Life places many demands, both physical and mental on people today. Fortunately, help is quite literally at hand to keep our bodies and minds in tip-top condition
STRESS: it is a word that has been propelled deeply into the public consciousness in modern times by frequent media exposure but, as Chiropractor Dr Thomas Faulkner knows only too well, stress can take a heavy toll on both our mental and physical wellbeing.
‘Just like our cars our bodies also need regular care,’ said Tom, the man behind Human Health Chiropractic. ‘We humans are by no means perfect and it is vital to improve and maintain our health. Emotional stress is a major part of our lifestyle today and this is something that affects the nervous system and, therefore, the spine.’
Even a short meeting with Tom is sufficient to reveal a man of considerable knowledge, skill and passion for his calling. It comes as a surprise then to realise that the medical world was not uppermost in his mind when, as a schoolboy at Victoria College, he began to consider his future.
A moment of inspiration
‘I really wanted to fly,’ he reveals, ‘but, after due consideration, I decided against joining the RAF.’
Tom then turned his attention to healthcare but was at first uncertain about which of the many routes into the profession he should take. He became inspired, however, when he met Chiropractor Sara Wagstaffe and, after watching her at work for just a couple of hours, he knew what he wanted to do.
He embarked upon his studies at the Chiropractic College in Bournemouth before returning to Jersey in 2013 to take up a post working with Sara. Then, in 2016, he established Human Health Chiropractic – opening in June.
‘I have always been quite ambitious but it can sometimes be strange how life turns out,’ he said. ‘Within four hours of arriving at university, I met the man who was to become both my best friend and now business partner.’
The man in question, Dayne Ferrar, now runs a second branch of the business in Amsterdam, a city which Tom visits regularly for meetings.
The decision to set up Human Health Chiropractic was a major step for Tom who had never run a business before. Fortunately, there was no shortage of people to provide him with the necessary encouragement to succeed.
‘Sara Wagstaffe was incredibly supportive. I had some fantastic mentors both in and out of the profession whose words were priceless. Then there was June Stead and Nick Steel at Jersey Business. I went to see them and received valuable advice on business planning, financial forecasts and raising capital.’
New premises – and a waiting list
Further help came from Mark Cox, of the Channel Islands Co-operative Society. ‘I spent about a year looking for suitable premises before taking on 1,700 square-feet of space above the Co-op store in St Peter. Mark Cox was very helpful throughout the process.’
Tom’s practice was three-quarters full in the first week. Within three months he was fully booked and contemplating a substantial waiting list. Today, five people work at Human Health Chiropractic, with another five at the facility in Amsterdam.
Patients entering Tom’s practice for the first time will immediately be struck by the bright, spacious and tastefully appointed premises which exude an atmosphere of relaxing calm. Treatment proceeds in various ways according to the needs of each patient. In addition to the Lifestyle Model, which focuses on optimizing an individuals health, there is also the Restorative Model, which address the cause of the issues people have whether old injuries, spinal discomfort, headaches or quite complex neurological syndromes. ‘We examine a patient’s body using our specific analysis protocols and help them restore normal optimal function,’ Tom explained. ‘We help them to achieve whatever goals they may have. It is very much about recovering, repairing, healing and rejuvenating’.
Under attack from stress
‘People are often very stressed and tense, from a variety of work lifestyle based causes as well as retained emotional stress. This is somewhere they can come to reduce their stress response and the effects it has upon their body’
Modern life and changing cultures have had a significant impact on the way that stress is both perceived and caused. ‘The reality of stress in wartime, for example, was living with the fear of bombs dropping,’ Tom said. ‘Today, stress can be the result of sitting in traffic while on the way to pick up a child.
‘Social media also brings its own kind of stress, which in turn leads to electromagnetic stress. Not enough data exists on that yet but mobile phones and computers – any technology that emits cellar signals – all have the potential to affect our wellbeing, we just need to understand this further.
Then there is the physical stress of sitting all day in the workplace and, on top of all that, there is bio-chemical stress which is caused by what we put in or on our bodies from food to shampoo and medications. Increasing amounts of chemicals in our bodies can affect organ function. It is all about knowing how to look after yourself.’
As a former sportsman – he played rugby for both Hampshire and Jersey – Tom understands better than most the nature of the stresses and strains placed upon the body. He also worked for Bournemouth AFC football club on their way up to the premiership and now has a great mentor in a famous Chiropractor who set up and developed AC Milan football club’s research labs ‘Milan Labs’.
‘I am lucky enough to be able to visit him quite regularly and learn from him. We discuss professional issues and generally brainstorm.’
Jersey Business points the way
But from a business perspective, there is no doubt in Tom’s mind that some vital and priceless assistance was provided by June and Nick at Jersey Business.
‘They helped me alot with the business model, the financial planning and forecasts,’ he said. ‘They also pointed me in the right direction when it came to raising capital. In short, they put me on the straight and narrow when it came to understanding what was relevant to Jersey in pure business terms.
‘Their support was phenomenal. We are so lucky to have a set-up like Jersey Business in the Island. It needs to be looked after and invested in.’