Tips to achieving a healthy home office set up

An estimated 34% of workers have not returned to their office since the first lock down. Using laptop on the kitchen table is a very common set up that we are seeing in clinic causing patients pain. By making minor changes you can make working from home a lot more manageable


–        Ideally, have your home office set up in a separate room to your everyday life i.e. a study or a spare bedroom, this way once that door is closed, that time is outside your working day and you should leave anything you want to do for the next day.

–        Have clear boundaries, do not be tempted to take work to bed or to the sofa, there should be clear separation between work and relaxing spaces. This is essential for sanity and productivity.

–        If your only option is to have your home office in a multi-use area, give yourself a work area or drawer, at the end of the day you can place all of your work-related things in a particular area, ideally out of sight or in a draw.

–        At the start of each working day make sure you get out of your pyjamas and into your work clothes, this will help you get out of the ‘home’ mindset and into the ‘work’ mindset.

–        Try to keep your normal working routine, ensure you give yourself breaks and a lunchbreak as you would if you were in the office.

–        Why not try having a walk or a small yoga session in the time it would normally take you to commute to work. This will help your stress levels, give you some well needed vitamin d and encourages the feel-good hormones to be released, setting you up for the day.

–        Avoid changing your working hours, if you normally do 9-5 with an hour lunch break try to stick to that, avoid logging in earlier and out later as this disrupts your normal work routine and you will become exhausted a lot quicker.



How can I make my home office space as ergonomic as possible?

Ergonomics encourages maximum comfort, efficiency and safety.

–        Choose a space in your home that offers as much privacy as possible, with the most natural light, and adequate access to power and internet.

–        Make sure you are sitting upright on a chair with back support, with your feet flat on the floor.

–        Your elbows should be at 90 degrees and in reach of your keyboard. If possible, use an adjustable chair so that you can ensure the correct height and tilt to fit your desk. Imagine you have velcro stuck on the inside of your upper arm and stick that to your sides, try to do everything at your desk from there.

– If you are using a laptop, prop it up in some books or boxes so that the top of the screen is at eye level. Buy another keyboard and mouse to use at desk level to keep your posture correct.

– If you are suffering persistent pain then please come in and let us help sooner rather than later. Osteopathy and massage can be very effective for this type of problem. Early treatment can reduce the risk of long term problems such as RSI repetitive strain injury and CRPS complex regional pain syndrome which are much more difficult to fix.


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to book online with one of our team


The different types of massage

Here at Magdalen Health we have a host of new and exciting treatments for you, but in order for you to book the right treatment you need to understand which treatment is better for you, please check the table below to find out which massage you are best suited for.
Sports massage
Sports massage uses a variety of pressure (often deeper, more intense and focused than in conventional massage) to speed up an athlete’s recovery time and help prevent injury.
Although sports massage is aimed at people who regularly push their bodies through strenuous exercise, it can benefit the everyday person too. If you’re running around with small children, or you have a physically demanding job, a regular sports massage may help you.
Sports massage is often prescribed by doctors to treat back or muscle-strain or as part of a rehabilitation programme for people who’ve had an injury.
Deep tissue massage
With a deep tissue massage a therapist will massage layer by layer of muscle, applying more and more pressure and employing special techniques with the fingers, fists, and even elbows to reach and stretch that deeper tissue.
This type of massage facilitates healing by releasing contracted areas of muscle and tissue. It can help increase blood flow to the soft tissues and may help to reduce inflammation.
Swedish massage
Swedish massage is one of the most commonly offered massage techniques. It’s sometimes called a classic massage.
The technique aims to promote relaxation by releasing muscle tension and increasing circulation. It’s a full body treatment promoting full body restoration.
Hot stones massage
Traditionally using basalt stones, they are heated and used as a massage tool to provide the body full relaxation.
Hot stones massage is perfect for aiding pain relief, promoting sleep and improving circulation and due to its heat is perfect for people suffering with stress, fibromyalgia and depression or anxiety.
Pregnancy massage
Available for pre and post pregnancy, this treatment is tailored for complete relaxation, to reduce the daily strains and tensions that pregnancy can have, and to focus on restoration of the body
During pregnancy, regular prenatal massages may not only help you relax, but may also relieve insomnia, joint pain, neck and back pain, leg cramping and sciatica. Additionally, it can reduce swelling in your hands and feet.
Myofascial release
Myofascial release is a set of techniques that are designed to help release these fascial blockages; tightness and adhesions in particular, by stretching and elongating the fascial tissue to release these restrictions, therefore enabling muscles and joints to function efficiently.
Myofascial release focuses on reducing pain by easing the tension and tightness in the trigger points.
Once you know what treatment is best suited for you feel free to book in with our fantastic therapists.


