While some of the team at Eyre Place are relatively new, others have been here much longer, and have had the opportunity to help the practice grow and thrive over the years. Ailis Buchanan has now been in Eyre Place for around ten years, and knows the local area well, having gone to a primary school just down the road. However, her osteopathic career goes beyond Edinburgh. She studied osteopathy in London, and then returned to Scotland, first to St Andrews, and then back to Edinburgh.
Ailis came to osteopathy with a strong sporting background. She did dance, competitive gymnastics, played hockey, has recently started open water swimming, and would love to improve her surfing. Ailis worked as a gym instructor, personal trainer, and sports massage therapist before studying osteopathy. This experience, along with her postgraduate training in Pilates, Craniosacral Osteopathy, Medical Acupuncture and Kinesio Taping means she is ideally placed to treat and support patients with sporting injuries.
During her time at Eyre Place, Ailis has learnt a lot from her patients. One important lesson is never to assume anything. Listening to patients’ stories is essential before making any judgements. She can often identify where a patient’s pain is by the way they walk into the treatment room or sit down in a chair. She confirms this through assessment and has learnt from experience whether this is pain from an old or a new injury.
Posture is a critical part of rehabilitation, and Ailis coaches and treats her patients using Pilates-based exercise and philosophy. Through example, demonstration and practice she aims to re-educate the patients’ awareness of their best functional body position.
This might involve sessions with half an hour of treatment and half an hour of exercise instruction. Importantly, she works with each patient on what they want to achieve before starting treatment and discusses with them how they want to achieve it.
An ideal day for Ailis is knowing that she is helping people get better, that they understand what they can do to prevent something getting worse, and that they are able to manage their symptoms. For example, one patient recently said to Ailis, on having an acute back pain episode that they asked themselves ‘what would Ailis tell me to do if she was here?’ and then went on to describe the techniques and exercises they did do and managed to get back to playing their sport.
For Ailis, a patient-centred approach is essential to osteopathy. While patients might present with similar injuries or issues, their needs and treatments are always individual and specific to them. For her, osteopathy involves listening to stories, understanding what people want from treatment, providing an emotional shoulder to cry on, getting people back to the activities they love, supporting recovery from pain in a way that lasts, and getting people better for the long term.
During the pandemic, Ailis has been treating many patients that have been working from home, rather than their workplace. She sees people that are stiff and sore because they haven’t walked or moved from their desks all day. For some patients working at home alone, their osteopath may be the only direct human contact they have in the day. As a chatty, enthusiastic person, Ailis has provided a friendly face as well as experienced, professional care. For Ailis, making people feel better, both physically and mentally, is a powerful thing.
Eyre Place is twenty-one years old this year. For Ailis, this reflects that the practice has staying power, that it is getting it right both for the practitioners and the patients. It is a great place to work, providing flexible hours, as well as being a centre of Continuing Professional Development.
When Ailis isn’t at work, she spends time with her children, and swims in the sea. During lockdown, she bought a wetsuit and is now a regular swimmer at Wardie Bay.
Ailis currently works four days a week at Eyre Place. You can book an appointment here.