Sarah Oliver Osteopathy, 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) 07708 130 319 (Fulham)

10 Times of Day to Stretch

Exercising and stretching at home is an important part of the treatment process which really speeds up your recovery time.  They are also useful for staying mobile and pain free between check ups.  No one is too busy to spend a few minutes a day stretching.


10 times of day to stretch

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Here are 10 times of day you can fit in a stretch or two:

1. Before you get out of bed

2. In the shower

3.  After your shower

4.  When you go to the loo

5.  While you wait for your bus or train

6. Waiting for the kettle to boil

7. At your desk

8. During your lunch break

9. In front of the TV, during ad breaks

10. When you get into bed

That’s just for starters; there are hundreds more  times to squeeze stretching into your routine.  So no more excuses please ;)


And here are some suggested stretches:

Seated Stretches

Seated Glutes Stretch

Knee Hugs

Neck Stretch

Shoulder Blade Pinches

Face Stretch


Standing Stretches

Shoulder Blade Pinches

Neck Stretch

Face Stretch

Shoulder Pendulum

Hamstring Stretch

Quads stretch


Laying Down Stretches

Knee Hugs

Mid back stretch

Spinal twist

Stretches for Crafters – Your Cheat-Sheet for Preventing Neck and Back Ache

Last week I talked about the 7 postural sins committed by crafters.  Today I’m sharing a stretching routine designed to help undo all those bad habits.

90 second stretching routine for crafters, sewists, knitters

1. Shrug your shoulders.  Gently roll your shoulders backwards a few times, then forwards a few times.


2. Sideways neck stretch.  Hold your hands behind your back.  Pull your left hand towards your right hip.  Allow your right ear to drop down to your right shoulder.  You should feel a stretch over the left side of your neck.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.


3. Back of your neck stretch. Place your hands on the back of your head with your elbows out to the side.  Gently pull your chin down towards your chest.  Hold for 10 seconds.


4.  Chest stretch.  Place your hands on your hips.  Keeping your spine upright, pull your elbows backwards.  You should feel a stretch at the front of you shoulders.  Hold for 10 seconds.


5. Spinal twist.  Cross your right leg over your left knee.  Hold it there with your left hand.  Turn your shoulders to the right and look over your right shoulder.  Hold for 5 seconds.  Keep your back upright while you do this!  Repeat on the other side.


6. Forearms.  Press the palm of your hand onto you chair.  Turn your arm so that your thumb is on the outside and your fingers are pointing towards you.  Lean back a little to stretch your forearm, keeping your palms flat.  Hold for 10 seconds. You can do both sides at the same time.


7.  Stretch your face.  Open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can.  Say ‘AH!’


8. Shake.  Shake your arms for a few seconds and shrug your shoulders again.


You’re done!  You should now feel refreshed and relaxed.



Keep breathing normally while you exercise. Do not hold your breath.

Move gently and slowly. Exercises should not hurt.

If an exercise becomes painful, stop immediately and seek advice from your therapist.

Only perform stretches which have been prescribed or approved by a qualified individual such as your GP, physiotherapist or osteopath.  This information is provided for reference only.

*If you suffer with back pain and would like professional osteopathic treatment, call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*

Seven Posture Sins of Crafters and Designer Makers

Do you enjoy knitting, sewing, crochet, paper cutting or other crafts? Do you suffer from headaches, a stiff neck and shoulders or aching in your arms and hands?  The two could well be connected!  Recently I’ve treated lots of crafters suffering with aches and pains and they all seem to be making the same mistakes.  Fortunately, these are mostly easy to fix so there’s no need to suffer for your art.


How many of these posture sins do you commit?


1. Working for hours without a break

I know, I know, you’re concentrating on what you’re doing and lose track of time.  I get it.  But all that concentration is damaging your body!

Your muscles need to move.  Keep them in the same place for hours on end and they become fatigued and achy.  Constant repetitive actions also tire your muscles.

So please, take a 2 minute break every 45-60 minutes.  Try listening to a playlist or podcast while you work and get up when it ends.


posture sins of knitters

Photo Credit: Eila Hadssen via Compfight cc

2. Working in the dark

This is even more of a problem in gloomy winter evenings.  Are you having to squint to see your work?  Or lean forwards to get closed to it? This kind of posture puts a lot of pressure on your neck and shoulders, not to mention the small muscles around your eyes.