A lot of patients are surprised when we say we can treat horses with osteopathy, the first thing they say is do they like it? Horses get exactly the same musculoskeletal issues as a human does, from muscle aches and pains to joint restrictions and limited range of movement.

In order to treat a horse it is a legal requirement to gain veterinary permission prior to treatment, which is in line with the veterinary surgeons order 2015, this is not usually an issue as many vets see the benefit from alternative therapies such as osteopathy.

Horses are extremely sensitive and responsive animals, they can pick up on subtle character changes, fear and nervousness to name a few. They do not however, have the ability to process what these feelings are, all they know is something has changed in a persons behaviour and they need to decide whether this is a threat or not, after all they are flight animals. They respond to treatment extremely well providing the practitioner has a calm, gentle and smooth manner. If this is not the case the horse will not relax into the treatment. 

How to know when your horse needs treatment?

Horses unlike humans have a slightly different way of showing their pain, horses cannot come in and tell you they have back pain. They show discomfort in their facial expressions i.e. wrinkled nostrils, worried/triangular shape to their eyes, raising of the corners of their mouth. Another common way a horse expresses discomfort is through behaviour changes, for example trouble tacking them up, unwillingness to bend, bucking, rearing, napping. These are usually the telling signs a horse is in pain. 

Treatments are fully dependent on the presenting symptoms and are customised to each individual horse, follow up treatments will continue to work on the presenting symptoms and the associated compensations. These follow up treatments can be anywhere from monthly (usually more suitable for competition horses or horses in heavy work) or every 6 months (horses in lighter work).

It is important as osteopaths we work with the whole of the horses body, this includes working alongside farriers, vets, dentists and saddlers. As part of our treatment home care is a large part of it, we will give appropriate stretches and exercises to continue to improve what we have been working on. 

Post treatment reactions are very common, reactions involve yawning, chewing, licking, sleeping, increased thirst and veins becoming prominent for a short period of time, this shows that the horse is becoming relaxed and embracing the new changes. Depending on how long the issue has been there it may not be a one treatment fix and may take a few treatments to fully experience these reactions. Seeing the reactions really is the best part of the job. 

If you think this treatment can benefit your horse book in with Martha today


Click here for Online Booking details 


Pre Reception Waiting Room Exit
Triage – using defined forms

·         General medical history / update

·         General Health – clarification of status

·         Treatment desired/requested/continued

·         Risk assess and define  consultation route face to face/ telehealth/ wait

·         Impart information on how the clinic is run

Entrance: waiting room / wait in car

PPE: patient and staff

Payment: online/ telephone

Marked social distancing areas

Clinical treatment : what to expect

Exit and rebooking

Gap between pt- clean down 10 mins


·         Avoid use if possible for more than one surgery

·         Surgery 2 – wait in car

·         Surgery 3 – access via rear

·         Minimal set up- remove all magazines, drinks ( lidded water for hydration in kitchen in emergency)

·         Hand sanitiser

·         Window open ( if possible)

·         Cleaning rota between patients ( chairs , floor, PPE collection station, all surfaces)


·         Addition masks and tissues available

·         Exit of patient protocol

·         Next appointment made in clinical room to avoid unnecessary congestion at reception

Staff entrance and exit
·         Separate entrance for staff at beginning of day

·         Wash hands

·         Remove clothes and don on clinical clothes – defined area

·         PPE check

·         Run all water outlets  (2 mins)

