I am a Coru registered Physical Therapist & ‘Anatomy in Motion’ Practitioner whose approach and practice is probably different from what you’re used to.
I see the things in your body that have been overlooked, untreated and ignored and by working with the body, reveal a way back to your true essence.
I offer a bespoke service, and help you to move better so that you can free yourself from pain, increase performance and promote long term health.
IT IS MY MISSION TO EMPOWER YOU TO TAKE OWNERSHIP AND FIND YOUR TRUTH. I WANT TO PROVIDE YOU WITH CHOICE, AND TO CREATE LASTING CHANGE.
Long term change is the goal, because moving you away from unnecessary surgeries, from spending thousands on multiple types of treatment week in week out matters. You moving forward towards where you want to be, free from pain, confident in your body and spending your money on the things you love and enjoy matters.
I am on a personal quest of self discovery; studying the human body, particularly in relation to our health and mastery of our movement potential.
I've dedicated my life to this quest and I am honored that I get to share what I have learnt and continue to learn and grow from the people I work with.
Movement is a powerful tool that can facilitate change in people's lives. But, it took me many years to realise this.
“FOOTBALL, BLOODY HELL”
I didn’t always move the way I do now.
Until I was about 30 I had a body that felt like it was bound in chains.
I grew up playing football (soccer) on the streets of Dublin. My love of football started at a very young age, I was obsessed with Ryan Giggs. I was a sprinter and a left winger just like Giggs and had dreams of playing for Manchester United.
At the age of 12, I had ‘osgood schlatters’ on my left knee. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a bony bump on the shinbone just below the knee. Mine was the size of a golf ball and brought with it the start of my knee problems. (I still have the lump, but it’s a lot smaller now, doesn’t cause me pain and is more of a party piece nowadays.)
Back then however, my knee would swell up for no reason and I would be out of action for weeks at a time. I spent many evenings in the physio office of our local football team Bohemians FC (Bohs) with a mix of knee problems, and repeated hamstring tears; always on my left side.
I remember thinking “why me?”
It was so sore that I couldn’t kneel down, in fact, I avoided kneeling all together and used to kneel only on my right knee and hold my left knee hovering off the ground.
As the years progressed I was stuck in a repeated cycle: Left knee swells > out of action > crutches > back to football (even though I was in pain) > sprain my ankle > out of action > crutches…
Frustrated, and desperate I’d go back to football training. (even though I probably wasn’t ready) and tear a hamstring. Find myself back on the crutches.
On and on, an endless and painful cycle.
Always on my left side.
I was known for my left foot, my speed, a dribbler, and at the age of 14 could somehow kick a football 70 mph (we actually had it tested).
SURGERY AND DISAPPOINTMENT
But my dreams of professional football were not to be. I had my first knee operation at 17 and from there things started to get even worse. Instead of “Well done great game”, it was “ah it’s your knee, again.”
I spent more time on the bench than on the field.
It was frustrating. I couldn't bear to sit on the sidelines watching my friends play. I felt alone. I didn’t want to watch people doing the thing I loved, but couldn’t do.
Eventually, I gave up football in my early 20’s due to injuries.
At the time, spending my life in and out of hospital and physio offices just didn’t feel worth it.
Looking back now, I can see that choice cost me a piece of my identity.
A DIFFERENT WORLD VIEW
My teenage identity was all about football and without it I was kind of lost.
Straight from school I qualified as an electrician. Then headed off to Australia to experience the university of life.
On Christmas Day 2007, I met my (now) other half Noeleen.
The other side of the world, on Coogee beach in Sydney. I met a beautiful Irish gal.
Noleen is deaf and a native Irish sign language user. She became one of my biggest inspirations, not because she was deaf but because she had this incredible drive; determined to do what she wanted, when she wanted. I love that about her.
I began to learn Irish sign language; a visual language. I learnt to listen all over again, this time with my eyes.
I loved it.
Back home in Ireland, I completed my first degree in Trinity College as an interpreter. The training was intense. It heavily focused on simultaneous interpretation which meant our brains were primed to hear what a person is really saying, find the meaning and then translate this into sign language. These listening skills made it so easy for me to understand a persons story.
It made me realise, I’d never really listened to what my body was saying.
BACK TO THE BODY
I was inspired to return to my passion. I wanted to feel free in my body.
But it wasn’t plain sailing. I ended up having an ACL operation on my left knee and then later an arthroscopy on my right knee.
That operation was the last straw for me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted answers and was I sick of going round in circles.
