I was born and raised in Portsmouth, UK. After receiving my undergraduate degree from the Portsmouth School of Art, I moved to London to study for a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art. After graduating I worked as a photographer for a number of years and was in charge of a small photography gallery in Brixton, London. Unhappy with this direction I gave that up to train as a chef, working and learning in a Italian family run kitchen in Richmond. It was during this time that I experienced a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed as Bi Polar, something I have suffered from all my life but up until that point remained undiagnosed.
Whilst in recovery from this breakdown I was introduced to the benefits of massage and the positive effects it can have on the management and treatment of depressive disorders. I was told by doctors that because of this type of illness, returning to the kitchen would not be a good idea, so I devised a goal to train as a massage therapist with the aim of treating my own condition and to offer this therapy to other people suffering from depressive disorders. It was whilst training at St Mary’s that I became particularly interested in depression within the athletic community, an often unspoken of and rarely confronted condition within sport, and it was from this interest that my current focus has developed.
I believe that the muscular and psychological patterns an athlete learns during their training can effect the rigidity and function of their muscles and other soft tissue. The perception of these behavioural patterns – negative thought patterns – brought about by injury – or direct overuse, continue to affect the musculature of the body even after the physical or psychological restrictions have healed. The brain locks the rest of the body into a set way of perceiving movement. When negative emotions and muscular problems overwhelm the athlete they are likely to continue to tense a muscle or set of muscles to stem the flow of feeling. The problem the athlete faces is that a one-time muscular defence can lead to chronic tensions and depressive episodes that are then suppressed again and again.
It is this intricate relationship between an athlete’s psychological state and their physical performance that, I believe, begins to define an athlete and their performance. This distress directly affects and manifests within the evolving musculature of the athlete’s body. I aim within my practice, to not only act as an agent for consistent maintenance and rehabilitation of the athlete, but to also, address these problems of physical and psychological pain patterns. Which, through direct musculature work attempts to assist the release of the psychological component that put the athlete’s body in that pattern to begin with.
I believe that a worthwhile clinic must have a purpose to compliment its existence, not only the everyday purpose it was designed for, but beyond that, a practice must improve the quality of the field it belongs to and the athletic community it works for. This is why I also carry out an ongoing, sponsorship programme for athletes within the clinic to help with their training and to address the effects these emotional and physical pain patterns can have on their practice.
Massage should be seen as an essential part of any amateur or professional athlete’s physical and mental routine and not just an expensive luxury turned to in times of crisis and injury.