Diet is one area that arouses passion and firm belief. I like to start at the other more basic end by asking some questions:

Do you have a regular bowel motion?

ideally once a day or more. We are told that bowel motions are dependent on fibre. Are they? A friend lives entirely on meat yet has reasonable bowel motions. Most fibre is either soluble or insoluble. Soluble includes pectin from fruit (especially dried fruit), linseed or flax (best eat it crushed), oatbran, the outer skin of oatgrain, beans, lentils. Soluble fibre clears out the bile duct and gall bladder.  Insoluble fibre builds up bulk in the stool. Wheat fibre or bran used to be popular. However it can lead to reduction in calcium and intake of other minerals. It can irritate the gut. It used to be given to horses until they realised that it caused colic. The diet of horses was switched to include linseed and the colic cleared up.  Bread is unfashionable but the way that the bread is baked is more likely to be an issue. Most of the soft, commercial bread from major bakers is made by the Chorley Wood process. The dough is whisked at high speed, cut into chunks and proven in less than an hour. Lower protein wheat can be used. The short time allows no time to break down the glutens or to reduce the phytic acid content. The result is soft bread or rolls that makes us bloated and uncomfortable. Sourdough or stone baked bread is slowly proven to give time for the dough to mature. It is an entirely different food to commercial breads.

Is your urine output a reasonable colour and not too smelly?

Instead of taking the endless advice about drinking more water have you ever tried measuring your output. Roughly speaking a 70 kg person would have a healthy 24 hour output of 1.5 litres. That means they are drinking enough. On a wilderness Canadian canoe trip I filtered all our water from the river or lakes. Our average intake for 8 young people (all 18 or over), myself and another older person, was 2.5 litres a day. We probably lost the rest through sweat or bowel motions.  Urine can turn strange colours like red with beetroot, green with taking B vitamin supplements, dark brown if blood is present. Ideally a light yellow, green is fine.

What are your energy levels and stamina like?

A diet high in carbohydrate and processed foods often leads to low energy levels. B vitamins help convert food into energy. They are found in brown rice, green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, sunflower seeds, nuts, eggs, cheese, some meats and mushrooms. Personally I think that human beings are amazingly adaptable. For instance prisoners of war in Burma lived on watery rice soup and a small fish if they were lucky. Many of them lived into their nineties. People who drink fizzy cola, who are on warfarin, even some vegans or pure meat eaters are susceptible to osteoporosis. The first signs of long term deficiency include teeth problems or easily cracked ribs. My own view is plenty of colours, plenty of variety and home cooked if possible. If you choose a radical diet be aware of the consequences. Unless you do your homework you are likely to suffer a deficiency in something. Our bodies need variety but our minds and feelings get fixated. If a radical diet has healed us we reason that it must heal everyone. It is hard to listen to a food campaigner lecturing about the dangers of lectins, or barbecued food, or carbs, or meat, how to save the planet by eating vegan, or vegetables and avoid milk or wheat. There is probably a grain of truth in m most diets but  our relationship with food is emotional. In most parts of the world indigenous people have no choice. Animals like goats, yaks, camels, reindeer, sheep, cows, seals or fish eat foods that human beings cannot digest because of the high cellulose or lectin content. They convert the indigestible foods into highly nutritious meat and milk that enable human survival.

Nothing is right or wrong but this is a typical breakfast. Porridge or muesli with full cream milk and yoghurt, cinnamon, black treacle, Guernsey butter, pomegranate, dried apricots (high in fibre and iron), tomatoes or olives, mango sourdough roll or bread and sometimes two gently fried eggs. My wife often wonders where I get my energy from. Breakfast is one answer.


Eat a variety of colours, eat soluble fibre, keep sugar intake low. A simplistic rule for sugar is to ask yourself, does this stuff stick to my teeth? if so it will probably rocket my blood sugar and might even make my red blood cells sticky. Honey, molasses and maple syrup don’t stick to your teeth so they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Learning from Children

Adults rarely come up with completely new thoughts. We have insights on old problems but most of what we think is shared by someone else somewhere in the world. Children are different. Their minds are making sense of the world around them. They tell stories in their own language and don’t worry whether the details have to be true. Walking with a 4 year old and 7 year old they told me that we all have an invisible bucket inside us. If we are kind to others and think of loving things to do we fill our buckets up with love. If we are unkind our buckets are empty. They stop to explore the world that they walk through. I am told that you can even see caterpillar pooh if you look hard enough.