In search of the truth I became a personal trainer.
I have this stand-out memory where as part of my training I was in a room with a concrete floor and part of the movement involved kneeling down.
I didn’t do it. I found a work around.
But I felt like such a fraud: A personal trainer is supposed to be teaching exercise and movement yet I was afraid to kneel down and tried to hide it from everyone else in the room.
It dawned on me that it had been 14 years since my left knee had properly touched the ground. (Weird how we can so easily forget these things.)
I’d tried many therapies but I never really got the change I wanted.
Now though I was determined to find the truth so I became a human guinea pig. I was desperate. You name it I tried it: I slept on the floor for a month to see if it would help with my back pain.
I tied bands around my hips and squashed my muscles with barbells in the hope they would soften so I could move easier.
At one stage I even tried shouting at my knees.
When you’re desperate you’ll try anything.
Eventually, I realised I was going round in circles.
I felt like I had tried everything.
One day, I asked myself: “What have I overlooked?”
When you’ve tried everything, the only thing you haven’t done, is nothing.
So, I stopped everything. I even stopped going to the gym.
I started to listen to my body. It might sound simple but I learnt to stand and just do nothing, no control, no tensing of muscles, just stand, letting gravity take the weight of my body.
I began to feel heaviness in my bones and a softening in my musculature.
This felt different. Intrigued, I dug deeper.
I learnt to breathe with my diaphragm, the way we are designed to breath.
The muscles of my back relaxed and gave me some space.
I changed how I perceived my body. I stopped blaming ‘it’. My body is me, I am my body. I stopped blaming it and treating my body like it was a separate entity. I took ownership.
I started to study the nervous system and the neuroscience of pain, the more I understood and the more I asked my body for help the more I got back in return.
For the first time in about a year of trying I could hold myself in a handstand against the wall and not feel like someone was sticking a knife in my back.
The handstand to me was a representation of freedom in my body, full ownership, me taking back control. It felt empowering doing something I used to think was impossible for the average person. I wanted to master it.
I wanted more, I knew I needed to help myself first, before I could help others so I signed up to do my second degree in Physical Therapy.
FROM SITTING IN THE STANDS TO HANDSTANDS
From May 2015 to May 2016 I completed 365 handstands all over the country (and some abroad).
One handstand a day in a different location for 365 days.
This photo is of day 27/365 and became one of the most known handstands.
As a result of this photo I was interviewed by ‘Lovin Dublin’ multiple times.
Such a great marker and a wonderful memory for me of just how far I have come.
IGNORED - THE HUMAN FOOT - THE FORGOTTEN BODY PART
In 2015, I attended “Anatomy in Motion” taught by my mentor Gary Ward. Gary was the first person who ever explained to me how the human foot moves.
In particular, he explained how the 26 bones of the foot have a requirement to move and how these bones interact with the shin bones and how much of an influence this has on the knee, then the hip, pelvis, spine, skull etc. The whole body is connected.
It might seem obvious, but I distinctly remember smiling from ear to ear knowing I’d found the answer I’d been looking for.
I was the answer. I already had everything I needed.
This accelerated the change in my body so fast, literally making changes to my posture and how it moved in a matter of minutes.
Anatomy in Motion transformed my practice and how I work with people.
What I love so much about Anatomy in Motion is that it is not a type of technique, it is not a treatment style.
Anatomy in Motion is a thought process, a way of looking at the human body, a way of understanding how all the bits work, how they move together, how they integrate together and how to assess it.
In the words of Gary Ward ‘it shouldn’t even have a name’.
To excel using the principles of Anatomy in Motion , self discovery and engagement in a process of assessing ones own body is a must.
A UNIQUE JOURNEY
My whole journey; from the Osgood Schlatters, through learning sign language, studying personal training, Anatomy in Motion and my degree in physical therapy has given me a huge advantage when looking at people in pain.
My ability to read body language is so enhanced that it literally takes me seconds to see someone is carrying more weight in one leg than the other and I can’t help wonder why, what happened in that person’s history that is making them stand and move the way they do.
But my advanced understanding of anatomy and my unique style of treatment means that people often leave my practice feeling freer, lighter, taller and more empowered knowing their body is also capable of amazing change.
These days you’ll find me either at my practice working as a guide and interpreter with people who are ready to try another way.
Helping empower people to take ownership, and find their truth so that they too can feel freedom in their bodies.
You’ll find me outdoors, with bare feet, travelling, climbing, reading, handstanding and having a laugh with friends and family.