I know that for the average person it is quite hard to differentiate between a physio, an osteo, or a chiro. In theory we are all manual therapists and if you ask me we should have merged into one discipline, so that the patient could benefit from the full scope of our practice.
Because I am qualified in both physiotherapy and osteopathy I can see the advantages and the shortcomings of both disciplines and I can work my way around them to bring the best into my own approach.
Osteopathy is a fairly new field and it’s techniques and treatment modalities are heavily relying on palpation skills and a personal interpretation of the input we are getting from directly working with the patient. Some may argue that this approach is heavily subjective and that there is not a lot of evidence-based literature to support the claims. But considering that osteopaths spend hundreds if not thousands of hours assessing and feeling different body structures, it is fair to say that a degree of competence is achieved and the results are speaking for themselves. While with other therapies it may take a few weeks, if not months to see change, with osteopathy the effects are immediate.
As amazing as it might be, osteopathy does have some blind spots as well. And this is where physiotherapy and evidence-based exercise rehab comes into play.
Osteopathic treatment is great for restoring movement and allowing the body to re-align itself, removing structural blockages that otherwise would hinder the healing process. But if we are not working on strengthening our muscles to hold this new position into place, it will all go back to that dysfunctional pattern after a while. In order to achieve this support and have the best results with the rehab strategy I rely on the newest studies and the best evidence-based exercises that proved themselves to do the job. I know that in our busy lives people don’t have a lot of time, so by doing very specific, very precise exercises, we can maximize the efficiency of our work and achieve the results we want in a shorter period of time.
Q: You have a history of working with world-class athletes, who are your favourite (and most respected) ones to work with and why?
Working with professional athletes it’s unique experience. They strive to be the best and that pushes us to match their efforts in achieving the best outcome.
Coming from a tennis background, I kept the connections with the industry and was lucky enough to work with top Romanian players and coaches. I was also part of Pureform Clinic in Bromley, London supporting young British tennis players in their endeavour to participate and win ATP grand slams. It wouldn’t be fair to use their names in order to promote my work but let’s say that she was one of the youngest female players to win the US Open.
Here in SG I work with endurance athletes, triathlon and iron man competitors. Rugby is always a good source of patients so I regularly participate in supporting local teams or the 7s when they visit Singapore.
I also had the pleasure to work as the athletic trainer for the Singaporean American School, providing rehab solutions for all their teams during training and competitions.
Q: What are some of the issues you specialise in, and see most often here in Singapore? How can they be avoided?
If I would say Upper Crossed Syndrome or Lower Crossed Syndrome, would that mean anything to you? Probably not. It’s a fancy medical term for nasty postural changes related to poor work habits that started to manifest themselves as pain or discomfort around the neck, back, hips, etc. The body is simply not designed to be kept in a seated, hunched forward position for hours and hours without any actions meant to rebalance it.
If left unattended these modifications could lead to more severe conditions such as headaches, TMJ problems, digestive issues, restriction or limitation with specific activities.
It is advised to seek assistance from a musculo-skeletal specialist (osteo/physio) before embarking on any sort of strengthening / fitness routine. The reason being that without proper guidance these activities might aggravate even more the initial presentation, making things worse.
The osteopathic manipulative treatment will help you restore normal movement and allow the posture to be corrected, while the physiotherapy / rehab exercises will ensure this new (normal) position is maintained by strong healthy muscles.
Q: What are some fantastic lifestyle hacks you can share with our SEW community?
Start with a good, solid base!
Imagine you want to build this skyscraper of health and fitness, would you start by laying the scaffolding on a shaky, weak foundation?
Same reasoning applies to your body. You need to work first on creating stability, learn to fire the right muscles in the right sequence, avoid any compensation patterns. This might be harder to do when there are structural impediments or faulty synergies. Seeing an osteopath / physio might put you on the right track and allow you to develop that strong foundation.
Building strength in a smart, gradual way is not only goanna help you look great and perform better. Studies show that “lifting heavy stuff,” made the gene expression of aging mitochondria appear to be significantly younger. Yes, you read that right: when it comes to mitochondria, strength training reversed nearly forty years of aging!
And if you are thinking to also lose some weight in the process, research has shown that exercising before breakfast, particularly in a fasted state, is a potent strategy for controlling weight. So 15 to 20 min of light aerobic exercises on an empty stomach will make your metabolism burn more efficiently the energy you’ve consumed later in the day.
Q: Lastly, is there a message you would like to share with our community?
Listen to your body. Take a minute to be aware and see what it has to tell you.
Sometimes it could be a simple message of wanting to move to stretch to breathe, other times could be a whole symphony of feelings.
If it’s too much to process or it seems too confusing, bring your story to me. I am here to help you decipher these deeper messages and find a solution.
About Paul Cristian
Paul Cristian is Singapore’s only therapist who is certified in both osteopathy and physiotherapy. He holds a Master’s degree in Osteopathy from the prestigious University College of Osteopathy in London and is a registered practitioner in both the United Kingdom and France. He also has a medical acupuncture certification from the British Medical Acupuncture Society.
Paul has over ten years of experience in boutique and international multidisciplinary practices, having worked in London, Paris, and Singapore. His treatments are a collaborative experience that combines osteopathic manual therapy with scientific evidence-based rehabilitation programs, drawing on both lineages of knowledge to provide a beautiful, in-depth, and holistic treatment.
About City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy
City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy is a one-stop clinic which provides a comprehensive solution for your pain. Our expert team provides manual hands-on therapy and corrective exercises to help you move better and feel better.
3 Locations in Singapore