Shoulder Stretch – ‘The Elephant’

This is a very nice stretch for the early stages of frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injury and other shoulder problems.  It stretches the back of the shoulder joint.

The Elephant shoulder stretch

1. Sit or stand upright.

2. Cross your ‘bad’ arm in front of your body.

3. Bend your other arm around the first arm’s elbow as shown above.

4. Use your good arm to bring the stiff arm closer to your body.

5. You should feel a stretch across the back of your shoulder.

6. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

- Keep breathing normally while you stretch. Do not hold your breath.
- Stretch gently and slowly. You should be able to feel a stretching sensation but it should not hurt.
- If a stretch 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.

Weekend Reads: July – Swimming, Feeling Fabulous and Andy Murray

Piriformis Stretch Cartoon


1. 5 reasons to take up swimming

2. 10 ways to feel more fabulous in 10 seconds.

3. Heart disease and diabetes can shorten your life by up to a decade.

4. Andy Murray received some osteopathywhile playing at Wimbledon.

5. Depression damages part of the brain – but the change is reversible!


What I’ve Been Up To

Outside of work I seem to have been mostly going for walks on the marshes and eating ice cream!


We went to visit a friend in Copenhagen for the weekend and had a great time!  I expected it to be a ‘nice’ city  but it was much lovelier than I imagined.  We also took a day trip to Malmo and Lund in Sweden, which are a short train ride away.

copenhagan sunset

Nyhavn, Copenhagan


This weekend I am off to IndieTracks festival to enjoy ales, indie music and steam trains.  I’ll be back at work on Wednesday at 3pm.


What have you done this month?

Habitbull: App Review

Every month I’m testing a health and fitness app so you don’t have to.  This month I’m reviewing Habitbull which helps you develop good habits by keeping track of what you do.

HabitBull App Review

App Name: HabitBull

Platform: Android (Google Play)

Cost: Free on Android

Size: Varies with device

Tested on: Google Nexus 5 running Android 5.0 (Lollipop)

What they say:

“Habits are no more than routines which you perform subconsciously. To build one – train yourself. To break one, find another one which is similar, yet different and nicer, and repeat it until it sticks.
To assist you with this HabitBull lets you set reminders for each habit and displays them on days when you need to be successful. This is especially useful if you have a to do list with repeating tasks or if you want to be reminded to do the same thing every day. It can also be used as a calendar planning tool or checklist, but also as a very effective repeating reminder (e.g. to drink water every 2 hours).”



What I say:



+ Reminders help you stick to new habits and record them.

+ Visual representation of successful days is very encouraging!

+  Colour coding each habit makes it easy to keep track of your progress

+ Very flexible – you can pretty much set this to record anything.

HabitBull App Review


– I couldn’t get it to link up with Google Fit so had to put in my number of steps manually.

– Too many options when setting up a new habit.  It’s a bit confusing at first.




The bottom line: 

Once you get started this is a handy app.  It’s been helping me stay on top of my emails and Spanish practice, but sadly I need to try a bit harder to relax every day.  They say it takes 21 days to make a new habit. Give it a go for 3 weeks and see how you get on.

Download it from Google Play.

Weekend Reads: June. Walking, Halloumi and J-shaped Spines

June is one of my favourite months; the days are long, the weather is warm(ish), the festival season begins and I celebrate my birthday.   While I’m sad to see the end of June, I’m looking forward to July.

Here’s my round up of this month’s health news and an update on what I’ve been up to.


Health benefits of walking

1. An interesting read, even if I’m not totally convinced: Why Indigenous Cultures Don’t Have Back Pain 

2. Dehydration isn’t causing your muscle cramps

3. Would you try any of these 12 bizarre beds?

4. Love the sound of this Halloumi and lentil salad

5. The Guardian brings us 5 exercises for good posture.



What I’ve Been Up To

The real highlight of this month was a 6 day break in Dubrovnik.  It is such a beautiful and historic part of the world – definitely comes highly recommended by me!


A view of the sunset from Dubrovnik’s cable car:

Sunset view from Dubrovnik Cable Car


View over Dubrovnik



The beautifully clear Adriatic sea.
Very clear Adriatic Sea



Boat on one of the Elaphite Islands


We hosted an E17 Art Trail exhibition at Ashlins which was a lot of fun.
E17 Art Trail 2015 at Ashlins
Had a nice walk along the canal from Hertford to St Margarets where we met this duck and her ducklings.
Duck and Duckling


What have you done this month?

Festival Pain Prevention – Essential Stretches iPhone Wallpaper

Are you going to any festivals this summer?  All that walking, standing, camping and carrying heavy bags can quickly lead to neck and back pain.


Don’t let it ruin your weekend! I’ve put together a short routine of essential festival stretches to keep you fit and pain free.  You don’t need any special equipment or clothing, just space to lie down and 3 minutes a day.


Save the image as your phone wallpaper so you always have it to hand!

Festival stretches for pain prevention - iphone wallpaper


Download full size (640 x 1136 px)  With Text | Images Only



– Do not stretch to the point of pain.  Discomfort during stretching is to be expected but it should not hurt!

– Move slowly and gently when you stretch. Don’t rush.

– Don’t ‘bounce’ during a stretch.

– Perform 2-3 times a day for best results.

– Seek professional advice if you are suffering with back or neck pain.


p.s.  how to deal with a bad back at festivals

No Appointments Weds 17th and Friday 19th June

Just a quick note to say that there’ll be no appointments with me available on Weds 17th and Friday 19th June.  I’m taking some time off for a little holiday over my birthday.

I will be back on Monday 22nd June, and Ashlins will be open as usual.  You can ring to make an appointment on 020 8520 5268.