Once upon a time I had great posture. I walked tall, sat straight and contorted myself into a pretzel at yoga class without hesitation. Then two things happened: firstly, I had a baby, and the excess weight of toting a large bump around combined with slumping exhaustion from about 4pm each day contributed to a lower back ache that has never really abated. Secondly, I started to spend a lot more time in the company of my laptop, gradually rounding my shoulders and creating a fist-sized knot between my shoulder blades that no massage ever seems to cure. Now more of a breadstick than a pretzel, I’d ignored all the signs for long enough; it was high time to see a professional (preferably before I develop a full-blown hump!).
As I am both creaky of back and lazy of nature, the news that holistic medicine specialists IMI had just opened their doors in Discovery Bay ticked all my boxes. The location is perfect for Lantau mamas with no time to trek into town… mamas like me! However non-DB residents need not fear a ferry ride, as IMI also have a spectacular Central location that brings to mind a clinic crossed with a spa, conveniently placed on Stanley Street.
The new clinic is spacious, bright and situated on the waterfront at DB’s North Plaza, with the thoughtful addition of an outdoor kids’ play area meaning the littlies have something to do while mama sees her specialist. Stocking a wide range of health and nutritional supplements, and with a Homeopathic dispensary on site, this is a convenient place to stock up on your natural health essentials. The clinic offers a full range of services, including Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, Sports Therapy, Psychotherapy, Counselling, plus the reason for my visit that day – Osteopathy and Cranial-Sacral Therapy.
My appointment was with the very friendly, and highly trained Nathalie Tellier, one of IMI’s team of Osteopaths. With years of experience working in osteopathy and physical therapy (including for the Canadian National Short Track Speed Skating Team, and with Cirque Du Soleil in Macau!), I was confident that my spine was in safe hands, and her request that we complete the patient registration together was appreciated, as she was able to really drill down into the potential causes of my pain – both recent and historic. As we chatted, Nathalie explained that osteopathy isn’t all about cracking backs! She uses a combination of gentle manipulations to reposition the body and to help it begin to heal itself, and manual manipulation is just a small part of that process.
The treatment requires you to undress to your underwear for a closer inspection of your overall posture, which was less intimidating than I anticipated. With Nathalie immediately identifying all my sore spots (plus uncovering a few extra that I hadn’t previously known about), this was a helpful exercise in becoming more aware of my problem areas and the need to correct them. The session combined osteopathy and cranial-sacral therapy, which works on the spinal cord and fluid surrounding the brain to assist the body in its recovery, calming the nervous system and helping to restore normal movement. This sounds a bit scary, but is in fact extremely restful, with gentle movements to the head and neck. This therapy’s non-invasive nature makes it the ideal treatment for children, easing a wide range of conditions including reflux, colic and even breastfeeding issues.
Lying and chatting on Nathalie’s couch, there were times that I genuinely couldn’t feel anything more than a firm pressure on my body, and I’ll admit that my cynical side was preparing to be disappointed with the result – after all, Nathalie had identified some significant areas for concern (including the fact that one hip was actually sitting higher than the other due to poor alignment!). So I was pretty amazed that I could feel a difference immediately as I walked out of the treatment room, with the mid-point of my back feeling looser and lighter than it had done for a very long time.
Nathalie had warned me that I would most likely feel a little stiff for the next 24-48 hours, and I did, but the benefit to my range of movement was immediately apparent, and this was no more uncomfortable than the normal soreness you’d experience after a workout. Another – unexpected – benefit of the treatment was the amazing night’s sleep that I experienced that evening. This is also a pretty common side effect… and a very welcome one! I woke feeling refreshed, as opposed to seized-up, for the first time in a very long time…reason enough for me to want to go back as soon as possible!
If, like me, you’re stiff as a board, have a specific injury or just need a check up to make sure everything is aligned as it should be, I really can’t recommend a session with Nathalie enough. Even if you have no visible symptoms or pain, this is a really valuable therapy for the postnatal period – when your body is still adjusting to having shed a big bump and your centre of gravity is still in a state of flux – helping you to get back to your old body without fear of twinges and aches.
Nathalie divides her time between the Central and Discovery Bay clinics, and for more information on this or any other treatment, and for opening hours, contact IMI.
IMI Central Clinic 13/F & 17/F Kailey Tower, 16 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
2523 7121 www.imi.com.hk
IMI DB Clinic G-02, Office Block Two, North Plaza, Discovery Bay, Lantau, Hong Kong
2537 1087 www.imi.com.hk/…