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 contact@osteopathclinic.co.uk


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.      https://youtu.be/4DlYc5IVuR4 

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

Why see a Lactation Consultant and Cranial Osteopath

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Lactation Consultants are uniquely qualified to assist mothers and babies with Lactation and Breastfeeding issues and feeding in general for children aged 0-5 years. We only give evidence or physiologically based advice and information to help parents feed their baby or child safely and effectively.

However raising a baby is not only about feeding them, we are also able to assist with sleep, settling, feed management, transitioning to bottle feeding and solid foods and digestive issues including reflux disorder and Tongue tie.

Often we recognise that further specialised help from other healthcare professionals is needed including paediatricians and osteopaths.

I have been referring babies and their mothers for osteopathic assessment and treatment for more than 20 years always to good effect. Recent research demonstrates that osteopathy is helpful in reducing colic in babies, and I have a great deal of experience in observing the impact of osteopathy post frenulotomy (tongue- tie release).

Osteopaths often describe cranial dysfunction and restrictions in the skull sutures being linked to breastfeeding issues. If there is a misalignment of the skull, this can affect the palate, tongue, and other structures of the head and make the facial muscles too tight. Cranial osteopaths work by allowing some of that tension to be released so your baby can effectively latch more effectively.  Sabrina, the local Cranial Osteopath, says:

"Osteopathy doesn't substitute to medical treatment. However, it can have an important role in optimising gut function by identifying and minimising the underlying causes of your baby's symptoms."

Cranial Osteopathy focuses on the following area's: 

  • The neck, head and mouth: By gently releasing tension in the neck and around the mouth. Osteopathy contributes to improving suckling, reducing air swallowing during feeds. Also, the vagus nerve, which exits from the base of the skull and supplies the digestive system, can be irritated or compressed during the birth process. Irritation of this nerve is thought to contribute to colicky symptoms.

  • Visceral tensions caused by colic can create spinal tensions, which can affect the mobility of the back and neck, which in turn can interfere with proper food absorption as well as making breastfeeding more challenging.

The Mum and Baby Drop-in clinic at The Osteopathic clinic in Croydon

The Breastfeeding and Osteopathic clinic held every Tuesday at 9:30-11:00 am.  There is no need to book, the Lactation consultant and Cranial Osteopath will assess your baby's feeding and undertake an oral assessment. 

By Katherine Fisher, Lactation consultant and Cranial Osteopath Sabrina Peyandane.

Look after your Body whilst on Holiday


With the school holidays upon us, many of us are taking the opportunity to get away to spend some valuable time with our family. I have been asked by a few patients what if any precautions you can take to prevent injury or aches and pains whilst away. Whether this involves a long flight or car journey or even a camping trip!

There are obvious things to remember such as being careful how you lift heavy suitcases or equipment. Alternatively, make sure to move and stretch during any stops you may have on your journey.

Having considered the many questions, I get asked by patients around this time of year. One thing which underpins a lot of these problems is often ‘poor conditioning’ or to put it another way, weak core muscles.

Many problems we see at The Croydon Osteopathic and Warlingham clinic come from patients becoming a little de-conditioned, as our busy lives get in the way of actually looking after ourselves.

I was (and sometimes still am!) the biggest culprit of this and ended up on the treatment couch myself a few times!

Every day I find myself explaining to patients ways they can help themselves get stronger and more supple. 

So in answer to a lot of queries and concerns patients may have about travelling at this time of year; I think the best place to start would be to focus more on one's fitness a few weeks out from the trip. This doesn’t have to mean visiting the gym four times a week or running around the park during your lunch break

I often find some gentle floor work bodyweight exercises are enough to improve one’s strength and posture. 

Also if you do suffer from back pain, the best remedy is doing some form of movement even if it's getting up to put the kettle on, being static can sometimes worsen symptoms.  When you are on holiday, if you have access to a pool, doing a few strokes in the pool or even water aerobics can support your body or injury as there is no direct impact on the joints. You can also use this opportunity to do some stretches too.  Also taking a stroll on the beach or in the countryside can actually benefit you by getting the muscles and joints working, but I would make sure you have the correct walking shoes or sandals that are supporting your back and your whole body.

I have a list of various exercises, but I prefer to run through these in person as we are all unique and each exercise suggestion is dependant on your body and injury.  However, I have linked a few simple exercises.

 If you feel uncomfortable in any way while doing these exercises, stop immediately and give us a call on 0208 662 1155.


