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Avalon news and views

Encouraging the young to take care of their health

I think most parents would agree that the pressure on our children nowadays is quite different to what we experienced in our own school years. The demands of coursework, homework, P.E and extracurricular activities can put a lot of strain on a body that is still growing and developing.

One of the main things I’ve learnt whilst working in a specialist Children’s Osteopathic Centre in London, is that children and adolescents are not simply small adults. Although teenagers can be emotionally mature beyond their years, physically, their hormonal, muscular and skeletal systems are still developing. One of the things we try to do as Osteopaths is to balance the forces on the growing skeleton in the hope that when they reach adulthood, their bodies are in the optimum condition.

Recently I’ve worked with a teenager whose sporting schedule amounted to 20-25 hours of training and matches a week, on top their normal academic work. This required an impressive amount of dedication and we used this passion to achieve our goal. My approach with children and adolescents is for treatment intervention to be minimal but to educate and give advice, in this case we produced a personalised stretching routine, and encouraged sufficient rest time to aid recovery.

This approach allows them to take charge of their own health and hopefully they get to appreciate taking care of their body at an early age. I feel this is important as I meet many adults who wish they’d looked after themselves better when they were younger.

If you and your children would like to find out more about how osteopathy can help, we offer free consultations

Posted 04-05-18

1st Anniversay

On the 1st September we’ll be celebrating our first anniversary of opening. We cannot believe how fast this year has gone but more importantly, we’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received.   So we’d like to take this opportunity in thanking all our patients, past and present for their commitment to us. We have treated patients from 4 weeks old to those in their late 80’s and have certainly exceeded our expectations for the year – thank you!!

We’ve also enjoyed getting to know our wider community through Stefan’s talks on ‘What is Osteopathy?’ He’s had the pleasure of presenting to many social groups and organisations within the valley and looks forward to more in the autumn. Stefan also qualified as a DSE Assessor and was able to help a few businesses to reassess their work station set ups, providing a healthier and more ergonomic environment.    

So, looking ahead, we’ll be announcing some very exciting news about the use of our second treatment room very soon and, alongside giving more talks on Osteopathy, we’ll be playing host to a local artist during the Arts Trail in October, whose work was inspired by osteopathic treatment.

So, if you’d like to book a FREE 15 minute consultation to find out whether Osteopathic treatment is for you, book an appointment, find out about booking a talk for your social group or would like to book a DSE Assessment for your business please get in touch.

Posted 09-09-16

Testimonial from a horse rider

When I first met RH she was experiencing almost constant pain at the base of her spine which was making riding and other everyday activities uncomfortable. On examination, her thoracic spine (mid back) was relatively flat and stiff and her lumbar spine (low back) had an exaggerated curvature. In the ideal spine, the whole consists of 4 curves which interact with each other and are structured to each take their share of the load. When riding, the forward movement of the horse is translated into the rider moving up and down so the spine has to absorb a lot of compression (downwards pressure). In the case of RH, as her mid back was not very flexible, too much of this force was being absorbed at the base of her spine and had caused irritation.

Over the course of a few months, with treatment and a few simple exercises, the mid back softened and began to move more freely and the pressure was relieved on the lower back. Other areas that came to light and were addressed were: very tight quadriceps (muscles at the front of the thigh), adductors (muscles in the inside of the thigh, used to grip the horse) and a slight rotation in the pelvis. These were possibly subconscious attempts to limit the forces transmitted to the spine.

The effects of all this treatment were that RH was now riding with her whole body working as a unit and could tolerate long rides (currently up to 80km) with few ill effects. Also as we addressed the pelvic rotation RH became more evenly balanced on her horse. RH’s equine physio also noticed that her horse’s musculature was more even on the shoulders where it had previously been asymmetric.

From the point of view of an osteopath, this is an incredibly satisfying outcome which partly stems from identifying the correct issues and removing barriers to their natural healing process, but also from the engagement of the patient. RH was highly motivated to get better; she was always willing to do any exercises and we were able to time treatment to have maximum effect and still fit in her longer rides.

Posted 16-10-15

What is the difference between an Osteopath and a Chiropractor?

The truth of the matter is that osteopaths and chiropractors share many techniques of treatment and differ mainly in their philosophy of diagnosis and their view of the human body.

According to the strict interpretation of their philosophy, an osteopath will view your body as a whole and see your problem in the context of your life and a chiropractor will generally relate things back to your spine.

