I hear stories everyday – stories of people’s pain, their health and glimpses into their lives. As an osteopath, people tell me about themselves (in confidence of course), and I feel incredibly privileged to listen. People’s stories are important, and will usually inform to some extent the type of osteopathic treatment I give them.
If like me you are interested in people and their journeys, you might be interested to hear about how I ended up as an osteopath.
I haven’t always been an osteopath. I used to work at The Guardian newspaper. But one day, everything changed. I was cycling to work, and fell off my bike. The next thing I knew, I was being taken by ambulance to A&E. Throughout that morning, I was treated by a paramedic, a nurse, various doctors and a radiologist. The care I received was fantastic and in a haze of codeine and disorientation from the knock to my head, I started to reflect on what I was doing in my life. While most of my days were spent behind a desk, these skilled practitioners were using their hands and brains to help people from all walks of life achieve better health.
In the weeks that followed, I stayed at home while my head healed and continued to reflect on my life. I decided to look into different therapy-based careers, and spoke to as many people as I could who had experience in this sector.
I finally settled on osteopathy. I liked that it involved working one-to-one with people, problem-solving, treating causes not just symptoms and took a holistic approach whilst being grounded in scientific foundations. I didn’t want to be tied to a hospital setting and liked the idea of working for myself.
In retrospect, I think I had come full circle. There had been a strong health theme running through my childhood. My Dad is a doctor and Mum was a nurse. In the ’80s they set up a health food shop, where the best childhood treats were fig bars and apple rings! I was always the weird one bringing in homemade wholemeal bread sandwiches to school (‘yuk’ then, ‘yum’ now).
Later, Mum was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, so I spent my childhood surrounded by carers, doctors, physiotherapists both at home and in various hospitals. I witnessed what good holistic healthcare could achieve, and the damage that disjointed care could do to a person’s health and wellbeing. I also learnt to appreciate what a gift good health is, and how we should follow our dreams and ambitions while we can.
But, back to the present… Almost a decade on, and I love being an osteopath. Every day is different, and hopefully I make a positive difference to people’s lives. I hope you enjoyed my story!
Emma Lipson is Principal Osteopath at Feel Better Osteopathy in Warwick, Warwickshire.
Over To You…
Did I mention that I love stories?! I would love to hear about any big changes you have made in your life or career and what the trigger was for you. Feel free to comment below.