By Mark Bolton, Osteopath 


The Benefit of Exercise after an Osteopathic Treatment

Stretches and exercises

As a practising Osteopath, clinically it is essential to give my patients exercises and/ or stretches following a treatment to do at home. When treating a patient, I look at a range of factors at play that may be contributing or causing that patient’s pain. These include:

  • Joint alignment - whether the bones that make up the joint are aligned correctly to allow proper function of the joint.
  • Mobility - the range of motion available throughout the Joint
  • Tissue state - or lack of and tissue state, how healthy the tissue is and its level of tension.

Whilst an osteopathic treatment may resolve or correct any of this issues it is important to realise that if a patient doesn’t do anything outside of the treatment room to maintain the changes that have been made, the likelihood of symptoms returning is higher. 

As osteopath’s we prescribe various stretches and exercises, to help patients give a sense of ownership and control over their complaint. That if symptoms start to reoccur there is something they can do to help. These exercises can also help to maintain levels of mobility, reduce inflammation and promote tissue healing between treatments, contributing towards pain relief and improved function. 

Clinically I have found those patients who take a vested interest in self-management at home or in their workplace and complete the exercises and stretches I give them have both a quicker recovery time but also find in combination with maintenance treatment they are able to use osteopathy as a prevention rather than a cure to their complaint. 

Written By Lydia Armitage, Osteopath at The Osteopathic Clinic, Croydon



PILATES....It's Not Just For Girls!


Why Pilates is Growing in Popularity amongst Men..

The recent rise in male sports personalities promoting the use of Pilates in their training programmes has helped to raise the profile of Pilates amongst men. That’s right guys....if its cool enough for Christian Ronaldo, Mark Cavendish and Tiger Woods, then isn’t it time you incorporated Pilates into your training plans?

Here are some facts about this exercise programme that I’m sure you consider is only liked by females... It’ called Pilates, and it's really good for you too!

Pilates was created and developed by a guy called Joseph Pilates. He developed a system of exercises which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. The inspiration for his method came to him during World War One whilst being held at an internment camp on the Isle of Man. Over the course of four years, he developed his method working with fellow injured inmates to aid in their rehabilitation, using bed springs from the hospital beds for resistance and to help get their limbs moving again.

How does Clinical Pilates work?

Following a postural analysis, your Clinical Pilates session is tailor-made to suit your bodies needs and limitations. You really can create a beach-worthy body without lifting a single weight, yet you will feel like you have just hit the gym for a hard session.  

This is because Pilates uses a variety of equipment and apparatus to help accelerate strengthening, body alignment, increased core strength and stretching. All the exercises are done with control, your muscles are working against gravity and the spring resistance, in order to control the movement of the body and the apparatus. Muscles you didn’t even know existed will be activated and challenged in a safe and effective manner. This leaves you feeling great, all those happy endorphins will be released, and you will leave feeling taller, stronger and more connected. It’s a fact...one of my guy clients reported friends complimenting him on his gym buff bod...he replied, not the gym....it’s Pilates!!  

Contrary to popular belief, men do own a pelvic floor too. Yes, it's not just a female issue!

Do you know how to activate it? Do you know where it is? Thought not!

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles at the bottom of our abdominal cavity, located between the pubic bone at the front, and the base of the spine at the back. Our pelvic floor is vital in the role lumbar spine and sacrum stability. Men who are predisposed to groin or hamstring injuries will find Pilates a great tool in rehabilitation from these injuries, and the prevention from further reoccurrence. Stretching and strengthening the pelvic floor can play a huge role in reducing lower back pain too. 

So, whether you are injury prone, have a history of lower back pain, feel muscular tightness and have bad posture, or, if you feel focused to improve your fitness, want new sporting PB’s, or increased endurance during football or rugby matches... why not give Pilates a go!

You have nothing to lose, and a stronger, connected, injury-free body to gain. And, I promise you.... you don’t have to wear leggings to join in!

Written by Rhea Malkin BSc (Hons) Sports Therapist MSST and STOTT Pilates Reformer Instructor at the Croydon Osteopathic clinic.


7 habits that could be causing you pain


When was the last time you took a call with your phone propped between your ear and shoulder while you were doing the washing up? Or the last time you were slouched over your Ipad or Iphone responding to emails? If the answer is today, yesterday or even last week then it’s time to act now.

Everyday habits can cause twinges and aches which, if left, can build up into something more serious. Of course, our team of osteopaths are here to help you get out of any pickle find yourself in - if your bad knee, back or neck is troubling you as you read this please do book an appointment- but we believe in the old adage that prevention is better than cure. 


Below are 7 habits to avoid and why

Sleeping on your front
This is a no-go because it puts strain on the back of your neck. Ideally, sleep on your back or side with your legs flexed at the kneebetween 30 and 45 degrees. If you must sleep on your front put a pillow under your hips or chest to alleviate the pressure.


