“Quake Transformed Us into Our Own Support Group”
Christchurch Osteopaths Reflect on Fourth Anniversary
The immediate aftermath of the major Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011 tested the resilience and the survival instincts of many, including a diverse group of osteopaths.
Four years on today, the Cantabrian healthcare practitioners reflect on how they have transformed and adapted their clinical practices by realising the important lesson of “self-care”. To be able to care well for their clients, they also needed to care for themselves and each other.
“Before the quake we were an assorted collective of individuals with political differences that were wide and varied. After the quake, all rifts were immediately put aside and we pulled together to become our own tight-knit support group,” says MsFrances Tennent-Brown, Christchurch Peer Group Leader, Osteopaths New Zealand.
The group has maintained a unity of purpose, developed emergency procedures, collectively pooled resources to cover patient rosters and provided each other with two osteopathic treatments per month to deal with the trauma.
The frequency of peer group meetings have gone from quarterly to monthly with a noticeable increase in turnout by practitioners from around the Canterbury region.
Mr Jonathon Lloyd-Paine, President of Osteopaths New Zealand has praised its members’ initiatives in the face of adversity as a “remarkable blueprint for healthcare professionals to follow.”
Coping during the chaotic early days of rolling aftershocks was extremely challenging. It was common for patients to arrive up by foot traumatised and often suffering from vertigo. With no running water, some osteopaths bottled their own and continued to transport it to their clinic for twelve months afterwards.
“We were staunch in our work ethic and honoured appointments no matter what” says Mr Russell Johns from Moorhouse Osteopathic Centre. Common symptoms post-quake that he treats even to this day include adrenal fatigue triggered by ‘fight or flight’ responses and structural injuries.
Johns says healing has finally come from the horrendous earthquake, even to those that are usually the healers themselves.