Turn on the lights.  Get an extra lamp if you need to.  Make sure the bulbs are bright enough!


Posture sins of sewists

Photo Credit: *Leanda via Compfight cc

3. Sitting with poor posture

It is very easy to slip into poor posture when you’re working.  Watch out for:

– Leaning forwards, peering to look at your work.

– Slouching in your chair.

– Curling your legs up underneath you or leaning to one side.

If you’re sitting awkwardly it is probably time for a break, but you should also make sure that your chair is comfortable.  You should be able to easily lean into the back of the chair and rest your feet on the floor (or on a foot rest).  If you’re working at a table or desk your chair should fit underneath so you’re close to your work.


How knitting hurts your neck - and how to stop it

Photo Credit: elitatt via Compfight cc

4. Clenching your hands

You don’t need to grip your tools very hard.  That will overwork the delicate muscles in your hands and forearm.  This becomes even more of a problem if you avoid breaks!

Try to hold your work, knitting needles, crochet hook etc lightly, keeping your hands and wrists soft and relaxed.  Gently shake your hands and wrists every hour.


7 Posture Sins of Crochet

Photo Credit: moonrat42 via Compfight cc

5. Resting your head on your hand

This is a very common pose when we’re bored or thinking.  It puts a lot of pressure through your jaw and wrist.

Change position if you find yourself doing this, and remember to get up and take a break.


Poor posture when Paper Cutting causes Pain

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6. Carrying heavy bags

Do you find yourself out and about with a hand bag, 2 tote bags and another bag of shopping, all absolutely stuffed and weighing you down?  I see this all the time.  There seems to be something about creative types; you just love carrying around bits and bobs!  I hate to break it to you but you just don’t need spare shoes, a litre of water, 2 cameras and a laptop just to go for coffee.

Leave some of it at home!  For things you really do need, choose a suitable bag.  Back packs are best, but if that’s not gonna happen at least have the weight distributed evenly across both shoulders.  Try and keep weight close to you too, keep the straps on your bag nice and short.


Maintain good posture when dressmaking

Photo Credit: zizzybaloobah via Compfight cc

7. Lifting with bad technique

Another very common issue here.  You bend to pick up your sewing machine, move a pile of unfinished projects or rummage through your wool stash and feel your back ‘go’.  Ouch!

Check out my post on lifting technique, and avoid bending and twisting your back.


How many were you guilty of?  Did I miss any?   Check back next week for a handy stretching routine, specially made for crafters.


*If you suffer with back pain and would like professional osteopathic treatment, call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Fulham).*

Christmas Opening Hours and Gift Vouchers

The Christmas holidays and new year can be a great time to get the treatment you need.  So if you’ve been too busy to come in and see me, this could be your chance!


My clinic days over Christmas are:

Mon 22nd Dec – Ashlins 12-6pm

Weds 24th Dec – Ashlins 11-3pm

Thurs 25th Dec- OFF (Usually at Wellbeing Therapy Clinic)

Sat 27th Dec – OFF

Mon 29th Dec – Ashlins 12-6pm

Weds 31st Dec – OFF (Usually at Ashlins)

Thurs 1st Jan – OFF (Usually at Wellbeing Therapy Clinic)

Monday 5th Jan – Ashlins 12-6pm

Back to my normal hours after that; Mondays 12-6pm, Wednesdays 3-9pm, alternate Saturdays 10-1 at Ashlins and Thursdays 10-5pm at Wellbeing Therapy Clinic.

For those of you needing weekend appointments I will be at Ashlins on Saturdays 29th Nov and 13th December.  I am taking Saturday 27th off and will be back on Saturday 10th Jan.

To book please call me on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or  07708 130 319 (Hammersmith)

Gift Vouchers

Ashlins Natural Health Gift Voucher

Christmas gift vouchers are available at any value and for any therapy at Ashlins Natural Health.  Every £10 spent on gift vouchers earns you an entry into the prize draw, where you could win a 1 hour massage.   I can highly recommend them as gifts for friend and family, and they are equally nice to receive!

