nine things you didn’t know about Shockwave Therapy.



If you were taken aback a rather frightening picture of me kitted out in a teddy bear print surgical mask on Facebook, I must apologise. 

Scary, would you consult this guy.

Scary, would you consult this guy.


I was at the London Bridge Hospital observing a complex lumbar spine surgery that lasted two hours. The patient had part of his disc removed to alleviate constant leg pain. It was an honour receiving the invitation to watch the surgeon operate; I walked away with first-hand experience that provided extra knowledge on how I could help rehabilitate the patient. I’ll never lose my appetite for learning. 





Much fun was at our third summer party where we hosted a fantastic evening for physicians from the world of cardiology and orthopaedics, as well as a number of staff from Shirley Oaks Hospitals and colleagues. My dear friend Vince Dunn and his orchestral band provided a soundtrack of jazz, Latin, funk and classic tunes and everyone enjoyed the Indian food. Check out the clips over on our Facebook carousel here. 

And that folks, is a wrap.



How can osteopathy benefit the over 65’s?


Osteopathy can be of great benefit to any age group but especially in the over 65 age category. 

With an ageing population and people staying fit and healthy longer nowadays mobility is a significant factor in maintaining our health and well being well into retirement age!

This is where osteopathy can help!

An inevitable part of ageing is the wear and tear that occurs throughout our bodies usually manifesting itself as osteoarthritis. Hand in hand with this degeneration within the joints comes a degree of inflammation which leads to stiffness and pain. Osteopathy helps to keep these joints mobile through gentle articulation, stretching and helping to reduce pain and inflammation, therefore keeping us as mobile as possible. Staying active and engaging in regular exercise also plays a significant role here. And often I explain to my patients we work in a partnership, it may be that they need treatment to release and mobilise various joints or areas throughout their body but they then need to do some work to maintain that mobility.

Movement and mobility are in my opinion as an osteopath the two most important qualities we need to maintain as we age.

With movement comes independence and the ability to continue to stay active and fit. If we can stay mobile not only will it benefit bone health concerning bone density and minimising the risk of osteoporosis, but also muscular health, and the overall health of all our organ systems. This is because movement means improved blood circulation throughout the body; delivering fresh nutrients and oxygen to our tissues and the removal of toxins and waste products (these are by-products of our body functioning normally, but can cause problems if they build up and become more concentrated in certain areas of the body). With good circulation, these waste products can be transported efficiently to where they can be processed and removed from our bodies. 

Osteopathic treatment aims to maintain and improve mobility throughout the body promoting good health and correct functioning through bones and joints as well as the soft tissues surrounding them (muscles, ligaments and tendons) as well as supporting good circulation. This is why a regular maintenance treatment with an osteopath is often recommended, especially as we age, as it helps to act as a prevention rather than a cure for various conditions, aches and pains. 

Written by Lydia Armitage, Osteopath