Local resident Julia Empey’s new osteopathy clinic on Roman Road is already doing a galloping trade with dogs, horses and humans alike.
Empey is a long time local resident but her Globe Osteopathy Clinic is a very recent addition to the Roman Road: she opened a treatment room in Massingham’s Chemist store in the summer of 2018 and was still waiting for her street sign to arrive when Roman Road LDN spoke to her.
Unusually for an osteopath, as well as treating human patients in her Globe Town clinic, she is also qualified to treat animal patients in their owner’s homes, specialising in treating dogs (usually in London) and horses (usually from her other business premises in Suffolk on Sundays and Mondays).
Empey is a warm and friendly person who knows East London very well: her parents moved here with her in 1999 and her father still lives around the corner. Her father was the Medical Director of Barts and the Royal London NHS Trust, and her mother was a nurse – ‘I have the healthcare gene’.
She came to osteopathy after a long time working in the wine trade. ‘Wine’s a great hobby but not as a job – I needed a career change’.
Her eureka moment – which made her choose osteopathy, which requires many years of training – was when her beloved family collie dog was having severe leg problems. The dog was twelve years old and they were told surgery would be too dangerous for her. The vet essentially said there was nothing they could do.
However, an osteopath started treating her and helped her recover successfully – she was soon leaping about again and lived to the ripe old age (for a collie) of sixteen.
Empey looked into osteopathy and soon saw she could have a fulfilling second career after a lot of training. In order to qualify as an animal osteopath, she needed to train in human osteopathy first, which took her five years studying for a degree while working part-time.
She gained her Masters Degree in Osteopathy (from the London School of Osteopathy) in 2015. After another two years of study, she gained her Post-Graduate Certificate in animal osteopathy in 2017.
As someone who has dyspraxia and dyslexia, this was quite an undertaking, but her college was very supportive, allowing her to have extra time during exams. She also recorded lectures, which she found very helpful.
In many ways, Empey told me, the type of learning difficulties she has ended up being helpful to her in her chosen career. She is very good at lateral thinking, and a good communicator, whether it is verbal or non-verbal communication. ‘It has no direct impact on the job’.
Osteopathy is a patient centred, hands-on approach to health care with a strong manual component. It is not an ‘alternative’ health care choice: it has gained allied healthcare professional status. ‘We don’t just treat backs: I call it heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ she explains.
People can self-refer to see an osteopath, they do not need to come via their GP. Pets, however, must have veterinary consent before any manual therapy treatment and she will only treat them at home – so don’t turn up at Globe Osteopathy Clinic with your dog, however well-behaved he or she is. She provides a form on her website for vets to fill in.
She sees lots of shoulder problems, but other common issues are muscle strain, rotator cuff injuries and osteoarthritis. ‘Osteopathy is very popular with older people – it’s the power of touch’.
It’s very important for a patient to have a good relationship with their practitioner, she says. The advantage an osteopath also has is that they can take the time to listen to their patients and carry out a detailed examination, offer a diagnosis and aftercare.
Asked which are the best patients, animals or humans, she says that horses and dogs are very good patients and can be easier to treat than humans. She enjoys treating them in a home environment because they are more relaxed and says that horses, in particular, respond very well to manual therapy.
What does she like best about running a business on Roman Road? ‘Flexibility!’. She loves being able to choose her own hours and managing her time herself, and she also loves the diversity and the way local businesses support each other. ‘Although Roman Road has changed a lot in the last twenty years, it’s always been a friendly place’.
For those wondering why the clinic is so-called – it takes its name from Roman Road’s historic quarter of Globe Town.
Globe Osteopathy Clinic
197-199 Roman Road
Phone : 07707 662 710