Arrival Clinical Room End of Session/Day
·         Stagger appointments

·         Alcohol hand sanitiser- patient clean hands

·         Mask for patient

·         Temperature recording

·         Mask for reception

·         Verbally confirm receipt of information via triage process day before

·         Following triage – Patient consent to treatment

·         Cling film cover for card machine

·         Payment via zoning if not done before hand. Email receipts

·         Direct referral avoid waiting room

·         Email treatment plans

·         No air conditioning/ windows open

·         Clutter free surfaces – wiped clean

·         Distance between patient and clinician chair

·         PPE used by clinical staff

·         Training on taking on and off PPE visible

·         Training on identifying covid – 19 visible

·         Zoning: clean to dirty

·         Increased waste management: segregated waste- 72 hours and washed 60  deg

·         Windows open if possible

·         No paper notes / covered if necessary

·         Remove treatment chair covering – place in clinical waste

·         If towels used remove and place in dirty / reusable waste

·         Wipe ( non alcohol treatment chair and pillow cover)

·         Zoning area

·         Wipe ( chloride base) surfaces from clean to dirty

·         Wipe arms of patient chair

·         ( end of session) remove all waste from clinical room.

·         Remove PPE

·         Clean hands


Modern medicine has come to appreciate the close relationship between mind and body. Your immune system is intrinsically linked to your stress levels…the higher your stress levels, the lower your immune function. This increases your susceptibility to colds and viruses, like Covid-19!
Your brain and immune system are in constant communication with one another, which means that emotional/psychological upsets (stress) result in physical symptoms.
The stress response has also been given the term “fight or flight” response. Its is the normal biochemical reaction our body has when it feels threat to its survival. Historically, this might mean a caveman having to run away from a lion, however in todays modern world this response is constantly provoked by seemingly less dangerous events such as money issues, job worries and relationship problems…however these day-to-day woes are often percieved by our brains as equally as life threatening as a lion…if I’m late to work I’ll lose my job, if I lose my job I have no income, how will I pay my bills with no income, how will I afford my mortgage and pay for food…our brain leaps straight to survival mode at the threat to food and shelter.
This “fight of flight” response is all about immediate survival by getting away from danger as quickly as possibly. To aid in this we need as much oxygen as possible to get to our muscles so we can run away quickly and for longer. Our body does this by increasing our breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure to transport oxygen from the lungs to the muscles more quickly, also the muscles that attach the top of or rib cage to our necks get tight. This is to lift our rib cage up to create more lung volume so we can take in more oxygen when we breath. This explains why we get such tight muscles across our neck and shoulders when we experince prolonged stress.
When our body is not in “fight of flight”mode, it is in “rest and digest” mode, or the relaxation response. This is the mode we want to be in most of the time. Our body is not worried about immenent danger, but its working on long term survival…making sure it absorbs enough nutrients from our diet, our immune system working at it’s best to get all tissue healing done. Two very important processes which go straight out the window when “fight or flight” kicks in…digesting food and defending against bacteria/viruses are the least of your worries when you’re running away from a lion! This is why we often get digestive issues when we are stressed, and why our immune system functions at a lower level…they not deemed important processes at the time of danger.
How to swtich off the stress response:
Several techniques can help you switch from “fight or flight”to “rest and digest” mode, which will get your immune system working at its best. You may want to try different techniques to see which works best for you. There are hundreds of youtube videos online that you can use to help (I have put links to examples). If you can’t relax to the sound of their voice, or are annoyed by twinkley music in the background etc, find another video…there really are hundreds to chose from! Also over the coming weeks our practitioners will also be posting videos addressing some of these specific areas.
  • Gentle stretching, especially of the neck and shoulder muscles, can help convice your body that you do not need to be a coiled spring ready for action, or gathering great big lungfuls of air.
  • mindfulnes/meditation/counselling can help you look at some of the issues that might be causing your stress response and change how you look at the situation so it becomes less of a threat to you. There is a lot of help available online and by telephone at the moment if you need to speak to someone…and let’s face it, stress during a pandemic is a normal response!
  • PRACTISING RELAXING! Conciously relaxing muscles is one of the hardest things to do but one of the most effective. Most of my clients will recognise this one! Don’t try too hard/force it as this will make you tense up. Personally, I find it helps if someone talks me through it. You can try guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxtion via youtube.
  • EXERCISE! You can also trick your body into thinking it has taken the appropriate action to avoid danger. It needs to go through the motions of the “fight or flight”response, so do what it’s trying to enable you to do…get your heart pumping and your breathing rate up…go and run (cycle, fast walk!) away from the threat…or fight it (punch bag?!). Making your body think it has sucessfully avoided danger will get it into the “rest and digest” zone. (More on exercise in later blog).



