OMG, this is going to be no picnic!
It started serenely enough, a lot like the first day at school: packed lunch in hand, prescrived clothing, lockers assigned, meeting everyone, handing in the fees. The founder of this place, Erika Maude, who looks as straight as an arrow and as young as can be did the power point thing telling us her story (concerned at age 11, GP said it's nothing, more concerned at age 13, spinal doctor said urgent surgery needed, chose brace for 2 years, took it off and curve came back worse, found clinics operating on the European continent, achieved success, returned to the UK and petitioned for a similar clinic, started it in home county Suffolk 2006, demand led to another in London, now just the London one operating - did I forget anything?) and then she rattled off the statistics: 3-4% of the population have scoliosis, 80% of that is of unknown origin and 75% of that is non-hereditary.
Symptoms include changes to body shape, pains (chronic, aching or sciatic),loss of mobility or function, respiratory issues (persistent coughs, shortness of breath, feeling tired due to reduced lung capacity, disordered digestion, psychological issues (depression), decreased cardio-vascular system, feeling cold, pins and needles.
We saw a slide indicating activities that can cause progression. Expected ones like running, gymnastics and lacrosse but guitar playing was a new one. And was that diagram warning us not to hold babies or not to have them?
I predicted we would have 40% teenaged girls, 40% middle aged women and 20% men, and I was close. We are 10 in number: 2 teens, 3 young adults, 2 middle aged and 2 over 60. 3 men, 7 women. 2 Canadians (1 living in London), 1 Australian, 1 American (living in Nepal) and the rest reflecting the rich ethnic make-up of Great Britain today.
We were weighed and measured and photographed, then taken to a room with full length mirrors placed on the two long walls. These were covered with wide wooden ladders from floor to ceiling. We each had our own spot, our own ladder in front of our own mirror. We did warming exercises in a circle: lunges, knee hikes, arm circles; then coordinaton exercises with a bean bag: tossing it to the otehr hand, to another person,across a wide expance; then stretching exercises: quads, pecs, lats; then exercise exercises which I didn't find too awful - until the 30th repetition or so!
And that was it really. Hours of 5minute long stretches and 50 rep exercises. I was pleased to note I was fairly flexible and fairly strong compared to the rest. But I am the pudgiest one there, and I'm not all that pudgy! The two physiotherapists blythly said good night telling us we will be in pain tomorrow but not to worry that's normal byee!
A hot bath and a glass of wine awaits. Byeee!