I had the pleasure of being treated by Jess as I was having some issues, not surprisingly, with my lower limbs. I received two treatments and the difference was profound. I caught up with her to get some insight into what she does.
Name - Jessica Weatherall
Age - 29
Hometown - Originally Orbost, Victoria, Australia. Currently – Edinburgh!
Brief Bio – I am an Australian, married to a Scotsman, struggling with the Scottish weather! I grew up in a small country town in Australia, studied Osteopathy for 5 years in Melbourne, moved from there to work in New Zealand, left NZ to travel South America with my husband, and I have now been living in Edinburgh about 2 years. I set up my own Osteopathic practice, which has been such a rewarding experience. I am currently undertaking further specialist study in Switzerland, in a 4 year course in Osteopathy for pediatrics, where a lot of my passion lies.
You are currently a practicing Osteopath, can you tell us a little about the work that you do?
I love my work, it doesn’t really feel like work. As an Osteopath I see such diversity. A lot of people think Osteopathy is “just bones” or for elderly people with osteoporosis, but we treat the whole body, every structure, and everyone is different. We see the same things you may go to see a chiropractor or physiotherapist for, or in some cases even your GP, but we work with Osteopathic principles. The body is a unit, it all works together, and it has self healing capabilities. People often ask if I get bored because I see a lot of people with back pain, but even if 5 people come in with the same problem, their bodies are different, how they got their pain is different and how I need to treat them is different. Plus I see such a diverse group of people – newborns, toddlers, teenagers, desk workers, sports people, pregnant women – and everyone is their own little puzzle that I need to help put the pieces back together!
Has it always been this type of work you wanted to get into or have there been or are there others?
When I was 13 years old I hurt my back playing basketball. It was bad, I could hardly walk with the pain. I saw a lot of people to try and get help – chiropractors, physios, Bowen therapists – but an Osteopath was the only person that could help me. From then there was nothing else I wanted to do. I wanted to help people like my Osteopath had helped me. And now, Osteopathy is a lifestyle to me, I love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
What are the obvious benefits in your opinion from this type of treatment?
Making people feel “normal” again!
I recently sore a baby, 3 weeks old. She was sleeping for no longer than an hour at a time, and screaming the rest of the time. The parents were exhausted and quite distraught they couldn’t enjoy their daughter. To be able to treat that baby so she could settle comfortably is a treatment for the whole family. And when I saw them again you can see the relief in their faces!
But for adults, I get to help people feel less pain, move better, sleep better, function better. The treatment is holistic and we are trained to look for the cause, not just treat symptoms. If you can get to the cause, you can eradicate the problem all together, or at least make a big difference. If someone has had headaches for 15 years, manipulating their neck may give them some relief for a few days, but by taking a history, on paper and with our hands, we might discover the headaches started after a heavy fall on their tailbone, which compressed the whole spine! So to get rid of the headaches, treat the cause, the tailbone!
What do you think when you talk to someone who is going to take on something major like 50 marathons?
First thought: Oh boy, this body is going to be a mess!! (which, surprisingly it wasn’t!!)
But honestly Mark, what an inspiration. An absolute pleasure to be able to help someone with such goals. As long as they look after themselves so their body can cope (hint!).
I was highly impressed with your ability to identify possible problems that I may have been having. It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to help people with their well being?
It’s amazing. It’s what makes me love my job. The body is an amazing thing, and to me it makes sense (most of the time). I will never know it all, but I’m going to spend my whole life trying! When someone comes in with low back pain, but the treatment also helps their period pain, or heartburn, or energy levels, that’s the stuff I love.
If you had to choose, what are the three things you would recommend to someone who does extreme events?
- 0. Quality rest. People don’t rest well in our society and this causes a lot of problems and keeps people from their peak. Training hard is obviously important, so is recovery. For the body and the mind. Rest.
- 1. Quality treatment – osteopathy / physiotherapy / massage. To catch the little niggles. A small strain with hours of training placed upon it soon becomes a big stress for the body to accommodate. A small low back niggle changes hip and knee mechanics and soon becomes a torn calf. Don’t ignore when your body is trying to tell you something, it is MUCH more intelligent than you or I.
- 2. Quality nutrition. See a professional, learn what your body thrives on and what makes it sluggish.
As a kid there were a lot of aussie rules footballers or Australian cricketers I would call my hero. Now… A lot of Osteopaths! The American Osteopath James Jealous (www.jamesjealous.com) has done so much for our profession and has worked hard to provide quality education for osteopaths all over the world.
Anything else that you would like to talk about?
I can talk about Osteopathy for hours so if anyone would like to get in touch please visit my website http://edinburghhealth.com
If you would like to know more about Jess and her work/company then visit her website. Jess is returning to Australia until March 2011 but her colleague Kate Oswell will be taking up her role in her absence. You can contact Kate on Katie@edinburghhealth.com or 07523284196