We all need a “Brazilian Prune”

Blog courtesy  of Joanne Dowds (clinical specialist physiotherapist)

Living on the rim of CBD of Dublin, the middle of  an urban centre there aren’t to0 many green areas, my house has a tiny paved outside patio about the size of an international stamp. It’s in a collection of terraces over looked by new high-rises whether they are offices or apartments, they cast a shadow. It is shady spot but particularly this time of year its great for hunkering into an armchair by the fire, with books and blankets. I was
raised in the country, miles from civilization, where Lamborghini is a common make of tractor, not a boy racer supercar so I don’t always feel I belong among the Lululemon ladies of Dublin.  More than that recently I have found I miss green things, trees, fields, hedgerow. I like the wildness of the country side but the convenience and interest of living in the city. Can I have both? I definitely want both, green spaces, and art galleries, why should I have to choose? Being in nature promotes mindfulness, improves wellness and is generally a space where problems seem smaller and less significant. I am not yet ready to lift all I own and owe someplace more rural so in the meantime I am trying and most commonly failing at gardening. Well house planting-like I said limited outside space. I have always loved receiving flowers, who doesn’t, flowers are easy. Nice vase, water, room on a flat surface, a gorgeous sensory highlight for a few weeks before the bin takes them off to make beautifully fragrant compost. Plants, are different, there is a bit of work involved in sustaining a plant. It is always a privilege to be the recipient of a gift but developing plant nurturing skills is new for me. I am not green fingered, my most successful attempts at indoor foliage remain plastic plants but I am persistent and I have learned many things, so I am sure I can learn how to care for a ficus. About 6 months ago I was gift a beautiful delicately leafed potted plant for my work office. When I took ownership it was fluffy healthy mess of green. I googled care details i did my own research, I watered, fed,  poked at the soil, occasionally deleafed the brown leaves. Despite my best efforts,  it was on its last legs, withered and also weirdly waterlogged, slowly dying. After consulting a more green fingered work colleague, her advice was to cut it right back to the stem, move it into more light, re- pot and water it more regularly. All doable but it did seemed overly harsh on the pruning. This was no gentle trim but a full on Brazilian prune, naked trimmingthe smallest amount of stubble remained above the soil line.  Swaying towards obedience, I did as I was instructed  and a few weeks later it has started to have fresh green shoots, I am delighting to see it thrive, (full disclosure I have moved it into a different part of the office so there is a team responsibility for its resurrection). The lads at  work feel that end of the of the office has more loving nurturing energy or it may just be a larger window.

Sometimes drastic action, recommended by an expert is sometimes required, a gentle prune or change in direction can be ineffective at stopping the long term deep rot. I have spoken before about an injury I have had for a while. A niggle that waxes and wanes but never completely goes. I have ran inconsistently in this period, occasionally when I feel ok I can go for a slow trot but it usually results in a limp for days afterwards. I have been treated, foam rolled, rehabbed, lessened work load and then strengthened, etc to some improvement but not to gone.  I want gone. Maybe it is time for a drastic change, time to cut it all back, move to a different space and douse regularly in water!

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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