Therapy Focus

Andrew Bryant shares 19 years as an osteopath at Notting Hill

“One of [TLC]‘s strengths has always been to be accepting of whoever walks through the door—billionaire, film star, mum with three kids or the regular Joe,” the popular osteopath recounts.

When did you first join The Life Centre?
I first joined TLC in 2005 after practicing in several other centres in London and Bath, having graduated in 2001. When I returned from a year in Bath I was starting afresh and The Life Centre was also only a year or two old.

What did you treat in then?
The Centre was quite different then, budding and new. The layout was different too, with a tiny cramped reception area and three treatment rooms on the top floor where the Loft is now.

What was it like at the centre back then? What kind of clients, do they differ from the ones today? What kind of atmosphere?
I remember the great excitement in starting a new practice at TLC, albeit with a tiny four-hour slot with no patients. A practice takes time to build and for some months I would sit in my room for four hours and perhaps see one person. I would try to make myself seem as busy as possible of course and spend my time imagining my diary bursting full of patients coming to see me. Gradually over the following few years I expanded my time and for quite a few years I practiced at TLC four days/week.

Notting Hill was very different back then too. Many of the grand houses were still chopped up into flats and there were streets and areas which today have been restored and made into houses again which were pretty rough and in some cases squats or drug dens. Now of course, those same houses and streets have been re-gentrified and Notting Hill is no longer the poor relation of Kensington, as more wealth and investment has transformed the streets and shopping areas.

TLC has managed to ride all those changes and cater for the changing demographic of the local population and one of its strengths has always been to be accepting of whoever walks through the door—billionaire, film star, mum with three kids or the regular Joe. We have seen them all and treat them all the same. I can remember doing treatments with the help of a translator in Japanese, Serbian, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, plus of course all of the usual European languages. I have treated deaf people for whom I have had to write out every question and explanation and have them write their answers back to me and blind people who often have a greatly heightened sense of touch and of their bodies.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during your time at TLC?
There have been many funny and sometimes embarrassing moments, many of which have to remain confidential. I will never forget the completely drunk businessman who fell asleep in the waiting area, couldn’t string a sentence together in my room, snored all the way through his treatment and then rolled off the treatment table onto the floor. I walked him out to the street and he was none the wiser. And there was the large extended family of uncles and aunties and cousins who all turned up without appointments one morning and wanted to see me and when it was explained that I was full up and couldn’t see them they decided to just sit in the waiting room all day and wait. Our waiting room can fit two people and there were five of them and I just couldn’t get them to grasp the appointment system. Like a mug I saw them at the end of the day and they went away happy.

Do you have any clients that have been coming to you for the whole time you were treating with us?
My oldest patient is currently 88 and going strong, my youngest is just a few days old. Some people I have known for almost 20 years and I have treated and watched whole families grow and the continuity is something which people value in today’s society.

What makes your job worthwhile for you?
Being in a busy practice and centre like TLC is always rewarding and interesting thanks to the variety of people and the kind of problems they bring in. I enjoy helping them to find a way forward, solve their physical issues, change their lifestyle, see life differently and take better care of themselves. Some people just want a quick fix, some people want to create lasting change. Of course the latter make much more interesting and committed patients and so go on to create more and deeper lasting change for themselves.

I’ve worked a lot with mums and babies, mainly for fairly straightforward birth trauma related problems which respond very well and on occasion I have worked with children with quite severe physical disabilities. To be able to help someone with a disabling handicap and to see them begin to take their first steps into a new life can be one of the most rewarding and thrilling moments in practice, moments I will never forget and which make it all worthwhile.

What do you think of the future of TLC or treatment spaces in general?

I think the future of TLC and established centres like it is to offer that kind of stable point of continuity where people can come and take exercise, be treated and mix with like minded individuals in an atmosphere of trust and support. I’ve seen The Life Centre provide that for almost 20 years and I think in the future people will need that support and proactive health care approach more and more.

The Life Centre is embedded in the fabric of Notting Hill and Kensington and has gone from being that slightly odd place up that funny little street where they do strange things to become a mainstay and focal point for the best in Complementary health care, Yoga and Pilates and there it will stay for many years to come.

Andrew Bryant has been treating at The Life Centre Notting Hill for 19 years. He offers Cranial Osteopathy, Osteopathy and Children’s Consultations. Browse our Therapy Schedule for appointment times and request an appointment online.

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