We give our top tips on how to get the most out of your ski holiday and avoid injury with good preparation.

For many of us a ski holiday is the perfect way to get away in the winter and do some physical exercise. The only problem is, due to the short days and cold nights, most of us have actually cut down on our level of exercise during the winter.


Start early – Get yourself to the gym, pilates, aerobics at least 1 month before your holiday and work on your core abdominal muscles and leg strength.

Don’t just sit there – Squats, sit ups and cycling is good to target the right muscles needed for skiing.

It’s a balancing act – Balance is the single most important factor in skiing. Use a wobble board to improve balance and build up ankle muscles. For a thorough ankle work-out, rocking heel to toe is good for snowboarders and left to right is best for skiers.

Get it checked – Most skiers find turning one way easier than the other. Poor technique might not be the problem – muscle weakness and joint alignment could be. Visit one of our osteopaths to sort out any misalignments and improve performance.


Work those legs  – You need to target the thigh muscles (quadriceps) so squat and stand up repetitively whilst making tea, brushing your teeth or in the adverts on TV. As you get more advanced do your squats on a bed or wobble board to improve your coordination and stability. One legged squats are next.

Challenge! – Think you’re an expert skier and well coordinated? I will believe you if you can do a one legged squats on your bed, with both eyes shut for more than one minute without falling over! – TRY IT!

Target the calves – Due to being on a heel or toe edge on your board, your key muscles are on the front and back of the calf. To train them walk up and down the corridor on your tip toes and then return only on your heels (ie lifting your toes off the floor). You’ll look strange but it really works.

Sit down, stand up – As you spend a lot of time sitting in the snow and getting up, your arms get a good work out and in particular your triceps muscles. Practise by placing your back to a table, resting your hand on the edge and dipping the body down and then pressing up.


Hot and Cold – Warm up before strenuous skiing. Start off gently rather than heading first for the black runs and round the day off with a stretch.

Take plenty of breaks – Overexertion will ruin your holiday – moderate the length of skiing time and listen to your body. Pain is a warning sign, don’t ignore it.

Liquid lunch – Drink plenty of water and isotonic drinks to avoid dehydration and stay clear of alcohol, tea and coffee. Drink plenty with breakfast.

Put the boot in – No matter how many lessons, skiers won’t improve without the right boots and this is where most skiers put their first foot wrong. Skiers often choose on comfort alone – don’t make this mistake. Get a moulded footbed (called Orthotics) from the ski shop first as this improves fit, comfort and ski control. Opt for a shop with a wide range of boots so you are spoilt for choice (Freeride in Meribel, Precision Ski in Val d’Isere/Les Arcs, Footworks in Chamonix).

Carry on – Always be careful when carrying skis/boards. Leave them standing upright so you don’t have to bend to pick them up. Carry them over your shoulder, swapping shoulders regularly.

Ice is nice – With an acute injury, use ice rather than heat.

Tread carefully – A great deal of people are injured by slipping on ice at the ski resort, not just on the slopes. Wear shoes with a deep treaded sole and use strap-on studs for ski boots to help keep you upright. Good for snow in Exeter as well!

Get Protected – Buy a helmet and wrist guards before you have a fall.


Should you be unfortunate enough to be injured during your holiday, all our osteopaths are experienced in treating sports injuries and post operative rehabilitation so don’t put off getting treatment on your return.

Book Online

Have a great holiday!

Bon Ski




Phil Wylie

GB Elite V40 Duathlete

Jeanette Mcfadzean gets the inside track from Elite Athlete Phil Wylie about what’s ahead for the him this year and why he uses Magdalen Active Health to get him ‘up, fit and, active’.

To be in the presence of anyone that can run a 2:33 marathon is an awe-inspiring experience. To sit, chat, drink coffee and listen to their journey is awesome.