In reality, both disciplines will rarely see things this simply and there will be some crossover in the way most practitioners treat patients.

Most practitioners will have been in a position where they could have trained in either discipline, will have had the qualifications to study medicine, but they have made their choice based on what philosophy seems most effective to them.

A better question to ask is what makes a good practitioner for you and your problem?

A good practitioner will always:

  • Take a thorough case history to get to know you, fully explore your issue and collect any relevant medical information.
  • Perform a comprehensive examination, discuss your diagnosis, treatment goals, options and (where possible and appropriate at this stage) inform you of the likely number of treatments you will need.
  • Give you effective and appropriate treatment.
  • Give you advice and support with any lifestyle changes you may feel it helpful to address.
  • Regularly reassess and modify the treatment plan to adapt to your changing situation.
  • Be prepared to discuss with you possible referral to another practitioner or discipline if you are not achieving your desired goals.
  • Be available at a place and time convenient to you.

If you can find someone who fulfils these criteria, that you feel you can enter into a trusting, therapeutic partnership, then you have probably found someone that will work well for you regardless of their title.

My personal approach is to work in way that treats at times focally, at times globally and constantly reassesses the whole patient but that progresses treatment at a pace where the body can absorb the changes and give the body time to react and then adapt.

Posted 24-08-15

Open evening - Wednesday 16th of September

The following article is from the Chew Valley Gazette 

Ease your suffering with classical and cranial osteopathy

Modern life is not always very kind to our bodies: long hours spent at a desk or in the car, the general strains involved in manual work when working to endlessly tight schedules, our addiction to our phones - all these habits can store up problems for the future .. and we do not always help ourselves by ignoring some pain when it first comes hoping it will just magically go away.

Yet as we all know constant pain and niggling discomfort day after day is very debilitating. Osteopathy offers a gentle way to help relieve pain and stiffness without the need for medication or invasive surgery … and from September 1 there will be a new osteopathic practice in the valley: Avalon Osteopathic Clinic at Westway Farm in Bishop Sutton.

Stefan Zurakowski practises classical and cranial osteopathy - a holistic system of musculo-skeletal healthcare offering physical solutions to physical problems, focussing on total body health by treating and strengthening every joint and muscle group at every appointment, the treatment being adapted as necessary. In a nutshell he explains "I assess what has gone wrong, how we will work together to what will make it better and what behavioural changes are necessary to minimise the risk of the same problem reoccurring".

Like many healthcare practitioners, Stefan's interest in osteopathy began when it relieved a longstanding back problem he suffered from when working as a BBC engineer. Realising his interest was transferring from “how to make ‘things’ perform at maximum efficiency, to how to help the body operate to it’s fullest potentialat maximum performance” he then undertook the five years training to qualify as an osteopath. He practised for one year in London before he and his wife Jane moved with their son Josef to Stanton Drew eighteen months ago. He has recently been practising locally at Chew Valley Therapies but is now setting up his own clinic focussing on classical and cranial osteopathy and will be offering free 15 minute consultations where he can discuss your issues and how osteopathy may help you. when he can start to assess the problem and explain what he can do to help.

The gentle practice of cranial osteopathy is very suitable for babies, so Stefan is able to treat patients from birth onwards. He also offers office assessment sessions where he can come to your place of work and advise on how to minimise injuries caused by poor posture at a desk – correct height and angle of chair, wrist pads for keyboard or mouse for example.

Stefan and Jane (who will be the clinic's practice manager) are keen to make the experience of visiting the clinic as easy as possible so are delighted to be able to offer plenty of free parking and flexible appointment times. Everyone will be welcome at the clinic’s Open Evening on Wednesday September 16th  6pm to 8pm. 


Everyone will be welcome at the clinic’s Open Evening on Wednesday September 16th  6pm to 8pm 

Posted 21-08-15


Bishop Sutton

  Monday: 8am-12pm   Tuesday: 8am-4pm   Wednesday: CLOSED   

Thursday: 8am-6pm   Friday: 8am-12pm


  Monday: 1:30pm-5:30pm   Friday: 1:30pm-5:30pm

Mid-week evenings and weekend mornings are available by appointment only

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01275 268001

Avalon Osteopathic Clinic, Unit 2, Westway Farm, Bishop Sutton, Somerset, BS39 5XP