Sian George M.Ost Osteopathy
Sports Therapist and now qualified Osteopath Sian, thought that Physiotherapy was the career for her until she was encouraged to explore Osteopathy. Sian is now running a successful clinic based in Sketty, Swansea. We caught up with her to find out more…
Why did you decide to study osteopathy?
I had previously applied to study Physiotherapy as I was working in the NHS however my friend had just graduated as an osteopath and recommended I try osteopathy as it had just launched at Swansea. I was late applying so went through clearing and got in! I never thought courses like osteopathy would have clearing places but was very happy when I was accepted.
What did you most enjoy about the course?
The practical experience at both the university and the SA1 clinics – you learn so much ‘on the job’ so to speak as nothing can prepare you for real patients. I am a very practical person and not a natural academic, so found I learnt more here than in the classroom at times.
I also loved the comradery and had a great bunch of peers throughout the 4 years – we all still keep in touch and it’s great to bounce ideas off each other when the first year post grad is a scary and often lonely one!
Can you tell us a bit about what it was like to work at the osteopathic clinic at Swansea University during your course?
Nerve wracking, rewarding, challenging, interesting, hard work, fascinating!
We got to see a wide range of patients – young to old, acute to chronic pain and a variety of conditions/injuries which helped broaden our knowledge.
Mentoring in our 4th year to the students in the years below also helped with our learning and I loved the challenge of teaching.
Tell us about your business Align Therapies
Align Therapies is an Osteopathy, Acupuncture and Soft tissue clinic based in Sketty, Swansea. I see a variety of patients from young to old, sports people to office workers and treat using a variety of methods such as manipulation, mobilisation, soft tissue and acupuncture.
Align was born a year before I qualified as I was already a mobile sports therapist. I was working in my clinic part time around university to help pay my way through. I just rented a room in a therapy centre and would do 9-4 in uni then 5-9 in the clinic 3 nights a week.
Align has quickly grown and is now in its second year. I still rent a room but am currently looking for my own premises in the hope that I can grow into a multi-disciplinary centre longer term. The clinic now sees a large number of people per week and on top of osteopathy and sport therapy, I have gained qualifications in acupuncture and pregnancy treatments and am about to start my post grad training in Sports & Exercise Medicine!
Have you always wanted to set up your own business?
Yes – I worked previously in the NHS and in gyms but always wanted to be my own boss. There is no better feeling than having your own business and despite being too old for any start up grants or funding, I found you don’t need to get into debt to create a business start up! In the beginning I just bought what I could afford and had something every month.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been many tears and at times I have wondered what I am doing but the positives way outweigh the negatives!
Having business advice from both Business Wales and a private mentor have helped my business to grow and attending networking events with other small business owners help with common problems and having a good network of support when needed.
What advice would you give to students thinking of studying osteopathy at Swansea University?
Go for it – Swansea is a fabulous place to study with the beautiful Gower right on your doorstep. Make sure you explore it! The osteopathy course, although still in its infancy, is now the only University course in the UK now so be part of something special.
Osteopathy is a fabulous career to get into and there are so many avenues you can go down once qualified – study hard and the rewards will pay off!