Exeter’s Magdalen Road is the home of some great coffee shops, French butchers, bohemian cafes and a health hub that treats many clients one of them being Phil Wylie, Great Britain Elite Duathlete: Run- Bike -Run

So what makes: a Gold World Champion team medalist, 2 times individual Bronze medalist- European Championship and a 4th placed World Champion?

In 1998, aged 20, Phil worked in a gym yet he couldn’t swim 2 lengths without gasping for breath. He couldn’t understand how he appeared fit and healthy yet all the other guys were smashing out great times in Duathalon events. ‘I thought how hard can it be?’, he says. ‘It really wasn’t’. Starting slow, he built it up bit by bit and then by 2006 he registered as a competing athlete.

13 years of competitive training across the disciplines of running

and cycling must take its toll. How have you managed?

‘I used to live near Bath and train out of the University but in 2013 I moved to the southwest and in doing so I lost that support structure of physios, conditioning coaches etc. I was preparing for the worlds and I’d picked up a niggle. My mother had previously used an Osteopath and so I had some understanding of what they do. I did tons of research and I was drawn to Toby (One of the directors of Magdalen Active Health) as an experience Osteopath who understood sports in both men and woman.’

So how was that first experience with Toby?

‘What I found comforting was that Toby understood I was training for an important event. He didn’t say no, or stop. He gave me a clear direction: 3 treatments would be required, I would need a range of treatments such as- manipulation, dry needling and massage, I would be right for the worlds. When someone does that for you they give you reassurance and confidence’.

So how did it work out?

‘With session one and two there was some improvement. I was concerned but Toby reassured me. 5 days after the third session all the discomfort had gone. 6-8 weeks later I got my 4th place in the World championship, 20 secs off the Bronze medal. I was gutted but it was a great result. 3 months later I got a Bronze at the Europeans.

That’s such an achievement. But how do you find training at this level for so many years?

‘I love what I do, I work with a charity that supports kids to participate in support and I enjoy training outside this. There’s no funding so it’s difficult but I’ve no desire to stop at the elite level. I’ve started to mix things up a bit recently by running the Tavi 7 ( 1st place and course record) and the Bideford 10 miles. It’s important as you get older to rest , recover, get more treatment and strength and conditioning.

Toby’s changed his approach as I’ve changed as an athlete. There’s no ego, he’s encouraged me to use the whole team at Magdalen Active Health. I’ve seen Esmee for acupuncture, Dan for a different approach to my treatment, Jenny for Sports massage. That’s what’s great and unique about Magdalen Active Health; they create a bespoke solution for you, around your life and your expectations’.

So you’d really recommend them ?

‘I use them for maintenance and now my wife, mother and son also use them. My son had a dairy

intolerance and was delivered by c- section. Dan treated him really successfully.’

That’s amazing Phil so what’s next for you?

‘A goal of a sub 2:20 marathon, top 5 position in the worlds and a sub 66.5 mins for a half marathon’.

Maybe an English vest for you there then?

‘That would be great fun! ‘

It was a great to chat and to be inspired by a hard working guy, with a busy life, work, family and love for his sport. We all wish him the very best for next season and hopefully he has inspired a few of us to get our running.

If you feel you could benefit from treatment by the team at Magdalen Active Health then please contact them on 01392 428141 to book an appointment. 1 Fairpark Road, Exeter EX2 4HL.


Book Online




Jenny Doe – Osteopath & Adventurer

What an incredible week, Ultra-X Jordan 2019 testing the limits of what the human body and mind can achieve. Nearly 80 runners covering 250km over 5 days in the furnace of the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan.

Myself and other Osteopaths from @osteo_adventures armed with sharp elbows and miles of tape were available predawn before every start, at each checkpoint along the way, and ready and waiting at the finish, working well into each night with headtorches to treat every runner that wanted our help.

We worked alongside Doctors from @exilemedics with their ninja blister lancing skills and persuasive water/salt management advice.

The runners pitted themselves against relentless heat, searing sun, sand stretching to all horizons, and the toughest battle of all…mastering their minds. It takes bravery and courage to put a toe on the start line of this event, let alone conquer and tame dark creeping thoughts that can appear for hours on end…and then to repeat it 4 more times knowing what lies ahead!

