Osteopathy and dance. It’s Friday 4 pm, my friends and I meet at the old-school bar/restaurant Colbar to drink a few bevvies carefully avoiding British and American current affairs. Contemplating the now, burying our heads in ice-cold drinks purposefully rejecting the foggy, fuzzy, icky future.
Second cider arrives at the table, feeling bubbly and witty, ready to extend my tet-a-tet, I reach for my ice-cold Somerset cider when abruptly and uninvited my left shoulder started to spasm, punishing my neck and back. My end of the week blowout was cut short, and Friday fun was over.
In the next few minutes, I noticed my movement flow decreasing and my shoulder wanting to freeze up to the top of my head while I unsuccessfully searched for a pleasant position on a chair. Mission failed – satisfaction and fun vanished for the following 24 hours.
Increasingly I was feeling older, and out of touch with my body. Not understanding why from all the things I do on my 20-hour training per week which involves spending a reasonable amount of time upside down walking on my hands, lifting other dancers and improvising with prime fitness people. A perfect cider on a Friday afternoon ruins me. How did a sunny and fun Friday afternoon result in a shoulder injury whilst having a drink with my friends?
It’s a recurrent incident. It has been happening on and off for the last five years and I never really understood how this happens. After consulting with numerous physiotherapists, doctors, sports specialists and osteopaths my frustration grew intensively to an all new level of annoyance and resentment.
It was humiliating, to say the least, for myself and the Uber driver when he saw me firstly trying to crawl inside his car and later climbing over the front seat – explaining that I could only lie on my left side with my feet up. The pain grew overnight, keeping me awake all of Friday night resting on my left side nursed by a sculpture of 4 pillows, one duvet and a considerable distance from my partner – wrecking my Saturday morning plans of breakfast followed by a swim.
Instead, I got an osteopathy appointment with Adam Wong at Orchard Health Clinic. In the act of desperation, I explained rather abruptly at the beginning of my session that he was the fourth person I had seen for this cyclical problem in the last few years. This far no one was able to give me a rational and enlightened clarification to this strikingly agonising and unfortunate recurring episode.
Adam Wong took me back in time, 16 years precisely, to a time when I use to visit the excellent osteopath of the Portuguese national ballet company. After an extensive assessment of my immovable body, gentle soft tissue massage with the occasional manipulation of my left and right shoulders, I finally became aware of the cause of my obstacles. Alas, a permanent solution was quickly found.
Full range movement and flow finally came back to my dancer body as the pain dematerialized and I managed to kiss both my shoulders once again. After 16 years of training, teaching, dancing and observing other people dancing, I neglected myself, my training and my ageing body. A full update on my routine exercises was brainstormed with Adam, tailored for my activities and challenges leading me again to find pleasure with movement – dance.
I learned from a different practitioner, invaluable advice on how to look after myself; retraining at 32 living in this new body with respect, intelligence and guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced osteopath.
Osteopathy goes hand in hand with dance. The latter an art form and the former a practice looking holistically at the body, it’s ongoing growth, advancement and hurdles that come from moving and standing on our feet for sixteen hours a day.
When I was sixteen years old and studying new circus, I met Acácia Garcia Coyac. An incredible osteopath who did understand the fundamental imbalances of my skeleton combined with intense 6 hours daily training in acrobatics and trapeze work. Somewhere on my travels across the globe, touring dance performances I forgot about the importance of looking after myself, paying attention to this beautiful and ever evolving human body with diligent thoughtfulness. Thankfully Adam Wong made me aware again – changing the way I take care of myself; osteopathy and dance go hand in hand.