Reading in bed propped on one elbow
We advise against reading in bed. If you must, avoid being propped on one elbow or lying completely flat on your bed which automatically throws your body out of line. Try sitting in an upright neutral position with pillows placed either side of you. 


Sneezing with straight legs
Coughing or sneezing can increase pressure in the spinal canal causing sharp pain and pressure in the discs. Always bend your knees if you feel a cough/sneeze coming on to absorb the force. 


Choosing a soft office chair
Soft chairs might be comfortable but they’re not good for your posture – they obliterate natural curves which are essential for strength and support. Try and sit in a neutral spine position and avoid twisting and reaching for things.  This is a sure fire way to put something out.  Avoid overstretching by getting up and moving around, which is especially important if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. 


Lifting objects with straight legs
Never lift objects with locked legs as this places enormous strain on the lower back and can cause disc issues. Learn how to lift properly. Bend both knees, keep the back straight and try not to twist. Check out this video here for more information:  https://www.facebook.com/muscleandmotion/?hc_ref=ART8TrfY9i0c_PIiX829TVpSUhwGY2GT7VW_HYPcNG4B5e3zeoOPlZH7C_AYCTOqsuE&fref=nf


Spending hours hunched over a laptop or phone
The brain weighs and average of 3lbs. If the head is tilted five degrees forward that places 150% more pressure on the discs of the lumbar spine. Avoid poor posture and rounded shoulders by limiting screen time – a 30 minute break is recommended to recalibrate. 

Sleeping on a soft mattress
if you wake up in the morning with stiffness there’s a chance your mattress may be too soft. The life of most mattresses lasts between eight and ten years. 


Are you suffering with niggly aches and pains? Book an appointment today with one of our registered osteopaths:  Call 0208 662 1155. 




Osteopathic Clinic Takes Centre Stage


This week our very own Rhea Malkin was featured putting freelance journalist and www.relaxyaselftohealth.co.uk founder, Helen Gilbert, through her paces in our Cheyne Walk pilates studio. 

Due to ongoing chronic health issues, Helen was keen to try out a less intense form of exercise that would not overly raise her body temperature but strengthen her muscles, so our sports therapist and Stott Pilates graduate Rhea, suggested reformer pilates. 

Our studio is equipped with state-of-the-art specialist equipment including reformers, a trapeze table, ladder barrels and a Wunda chair to help clients engage the deep abdominal muscles that are essential for stability. 

This means that patients who have difficulty performing pilates on a mat, for instance those in pain, do not have to miss out on the benefits of this fantastic workout.

Pilates is a conditioning exercise programme that targets the deep muscles of the abdomen and spine to improve overall core stability, posture, strength, flexibility and muscle tone. 

We use it to treat patients with chronic pain and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis, orthopaedic and sports injuries, osteoporosis and scoliosis of the spine as well as mothers–to-be with pre or postnatal postural alignment issues, and for rehabilitation and ongoing care. 

Pilates is also fantastic for athletic conditioning. Rhea, who completed her first Ironman in the European Championship in Frankfurt last year, credits a one hour pilates session twice a week for improving her core strength and flexibility. 

To read out how Helen fared in her reformer pilates session with Rhea, check out her review here: https://relaxyaselftohealth.co.uk/wellness/7-reformer-pilates-myths-busted

If you’d like to book an individual reformer pilates session with Rhea or any of the Team  please call reception on: 0208 662 1155

Please look at the video before and after Helens Reformer Class,

4 things you should avoid when lifting your child



When you’re running around after a two-year-old child, the health of your body is probably the last thing on your mind. It’s easy to dismiss niggly aches and pains as just one of those things. Besides, you’re far too busy to get yourself checked out. 

But then something breaks, you find yourself in a pickle and call us.

It’s a situation we see time and time again in our practice, especially in new mums with lower back and hip strains, shoulder and wrist problems.

One of the reasons for this is the effect of the hormone relaxin, which is released by the brain during pregnancy. Its role is to soften and open the ligaments between the muscles to allow room for the baby to grow but an unfortunate consequence is that it becomes very easy to stress vulnerable parts of the body and it can take at least six months following the birth of the baby for things to settle down. 

In fact, mothers often come to us to help relieve the shooting, stabbing or burning sensations they feel when walking up and down the stairs, standing on one leg or sitting down, which is often the result of Pelvic Girdle Pain. 

With this in mind, we’ve rounded up 4 things you should avoid when lifting your child.