Child in a meadow

Hiatus hernia

A hernia is a bulge. A hiatus is a break or gap. Hiatus hernia is a bulge of the top or your stomach through the diaphragm. The medical solution is to put you on drugs to make your stomach less acid or stop making acid. That treats the symptoms not the cause. The result of less stomach acid is to reduce effective digestion of proteins and fats. Low acid allows yeasts and moulds to enter your small intestine and lead to complications.

Your diaphragm is a big muscle that spreads under your ribs.  It helps you to draw air into your lungs by creating a small vacuum when you breathe in or take a breath. It also helps to digest your food by giving you a deep internal massage. Your lungs and heart live the same cavity above your diaphragm. Your stomach, kidneys, liver, spleen, gall bladder, small intestine and large intestine (colon) live below your diaphragm.

The obvious solution is to work on the strength of your diaphragm and find out which foods or drink aggravate you. Many people have said to me that apple cider vinegar really helps their digestion. In common with many fruits it contains malic acid that works with hydrochloric stomach acid to improve digestion. One lady switched to Amla (Amalaki) an Ayruvedic herb similar to gooseberry. It is meant to calm a Pitta personality. Instead it gave her severe heartburn. Gooseberries, along with rhubarb contain oxalic acid that taken over a period of time can lead to heartburn and gallstones.

Recent Feedback

Back pain from fall at work

“Thank you once again john
Im feeling a lot more comfortable and relaxed .
Very good at your job and very professional ”  Dax Meadows

Severe back pain

“Thank you John for your recent help.
I was suffering with severe back pain and called on John for advice, even though I did not have an appointment he asked me what symptons I was getting. When he started treating my back he explained in great detail what he was doing and what effect this would have.
My back is now better and would return to John for treatment again and would highly recommend John to anyone”  Alan Page


Some migraines are caused by dural tethering. The dura is one of membrane layers that protect the spinal nerves. Amanda (not her real name) came to see me with her mother. She had suffered from headaches since the age of three. They were diagnosed as migraines. I examined her head and whole spine including the pelvis, sacrum and area around the coccyx. Knowing her father I asked if she had ever taken part in Judo. Yes she had, when did she first try Judo? At the age of three. The coccyx and sacrum are still fusing at that age. Falling onto that area would cause the dura mater (tough mother), sheath around the spinal nerves to tighten. That would affect the tension of the membranes around the brain increasing the pressure. Hence the migraines. We had five or six sessions during which she would ask me to check the membranes. Her headaches cleared after twelve years.

Managing pain

We hope that if you have been to see me your level of pain will decrease. Pain is a message of dis-ease. My aim is to restore a degree of symmetry to your body and restore it to normal function.

It is very rare for someone to be in pain all their life. Think back to a time when you were not aware of this pain. What has changed? Was there an accident, a new habit or change of lifestyle that brought the pain back to you? Did you change medication or has the dose been changed? There is a physical, chemical and an emotional element to pain. Life takes its toll and we lose the symmetry in our body. We compensate by walking, standing or sitting differently. Crossing your legs is a way of compensating. Here are some suggestions:

Drink enough water

Herbal teas such as mint, or lemon,watermelon and other juicy fruits are rehydrating. Tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and alcohol are dehydrating. Look at your urine output, light clear is good. Dark cloudy needs more. Dark, brown – kidney problems. 1.5 litres a day for someone 70 kg in weight is about right.

Heat or Cold?

Heat helps muscle spasm but makes inflammation worse. A warm shower or hot bath eases aching muscles but red, swollen tender muscles become worse with heat. If you can finish off a warm bath or shower with a short burst of cold water.

Slow, persistent stretching

Always support yourself when you stretch. For instance lying on your back, legs in the air and knees bent rolling them side to side is guaranteed to make an aching back worse. Keep your feet on the ground if you twist, or go on all fours. Try placing a finger into a tender point, tense the muscle, count to three, then stretch a little further. Keep going until you reach the limit.

