Joanna Ruddick – Osteopath and health enthusiast!

Joanna Ruddick is a registered osteopath and fellow of the Sutherland Cranial College of osteopathy. She practices and is a director of Summertown Clinic, Oxford.

“I love my job!”

Happy osteopath describes why she loves her job
In one day I can see a newly born baby and a 101 year old (that happened last week), treating conditions ranging from reflux, sciatica, to teeth grinding, and headaches….the variety is incredible, and all bodies are different! Most people think of osteopaths treating backs and bones, but there is so much more…..Osteopathy is actually a whole system of medicine which looks at the individual as a whole. Osteopaths are interested in movement – life and health depend on motion, we look for hypo and hyper mobility, on a large scale (mobility in joints, limbs), to a very small scale (cellular level – all cells need circulation and drainage for good nutrition). Thankfully every individual has an inherent self-healing mechanism, so it is always trying to attain health – but in some people it is flagging, possibly overwhelmed by stress, exhaustion, various medications, posture, food intolerances, mechanical dysfunctions. The osteopath’s role is to find a way to aid this self-healing mechanism.

Treating Babies and Children

What excites me most at the moment, in my clinic, is treating babies and children. There has been a recent influx of children with behavioural difficulties – difficulty concentrating, dyspraxia, night wetting, panic attacks (children seem very stressed at the moment!), and lots of babies with colic and reflux. Its so rewarding when babies and children improve as it affects the whole family so much. Paediatric osteopathy is the fastest growing area of osteopathy, and is offering hope where doctors and medication possibly are unable to.

Very gentle cranial osteopathic techniques are usually used in the treatment of babies or children. A small amount of movement exists in a baby’s skull which allows it to adapt to the forces of labour. When birth is complicated by being too slow or fast, or when interventions such as forceps are required, the baby’s head may not fully recover from the distortion. This may result in subtle changes in function leading to problems such as feeding problems, colic, sleeping difficulties. Specific gentle very light pressure is applied where necessary to enable the self-healing ability of the body to release these birth strains.

Picture of the Ruddick's outside the clinicSummertown clinic is a family practice in Summertown, Oxford. My mother and father (both osteopaths) set it up 40 years ago, and now it is still run by them, as well as myself, my brother and his wife (both osteopaths too!). We are very proud to have won the CAM best clinic of the year award this year. The clinic offers many different therapies – osteopathy, massage, McTimoney chiropractors, homeopathy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, the Alexander technique, podiatry, to name but a few! We now have 25 practitioners treating over 350 patients a week.

I think everyone could benefit by having a treatment with one of our amazing practitioners…..last week I thought I’d try our newest therapy – thai yoga massage – wow! Sophia worked on thai energy lines very gently but I really could feel my energy levels changing, despite being totally relaxed! It never fails to astound me how many incredible therapies there are out there which can help body and mind safely and in different ways.

I would like people to realise that for many health conditions, going to the GP and being prescribed medication (which all have side effects to greater or lesser extents) is not always the only course of action available.

Please email me at if you have any questions about cranial osteopathy or what therapy to try.

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