When you’re tired and it’s the middle of the night it can be very easy to forget how to lift properly but locking out your knees will put unnecessary pressure on the lower back and stop you from maintaining a neutral spine. You’re especially vulnerable at this time because of the hormonal situation. Remember to flex the knees slightly when lifting your child and keep the elbows soft and close to the body.

Whether we’re right-handed or left-handed we all have a favourite side and chances are you’ll pop your toddler on the hip that feels most comfortable for you. The trouble with this is that it causes tremendous strain on one side of the body, which stress the soft tissues, ligaments. Before long you'e in extreme pain. Mix up the hips and remember to keep the elbows soft and chest high to avoid neck pain while lifting your son or daughter.

It’s the middle of the night, the baby is hungry again and posture is the last thing on your mind but a designated feeding station can help. Try to have a nursing seat or bench with cushions propped either side of you so that you’re in a balanced position. Also, avoid only feeding from one side which can result in a build-up of muscle tension and cause headaches and shoulder pain down the line.

This is easier said than done but I know many mums who try to do it all. Repeatedly balancing a baby on the hip with a car seat in one hand and a feeding bag in another is asking for trouble and your body won’t thank you for it in the long run. When it comes to lifting your baby in and out of the pram, pushchair or car seat try to perform just one task at a time. This will offload stress on potentially vulnerable areas. 

Did you know that we offer a dedicated osteopathy and postnatal care service for new mums? 
You can read more about it here: 

If you’ve been struggling with aches and pains since the birth of your child why not book an appointment with one of our specialist osteopaths today.
Simply call reception on: 0208 662 1155.

Our pilates team also offers pre and postnatal care and we can provide comprehensive programmes to help you through these difficult times and help your body return to its pre-baby state.


5 reasons check ups with your Osteopath are a good idea


Think back to the last time you booked an appointment with me or another osteopath in the clinic. Were we your last minute get out of jail card? Were you hoping for a quick fix so you could get back to your daily activities or game of golf or tennis in a speedy fashion?

The truth is the majority of patients contact us when they’re in extreme pain or something’s gone horribly wrong with their body. But in many instances their problems and the time spent out of action could have been prevented in the first place with a routine maintenance check-up.

As osteopaths, we are experts in joints, muscles, ligaments and tissues and the way they work with other systems in the body. We can quickly identify whether you’re setting yourself up for future problems from your posture, gait and the way you hold yourself and, more often than not, we’ve clocked what’s wrong with you before you’ve eve had a chance to explain your symptoms.

As well as hands on treatment, our team of osteopaths can spot troublesome signs immediately as well as offer advice on how to help prevent future problems developing. 

Below are 5 reasons why yearly check-ups with an osteopath are a good idea.

We think nothing of spending money on personal grooming and clothes but when it comes to our health many of us struggle with the idea of paying out to see an osteopath especially if we feel well. But the truth is a regular treatment ONCE every 3-6 months could work out far cheaper in the long run by nipping a serious problem - that may require four or five visits – in the bud.

It’s easy to ignore those niggly aches and pains but make today about prevention and detection, not reaction. You might not realise it but over time your body goes through the mill. Office workers hunched over a computer may struggle with bad necks and backs.

Builders and nurses may find undue pressure placed on their joints. Busy mums may twist awkwardly and put something out when picking up their children. However, a routine check-up can help stop potential problems from developing and our clinical pilates team can show you exercises to strengthen your core and overall frame.

We all know how long it can take to get a GP appointment but being bone experts osteopaths are ideally placed to identify osteoporosis – thinning of the bones. Often dubbed the Silent Killer because the early stages of the disease are difficult to detect and diagnose, it largely affects the elderly and women who have gone through menopause and happens when the body fails to replace old bone with new and the skeleton becomes brittle and weak. 

Many of us make a plan to get fit and throw ourselves into a new routine. However, we forget that training our body – especially when we haven’t exercised for a long time – puts it under intense pressure.

Everything is affected – muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments are being moved about all over the place and more often than not we end up sore and in pain. This is natural and it’s important to listen to your body and rest. However, if pain persists, your body may be out of alignment. A check up with an osteopath once every six months to a year can help.

How often are you run ragged by the demands of others? How often do you neglect your health and push your needs to bottom of the pile? The trouble if you don’t look after yourself you’ll not be fit to look after anyone. Why not book an appointment with an osteopath and make it part of an entire day devoted to your wellbeing? It could be just the thing to set you up mentally and physically for the week ahead.

We treat people of all ages, from babies to the elderly and everyone in between including pregnant women and elite athletes.  To book an appointment call: 0208 662 1155