Eat fresh foods in season

Most fruits and vegetables can be grown in greenhouses. Eat them in season keeps you in peak health. Even nuts and seeds have a season. For instance Turkish fruits are mainly harvested from August to October. Figs, raisins, hazelnuts. European and Moldovan walnuts and almonds again are an Autumn crop. Look for puffy well sealed bags. They are flushed with nitrogen to keep out the oxygen. Oxygen, light and heat lead to free radicals and an off taste in nuts. Chinese walnuts are an earlier crop. They are not my favourite flavour. Before Christmas shops will sell off old stocks of fruit and nuts. Wait as late as possible roughly when the new crop Californian walnuts come into the shops is a good time to start looking at dried fruits.

Play positive games with Pain

The happy hormone serotonin, and the racy hormone adrenaline are good substitutes for pain. Play the game, “I am not in pain, the pain is in me. Is it pain, or is it stiffness? Can I stretch it out, breathe into it or focus elsewhere. Music, learning a language, being in your quiet, beautiful place are all safe places to go. When you stimulate your mind and spirit, your body and your emotions pain has to take fourth place. The body can only register three stimuli at once so pain has to take fourth place.

Look at your lifestyle

Young people get away with punishing their bodies and minds at least for a few years. Smoking, fast living, junk food, caffeine, alcohol all take their toll on the body. Many people don’t realise that smoking and marijuana wipe out your reflexes. They protect you from danger or sudden jolts to your body. Smoking leads to early severe arthritis and marijuana to short term memory loss and inability to concentrate. Pain might be teaching you to step back and examine your lifestyle. The things you once thought fighting for become less important. Living in the present is more important than thinking of the future. Ask yourself, Can I handle in future what I am taking on now?

Remember Pain will pass, be patient it will change for the better



Help with fertility treatment

I first came to john after many years of back pain after seeing
multiple professionals John was the first person to actually resolve
the level of pain I had been in.
During my treatments, I had fertility treatment (IVF),  John was able to
assist with extra therapies to help along side my IVF treatments.
John has always been very professional, informative, and knowledgeable
in what he is doing.

Felicity Gilbert

Gentle manipulation and massage

I was recommended John’s expertise by my PT. John came highly recommended and it didn’t take long to understand why, I do not hesitate to recommend him.
I had a car accident which prolapsed a disc in my lower back, I had used many chiropractors and seen various physiotherapists in the past but none had been able to resolve my injuries and ease the pain as efficiently as John. There is no bone crunching or pulling about, gentle manipulation and massage left me feeling relaxed; which in effect sped up the healing process. I know we all respond to treatments and methods differently but John cares about the patient and provides the treatment that they respond to best. I cannot thank John enough for helping me with my back and improving my posture. Highly recommended!

Sara Summers

Hip Replacement

Hip Replacement

“I was encouraged to seek John’s help after I had disappointing advice
from the hospital physio. I was due to go on a walking holiday with my
family in Derbyshire, 9 weeks after my hip replacement, and had a goal
of walking 4 miles with walking sticks. The physio said ‘impossible’!
After 3 visits to John, 5 new exercises, ‘realignment’, acupuncture,
and massage, he said ‘go for it’.
I went for it! We did walks of 3, 4, 5, 6.6 and finally 8.5 miles.
This last walk with an elevation of 1400 feet. I climbed stiles and
went down a flight of almost vertical stone steps descending 250
Without John’s encouragement I would not have been able to attempt it.
His a fabulous man and I would unconditionally recommend him
especially after a Total hip replacement.”

Anne Horn

Stiff neck and shoulders

I just wanted to say a big thank you to you John, for helping me with
my shoulder and neck injury over the last few years. You never fail to
relieve my pain & symptoms, especially this year when I committed to a
sequence of sessions with you. Money has never been better spent. Your
helpful and professional advice, along with a relaxed and friendly
atmosphere, have done wonders in progressing my recovery. I can’t
praise your skills and kindness enough, so thank you. I will be sure
to recommend your practice to all my friends and family, should they
ever need it. With all good wishes.

Emily King