We’re proud to welcome our newest member of the PHP team Dr Annabelle Balharry. Annabelle is a passionate osteopath dedicated to patient-centred care. She utilises a range of osteopathic techniques, rehabilitation strategies, individualised care and patient education to help people understand and manage their concerns for the best long-term outcomes. Annabelle is also a professional contemporary dancer; she finds her dancing experience contributes to her knowledge base of osteopathic practices.
We asked Annabelle a few questions to help our community get to know the newest member of our team; her answers are below.
1. What is your favourite piece of health and wellness advice?
Keep it fresh and keep it moving! Eat fresh food, drink water, and move a little bit everyday as best as you can. Whether it’s walking to the shops, gardening, gentle stretching, going to the gym or doing yoga/Pilates, or training for a marathon, the benefits of getting moving are immense for body, mind, and spirit. Finding something you enjoy doing is important and something that gets you out into nature is even better.
2. What do you find most interesting and exciting about osteopathy?
Osteopathy is about the whole person. I love working with people and their bodies and health! It’s such a privilege and a joy. Osteopathy is a practice, an ongoing engagement and I continue to learn from every body that I meet, it is an endless teacher. Every day is different; working together with each patient to figure out their story, their needs and wants, and what’s going on in their body, and how we can best move them towards health through treatment, exercise, and lifestyle.
3. What are your favourite activities for keeping healthy?
For me, keeping healthy is about doing what makes me feel good, and luckily, what makes me feel good is keeping healthy! I am fortunate enough to be able to prioritise my health and do what I need to keep healthy. At the moment, I make sure I go to yoga, go for a run, and ride to work at least once a week – anything more is great. I find doing these things regularly is a great base for me physically and mentally – and I love doing them. I know eating well makes me feel good; of course, eating whatever I want also makes me feel good, but not if that’s what I’m doing all the time. Drinking water, going for walks, getting into nature, being social, and getting enough sleep are also key favourites of mine.
4. How did you come to be both an osteopath and a professional dancer?
Was it something you always wanted to do?
I always wanted to be a dancer. I started when I was around eight years old and went on to study at the VCA and dance professionally – and I still love it! Osteopathically, I have always had an interest in the body and its relationship to the world physically.
I had seen osteopaths and physiotherapists in my teens for back pain and dance injuries, but the first time I got to hold real human bones in an anatomy class at VCA, it blew my mind. It was this whole world I knew I was in awe of and, eventually, wanted to know all about. I wanted to keep learning, engaging, and asking questions. Until eventually, one morning I woke up and told myself that I was going to study osteopathy, and now I get to do both!
5. What makes you so passionate about patient care?
Our job is all about the people that walk in our door! Yes, it is also about continually making sure I have the best knowledge and skills to provide the best care I can within my limits and having a great referral team, but, in the end, the best outcome is a happy, healthy patient.
This comes about through good treatment but also requires transparent communication, education, and building informed patient autonomy. Helping the person to understand what’s going on with their body and why, how I can help, and how they can help themselves is key for the best long-term health outcomes – which is what we’re all about!