“Managing the body has become crucial to the long-term ability of athletes to continue at their highest levels and in Edinburgh there lies a multi-faceted establishment that could just be the perfect place to stop by for help with any lingering injuries, as well as injury prevention.
Robbie Smith, Matt Holland and Ollie Jessop form a formidable triumvirate of sporting nous at their West End offices, specialising in osteopathy, running performance and personal training respectively. They have formed the concept FIXT (Functional Integrated Exercises Treatment) as a way to spread their considerable knowledge of the way in which the human body operates, with each professional able to harness their particular skill set for the good of the others.
Robbie, who operates Harmonic Osteopathy, explained a little further: “The osteopathy I perform is basically a rhythmic oscillation to encourage you to move passively; essentially making the brain realise and release stiffness’s, allowing freedom of movement upon which strength can be built. “But I felt that my work was only part of the solution and I needed an exercise specialist to complete the recovery process. That’s when I found Ollie, who is an excellent Personal Trainer.
A patient of mine was using him and so I got in touch and told him what I did and vice-versa. We came up with a way to work in conjunction, so I’d loosen patients off and he’d take over. “It’s exactly the same with Matt, who specialises in running as opposed to Ollie’s strength-based approach. Luckily, the three of us work really well together which is great because we’ve all come from different backgrounds. But we’ve all got the same mind-set about how best to treat people, be it professional athletes or those that just wish to be able to perform to their own personal best. The concept is very simple – maintain flexibility and coordination whilst building strength.”
Matt Holland explained a bit about his Improve My Running business: “Running is a skill and most of us have not been taught. Poor movement and running technique force the body to compensate. This increases injury risk and reduces performance. By using functional movement assessment and video analysis we can identify poor movement patterns (often caused due to historic injuries) before using our proven methodology to re-pattern the correct movement pattern and muscle firing sequence. This along with correct technique can reduce injury and re-injury and improve performance whatever your sport.
“We teach kids from 9 years old through to elite athletes helping them achieve their full potential, so you’re never too early or late to learn!”
Ollie Jessop, a master trainer for TRX, utilises the TRX suspension system to augment his Personal Training background. He believes this is the ideal rehab training system because you can maintain suppleness whilst building strength. Together they have created a three-pronged approach to sporting wellbeing that’s as enterprising as it is unique, with the ability to call on a wide spectrum of experience and know how in order to treat all manner of injuries, particularly in the rugby realm.”
The Scotsman Magazine, 30 July 2011 by Chitra Ramaswamy
“If a sedentary lifestyle has taken its toll, this holistic treatment could offer relief.
Life is that bit tougher when you have a sore back. And when I say sore back, what I really mean is sore neck, shoulder, hip, leg, foot… There’s nothing particularly shocking about my condition. I haven’t been in an accident, or just completed the Tour de France. But I do, like most of the population sit at a computer for many hours. And over the years, all the sedentary hours have taken their toll.
Osteopathy – as much a philosophy as a form of treatment is something I’ve tried before. A number of enthusiastic osteopaths have pounded my tight muscles over the years, producing a symphony of horrific cracking noises in my spine and joints.
Truth be told, nothing has worked beyond giving me a small amount of pain relief. But what Robbie Smith, a friendly and suitable strong osteopath, medical acupuncturist and ergonomic consultant who has just opened his own practice in Edinburgh, does is different. I like to think of it as osteopathy with extras.
When I arrive at the clinic on Grindlay Street we discuss my problems over green tea. Smith explains his system of harmonic osteopathy, which looks at the way the body functions holistically and aims to both relive pain and prevent further problems arising using a variety of techniques.
First of all, Smith looks at the way I stand and move. He can immediately see my right shoulder sloping forwards and that the right side of my body is neither moving properly nor with ease. It needs to be retrained to return to its original relaxed state. This is the aim of harmonic osteopathy: to retain the muscles and surrounding tissue (and- gulp – even the mind).
I lie on the treatment table, first on my sides, and then on my back. Smith deeply massages my tight muscles and rocks my body rhythmic, oscillatory movements while I try to concentrate on relaxing completely. The aim is to let him to do the work for me while I lie as limp as a rag doll. He wants to reintroduce the idea of movements that are difficult for me to my body and brain. It’s harder than it sounds. He also identifies key areas of tension (trigger points) and uses acupuncture “needling” to get to the muscle and relax it. Finally, he shows me a couple of yogic exercises to do on my own.
Afterwards I feel exhausted and soothed at one. The next day my muscles feel looser and I’m carrying myself differently. But perhaps most importantly I’m thinking differently. If you have on going muscular problems (or indeed joint or ligament pain), Smith’s harmonic osteopathy isn’t a magical solution that fixes you in a single treatment. What is? It’s worth going back a few times to get the full benefit. But what harmonic osteopathy does instantly is to reintroduce you to your bod, to why it does what it does, and to why it feels the way it does. And all of that without a single pop or crack. Result.”
The Scotsman Magazine in November 2008 by Gowri Rao.
“If you work at a desk for any length of time – so yes, I’m referring to pretty much the entire population here – chances are you need this treatment. I know I did, as someone who for years has had such severe tension in my upper back, shoulders, and neck that a massage therapist once asked me how long it had been since the car crash.
Falling somewhere between massage, osteopathy and a light workout, this treatment is ideal if you lead a stressfull life and feel tight and tired.
The affable therapist, Robbie, began by talking to me about my work, lifestyle, and specific sore spots. By lying me down and moving my arms, shoulders and neck into various positions, he showed me some unpalatable truths about my body. I’ve basically taught it, over many years to be the tense, stiff, awkward, unoiled machine that it is today. Once I was suitably mortified, Robbie set about making me chill.
It was suprisingly difficult to make myself go completely limp, as instructed, while he jiggled me about. The idea – based on scientific study of how the body works and learns to carry itself – is that if you relearn to relax, you will prevent tension-prone areas seizing up in the future. As someone who has tried osteopathy many times it was a relief to experience a softer, more neurological treatment that wasn’t all about manipulating joints and producing great cracks and pops, but rather focused on working on how the muscles had become tight in the first place.
After Robbie had finished with my right shoulder – from which most of my problems stem – I felt as though my left was sticking up awkwardly in comparison. For the first time in ages, my right shoulder was lying back, an inch lower than my left, fully supported by the mattress. Afterwards, I felt sleepy, as Robbie had predicted, and already I am thinking about my body differently. If only I had gone to see him five years ago.”