Elisabeth McGirl spends most days treating people's pain and injuries. As an osteopath and sports massage therapist, she opened Sports Health Pro Clinic at Tottenham Hale nearly three years ago. Rachel Ho caught up with her to find out more.
Photo supplied: Elisabeth McGirl, founder of Sports Health Pro Clinic
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?
I grew up in the Midlands. My father runs a business and my mother is an educational psychologist.
Describe your relationship to Tottenham.
I moved here around 3 years ago and set up the clinic shortly after. My sister and cousin also live here. I love Tottenham. I've lived in London for 9 years and it can feel so vast and impersonal at times. Walking through Tottenham is a nice reminder you can live in a big city and still have that small community feel.
How did you get into doing osteopathy and massage therapy?
My undergraduate degree was in Sports Medicine and initially I thought I wanted to go on to study medicine. By the time I graduated I already had a sense that medicine wasn't going to be the right fit but couldn't quite pin down the career path for me.
I discovered osteopathy after a friend mentioned she had been going for treatment regularly since she was a child. She encouraged me to look into studying Osteopathy. I had no idea what an Osteopath was or what they did. After a bit of research I knew I'd found what I'd been looking for. I've been qualified for four years now and love it!
Osteopathy has a lovely philosophy behind it and it allows me to offer flexibility in my approach to my patients. I think it is important to be able to tailor treatment to the person in front of you. Osteopaths treat a range of musculoskeletal issues and although most people associate us with back pain we treat anywhere on the body. Osteopathy is suitable for any age - my youngest patient at the moment is 8 and my oldest is 83. My days are always so different - its impossible to get bored.
I worked as a Sports Massage Therapist while I was training as an Osteopath. It gave me an appreciation of different therapies and what they can offer.
Tell us about Sports Health Pro Clinic.
Sports Health Pro Clinic is based within the Gym Group Tottenham Hale. We offer Osteopathy, Exercise Rehab and Massage.
The clinic is open to everyone - you don't need to be a member of the gym and you don't need to have a sports injury!
I wanted the clinic to be somewhere people could come and speak with friendly and engaged therapists.
Injury is a frustrating time for anyone regardless of age, occupation or goals. The aim is to reassure, inform and most importantly involve our patients in their treatment and management to try get the best possible outcomes.
Photo supplied: Sports Health Pro Clinic
There is strong emphasis on prevention within the clinic. As much as we love seeing our patients we want you to feel confident managing your symptoms beyond your sessions. This might be some exercises or lifestyle modifications.
Earlier this year Alexandrine Bernard joined me in the clinic. She is a Soft Tissue Therapist and brings a wealth of experience with her. This means we can now offer a wider range of treatment options including Sports, Remedial and Pregnancy Massage. What advice do you have for women experiencing pain or injury and not sure what to do?
Women can be spinning so many plates - home life, job, social commitments, it is really easy to prioritise others before yourself. Maintaining a state of good health and wellbeing requires striking a balance between your body and external demands of your daily life.
I think the best advice I could give would be to seek a professional opinion for your pain or injury - don't keep pushing it further and further down the 'to do' list. It is much easier to manage symptoms within the first 3 months. After that it can sometimes take a bit longer to settle down.
Photo supplied: Sports Health Pro Clinic
People choose to see an osteopath for a variety of reasons. This might include acute or chronic back pain, neck pain, nerve related pain, tendon or ligament injury, pain from arthritis, headaches and sports injuries.
At Sports Health Pro Clinic we offer free 15 minute consultations if you aren't sure where to start. Its an opportunity to meet us and chat through the problems you are experiencing. We can then sign-post you to the most suitable therapy to help manage your symptoms. That might be Osteopathy with me or Soft Tissue Therapy with Alexandrine. It could also be that you need to see another professional such as your GP.
As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?
I haven't had any negative experiences personally or professionally related to being a woman in Tottenham.
Photo supplied: Elisabeth McGirl
I've found there is a supportive network of small business owners who are always willing to share their experience and knowledge or offer some words of encouragement.
I think people who aren't familiar with the area still have a negative perception of Tottenham - I'd like that to change. The area has so much to offer!
Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?
Its so hard to pick one...I love walking by the canal and climbing at Stronghold.
Find more information about Sports Health Pro Clinic: www.sportshealth.pro.