All devilishly dreamed up and made possible by @mrjamiesparks and @hewardsam, held together by the amazing and cheerful @ultraxco crew, and documented beautifully by @benedict_tufnell and @davies_sam.

To the runners, you show to yourselves and the rest of the world just what the human spirit is capable of. Thank you for giving me an unforgettable experience belonging to this awesome temporary tribe.

If you have running injury or any kind of sports injury book in with Jenny for an expert opinion now




Whether it is in the home or garden, injuries do happen, so here are our tops tips for keeping you healthy:

  1. Ask yourself– do I have the knowledge, competence and fitness for this job?
  2. Think about your safety and the safety of those around you when planning and carrying out the task. Common injuries are: cutting and piercing, falls from ladders, chairs or stools, being struck by an object and a foreign body in the eye.
  3. Prepare well.Check you have the correct safety clothing, that you have the appropriate tools, your tools are in good working order and you use them correctly.
  4. Hedge cutting / painting and decorating:Ideally you should not use your arms above shoulder height as this increases the risk of injury to your arms and upper back and neck. When using a ladder or stool, do not over reach and make sure that you are standing on the equipment correctly.  This will mean that you have to move your ladder/stool more times, but decreases the risk of falling as well as over using your upper back, neck, shoulders and arms.
  5. Gardening:Make a list of what needs to be done by the end of day/weekend and then look at how you will be using your body. Ideally you want to keep changing the use of your body, so you don’t overuse any areas and risk injury. For example, you may spend 10 minutes digging until you feel your back beginning to tire, you may then spend 10 minutes doing a task that requires standing, such as potting up in the greenhouse, you may then spend 10 minutes kneeling and weeding. 5-10 minutes rest with a drink and start the process all over again.
  6. Lawn mower:If you have an electric mover, there will be a tendency to either use it as you would a vacuum cleaner or swing it from side to side – moving the body and keeping the feet still. A back injury waiting to happen! You need to walk behind the mower creating nice stripes, using the body as a whole.
  7. Lifting / bending or twisting:Whether it’s laying a patio, putting together furniture or having a good declutter, using your body correctly is vital. Lifting, bending and twisting, if done incorrectly or repeatedly can cause you much pain and discomfort, if not immediately then a few days or weeks later.

We have a habit of keeping our feet glued to the floor and moving our back/spine to do the task. It is much better if you keep the back/spine aligned and use your feet to move your body – think about how you twist and reach for an object – I bet you don’t move your feet!

When lifting, if you can, make sure that you have a wide legged stance and squat to pick up the item.  If necessary get someone to help you. We hope that you remain injury free, but we are here to help if you pull a muscle, tweak your back or neck or find that getting out of your chair or bed in the morning is now difficult.


Of course we are here to help if you do suffer a strain or injury.

Call us to book with one of our team on 01392 428141

or BOOK ONLINE from this link




Recent research indicates regular exercise for our heart and muscles helps prevent many health problems.


Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Depression are just some of the health problems which are avoidable.


Keeping mobile can enhance the quality of our twilight years enormously. Muscle and bone mass start to decrease by the age of 50. Strength training twice a week can help prevent this. Aerobic fitness when we get a little puffed is great for keeping heart and circulation working well.


The advice suggests any activity is better than none at all. Kids should be running around outside as much as possible. Between 19 and 64 years we should be active on a daily basis with some heavy resistance work included. After 64 we should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Tai Chi, bowls or dance are perfect for this age group.

Often we have old injuries or pains which discourage us from exercising for fear of aggravating them. Often it is about knowing how to approach exercise to prevent harm.

Osteopaths are perfectly suited to helping educate you about your body and what types of exercise would suit you.

As well as that we can alleviate pain and stiffness to give you the confidence to pursue some of these enjoyable pastimes.

At Magdalen Health we run a Saturday morning yoga class for all age groups. The group is small and with close supervision you can benefit enormously.


Call us today if you feel you need to change your lifestyle so that it is aligned with your health goals.

01392 428141

or book online

We aim to provide immediate relief from unnecessary aches and pains through a variety of treatments; enabling you to live a more active, healthy and pain-free life.

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