It's a 'gift' to be able to stop people's pain

NO GRIND: Nigel Stainton in his element.
NO GRIND: Nigel Stainton in his element.

There hasn't been a day in nearly two decades that Nigel Stainton didn't want to go to work.

The Glendowie man has been practising osteopathy in Mt Eden for more than 16 years.

"It's not a grind at all, it's a joy. I recently saw a patient who's working through lots and lots of pain and he told me the next day it's the calmest he has ever felt. What a gift to be able to help someone like that."

Stainton says the profession came to him out of the blue when he was in training to become a professional athlete in the United Kingdom. He was 20 when the idea hit him.

"I was practising javelin and all of a sudden I said to myself out loud, ‘I'm going to stop messing around as an athlete and become an osteopath'. I'd never even thought of it."

At 33 he was studying at the European College of Osteopathy.

He had already been to the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympics and was ranked 11th in the UK for javelin.

He never gave the sport up and for the last five years Stainton has been ranked in the top five worldwide for the 50 to 54 age group. His experiences as a top athlete have helped him in his work.

"I could never see the body as fundamentally separate to the mind. It all comes back to being an athlete. When you realise that Olympic weightlifting is one of the most mental sports in the world, it's just incredible."

Osteopathy is based on the idea that wellbeing depends on bones, muscles and connective tissues working together in unison.

The holistic approach to healthcare started back in the 1870s and was revolutionary in the medical world, Stainton says.

Alternative medicine was not a foreign concept to Stainton after living with an acupuncturist and watching his brother become a herbalist. "What some people call alternative medicine was just mainstream for me from the start. Once I started my training I never looked back really."

He treats everything from the common cold to sprained ankles and chronic back pain. A lot of the niggles come from people being overworked and not taking time to de-stress, he says.

"People are self-healing but they need the right environment. Most people have stopped going for a walk in nature or truly relaxing because they are all tied up thinking ‘do more'.

"If they were athletes you would say they were overtrained but people just get over-lived, really. The athletics teaches you to do more and then you rest and recover, otherwise you burn out."

East And Bays Courier