So you don’t know what a Biomechanist is? You’re forgiven. It’s a little-known practice with big results when administered by an experienced practitioner. And Alan Gordon Health, right here in Chippy, is among Britain’s best.
Newly arrived Chippy resident Alan Gordon is minutely tuned to the vagaries of the human body and the multitude of ways it can go wrong.
Simply walk past Alan, and chances are he’ll know the problem before you even tell him. Plus he’ll probably tell you about a few you’re not even aware of yet.
Determined to shine a light on this intriguing practice, we’ve put Alan in the spotlight with a Q and A.
Q: How long have you been based in Chipping Norton?
I’ve only just moved to Chippy after originally trying to do so in August 2015. The property transaction went belly up for various deeply irritating reasons and I temporarily rented in Evesham!
Things finally came to pass at the start of 2016, but I’m still doing runs to Evesham and back between working days!
Q: What’s your impression of Chippy so far?
When I was in Oxford, I was very much aware of Chippie, from having two clients here. It’s always been a smoothly traditional area with some solid history.
To date, I wouldn’t say there’s anything I’ve found challenging about Chippy, but perhaps in the future if David Cameron or Jeremy Clarkson tried to jump the queue at The Moveable Feast and it made me late getting my chips, I’d probably scream class or celeb distinction!
Q: What is unique about Alan Gordon Health?
I started my present business as a total independent in London in 1985, and very grateful to say I ‘can’t grumble at all’ as the saying goes.
When I began, no Biomechanists anywhere in the UK were involved in Nutrition as well as Exercise/Human Movement, as they’re largely involved in Occupant Kinematics (impact injury analysis).
I was fortunate enough to be the first who moved away from that to specialise in Exercise/Injury Biomechanics and Nutrition. Time has marched on, but 41 years later, I’m actually still the only one with a Nutrition degree, specialising in Fitness and Exercise, as well as dealing with Injury.
So based on that, you could make the final statement I suppose, that I’m unique in the UK, whilst also being the only Biomechanist who’s in-depth zones are the Over 45s and Ladies Exercise, Injury and Nutrition.
Q: Have you had any amusing misunderstandings about Biomechanists?
As so very few people have even heard of a Biomechanist, especially in the very early 80s when you couldn’t Google ‘What is a Biomechanist‘, I encountered a funny mistake made along the way.
I lived in New Cavendish St in Central London at that time and I had an enquiry from Golders Green. When I arrived there at a very posh house, two men were waiting with plans laid out before them on a table in the lounge.
Yes, both of them definitely had subtly emerging posture problems they weren’t even aware of yet, along with very obvious weight issues that I could also have helped them with … but.
Unfortunately, they wanted to discuss some ongoing work – about building robots. Absolutely true! Wrong bloke I’m afraid guys, and I left the house with two very red faces behind me!
Q: What exactly is a Biomechanist?
The Biomechanist is trained to recognise and technically analyse human movement down to the smallest reaction or trait. This often flags up a signal about something going steadily wrong, very often at a subtle level, not consciously realised yet by the person concerned.
The personal training offered by a Biomechanist is always unique to the person’s physiology; tailored to match the complete individuality of that body alone and nobody else‘s. This removes injury possibilities and speeds up progress, and in terms of professional stance, hopefully separates Biomechanists from personal trainers for people to see, because personal trainers haven’t the Biomechanics expertise required for truly personalising any fitness/exercise prescription.
Although these professions do very good healing work, Physiotherapists train in Injury/Rehab Biomechanics not Exercise/Performance Biomechanics, whilst Osteopaths and Chiropractors have no Exercise/Fitness/Performance Biomechanics training. A Biomechanist has both Exercise/Fitness and Injury Biomechanics expertise.
Yoga and Pilates work within their individual interpretations of Biomechanics, whereas the Biomechanist works in pure Biomechanics, which all human movement in every way, simply has to obey. This equates to Biomechanists having a foot in everybody’s camp and offering truly comprehensive assessments and completely ‘unique to that body’ exercise/treatment and ongoing lifestyle fitness path – with safe practice as the top priority.
Q: So are there other Biomechanists in Oxfordshire?
After careful checking, I’m the only one in Oxon, Berks, Warcs, Worcs, Gloucs, Wilts, Berks and Hants – and also one of only 18 in the UK. Happily for clients, I’m also the only Biomechanist anywhere who also has a degree in Nutrition.
Q: Are you also involved in assessment of Personal Trainers?
Yes, private assessment of personal trainers is a significant aspect of my work.
To date since March 2002, I’ve assessed 2,546 personal trainers; whilst also performing an average of 27 Expert Witness roles each year, in litigation cases where personal trainers are sued for incompetence – which resulted in personal injury for the clients/plaintiffs concerned.
Q: What is your client base?
This is very broad. It includes 4 GPs, 1 surgeon, 1 pathologist, 2 physios, 1 osteopath, 2 Pilates and 1 Yoga teacher, 3 personal trainers, 1 Bowen practitioner, 1 riding instructor, 1 golf pro and 1 Ballet teacher, but a good number of perfectly everyday folk too.
Now that I live here, I’d love to take on more Chippy clients, as I‘ve now withdrawn from working in Henley and Hungerford to do less driving, as I always travel to the client‘s home.
Q: Is your work your passion?
I always have been and always will be, very much in love with my work. Despite traffic jams, setbacks and daily glitches, I can honestly say with hand on heart that I’m eager to get to work each and every day, so it’s dominantly a positive experience for me, and hopefully, for my clients too.
I quite unashamedly live, breathe and eat my work, but as someone with no short answers, I’m afraid I have to be very careful when someone asks me a question. Twenty minutes later they could still be receiving their answer, but quietly slipping into a coma!