Pop into Ashlins at 181 Hoe Street, Walthamstow to buy yours.

Weekend Reads, November – Bacteria, Texting and Peanut Butter

December is nearly upon us so here’s my round up of reads and news from November.


Do you know what 200 calories of peanut butter looks like?

Kissing can transfer up to 80 million bacteria!

What does texting do to your spine?  Tilting your head forwards by 60 degrees place 60lbs of pressure on your neck – the same weight as an adult aardvark!

10 work outs in under 10 minutes.

Here’s a short article explaining how osteopathy can help with knee pain.

And to finish off, here’s a cat doing a turtle impression:




What I’ve Been Up To

I thought you might enjoy hearing what I’ve actually been doing in addition to what I’ve been reading.  So without sounding too self-absorbed, here’s what my month has looked like.

I’ve been on a couple of lovely trips this month.  Firstly at the end of October my other half and I went to Boston for a friend’s wedding.  We had a great time exploring the city and eating plenty of burgers.  I don’t think it is as ‘British’ as the locals seem to believe though.

Autumn leaves in New England

Autumn leaves in New England


The wedding was at The Liberty Hotel which used to be a jail.  Looks pretty cool, right?

The wedding was at The Liberty Hotel which used to be a jail. Looks pretty cool, right?

I squeezed a weekend trip to Cordoba in Spain in too.  It wasn’t exactly hot but it was lovely to get some sunshine.  Cordoba is perfect for just strolling around, eating great food and taking in the sights.  We invested €40 in watching some Spanish football.  Sadly Corodoba CF are not very good….

Inside Cordoba's Mezquita

Inside Cordoba’s Mezquita


Part of the Alcazar

Part of the Alcazar


Also this month I attended a 1 day course on Emmett Technique, a Craftivist Collective workshop on wellbeing, went to bonfire night at Blackhorse Workshop, tested the new Nandos in Walthamstow, visited East London Cheese Board and obviously was busy in clinic.

What have you done this month?



Emmett Technique – Have you Tried It?

Have you heard of Emmett Technique?  I came across it last month at CAMexpo and was intrigued by its promise of gentle, easy muscle releases.


Emmett Technique (Emm-Tech) uses a sequence of ‘holds'; finger tip pressure on to certain spots, and ‘switches'; flicking across areas of muscle, to release tension and reduce pain.  They are usually performed 3 times in a row.  The area is the retested to look for the desired change, which is ‘locked in’ with gentle movements.


Emmett Technique


It was invented in the 1980s by Ross Emmett, an Australian with a very interesting story.  His career includes time spent working in a mine, 5  years working in animal research and 30 years as a remedial therapist.  He is qualified in techniques including NLP, Bowen technique and massage.  During his work as a massage therapist he came across these ‘points’ which seem to be particularly effective.  Through a process of trial and error he refined the technique.  News of his work started to spread across Australia and New Zealand, and then on to the rest of the world.  Emm Tech was first taught in the UK in 2007.  All qualified practitioners in the UK are registered with Emmett-UK and trained on a course devised by Ross himself.


Emm-Tech is used in conjunction with other manual therapies, with exercise such as pilates, and as a stand alone therapy.

I decided that I’d like to find out more, and with two of my Ashlins colleagues signed up to a 1 day taster course.  Our tutor, Hayley, is a pilates teacher and Emmett practitioner.  She took us through a series of 11 releases, clearly explaining how to test before and after each move and how to accurately execute the techniques.


I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how effective Emm Tech seems to be.  We could certainly see and feel a difference after each technique, and it was relatively easy to pick up.  I’m not qualified as an Emm Tech practitioner so I won’t be using it at work just yet.  I do plan to test it on friends and family though, as I’m interested to find out how long the effects last and how they complement my usual osteopathic techniques.


Anyone can do the 1 day taster course.

There’s more information about the technique on Emmett UK’s website:


If you’re suffering with aches and pains, I already know plenty of techniques to help! Give me a call on 020 8520 5268 (Walthamstow) or 07708 130 319 (Hammersmith).