We are open

during lockdown!

November 2020


The Octagon Clinic is delighted to be staying open

during our second national lockdown and we look

forward to seeing you all during the next month.


It is a tricky and disconcerting time for everyone,

but we will keep our doors wide open to our patients who

are in need of chiropractic and pilates.

Stephen, Hazel, Carmen, Polly, Lily and all the reception

staff are waiting for you!


A Few Pointers For Your Visit to the Octagon Clinic

Due to ongoing safety measures the system at the clinic will be slightly different than usual. The waiting room will be more of a rapid transit area than the usual social hub; social distancing will be adhered to; we will sanitise after every patient, patients will bring their own towels etc; but the receptionists and Chiropractors will be the same as ever, so don’t worry.


If you do come to see us at the clinic over the next few weeks, we will need to ask you a few more questions related to Covid 19 beforehand by email or phone and would be grateful if you can comply with this as fully as possible.

We will try to keep the red tape to the minimum, but we need to ensure that everyone is absolutely as safe as they can be. If you have a letter, or have been told by your GP or other health practitioner, that you are in the category of highly or extremely vulnerable, please do let us know beforehand as we will need to take additional safeguards for you.

Social Distancing

We are trying to keep face to face reception contact down to the minimum during this time, so we would ask you to do as much over the phone as possible, such as payment and appointment booking, if at all possible.

We also ask you to bring two towels with you to cover the treatment table and as little else as possible, preferably in a bag. I’m sure the whole family are dying for an excuse to leave the house right now, but if you could leave them in the park rather than bringing them to the clinic that would be much appreciated until more familiar waiting room service resumes.

Thank you for bearing with us during this time. Many of you have been in contact over this period relating stories of the innovative ways you’ve managed to cope without us and you’ve done so well under often really difficult circumstances but it will be really wonderful to be back in our familiar surroundings treating you in person once again.

Hopefully see you soon,

Steve, Hazel, Carmen, Polly and Lily and the Octagon 



Welcome to the Octagon Clinic


Hazel Dillon low back palpation

Welcome to the Octagon Chiropractic Clinic. We are a well-established clinic in West London dedicated to enhancing our patients’ health. We have been practicing Chiropractic here since 1991.

We have a special interest in pregnancy and paediatric care but very much pride ourselves on being a family clinic, able to treat a diversity of patients, from expectant mothers and babies, through to grandparents, sportspeople, dancers, those in need of rehabilitation and anyone else in Chiropractic need.

Our General Chiropractic Council (GCC) registered Chiropractors Stephen Hughes, Hazel Dillon and Carmen Moor aim to help with a vast array of spinal conditions, as diverse as cervicogenic headaches and migraines to low back and acute neck pain.

Hazel Dillon treating a patient

Polly Benge giving a ZOOM class in our studio



We provide bith a thorough assessment fo our patients' condition and appropriate long term care, committed to not only offering relief from physical discomfort but to locating the root cause of pain and firmly believe in the importance of encouraging patient participation in the Chiropractic process.

As a multi-disciplinary clinic we also offer homeopathic care and one to one Pilates sessions and are pleased to have  registered homeopath Laura Kenyon and Pilates Foundation UK member Polly Benge and Sally Jones working alongside us at the Octagon.

Stephen, Hazel, Polly, Sally and Laura treat patients throughout London, the clinic is located on the Hammersmith/Chiswick border and we see patients from all over the city including Barnes, Acton, Fulham, Chelsea, Putney, Richmond and beyond.  

At the Octagon our aim is to offer a full holistic care package, from pain alleviation to the prevention of reoccurring injury and hope that your visit will inspire you to take an active role in your own future well-being!

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Eat Yourself Healthy

By Carmen Moor

 Did You Know....

… in some cases, you can support your healing process through your diet?
Most people initially seek chiropractic care because they are experiencing pain linked to a joint, which at first sight suggests that there is something wrong with the joint itself. More often than not, said pain is linked to a bigger area not working properly, putting extra strain on the joint. This can lead to the inflammation we are all very aware of.
Another kind of inflammatory process in our body we may be less aware of is the one a simple croissant can start. I don’t want to ruin anyone's morning delights, for I am myself a great supporter of croissants and coffee in the morning. Nonetheless I think you should be aware of the following: Whether you are going through a painful episode, or are suffering from a chronic inflammatory condition, you can, to a certain degree, positively influence your body's state of inflammation through your nutrition. You can help limit and control inflammation and may prevent pain from occurring in your body.
Inflammation enhancing foods create a low (acidic) pH environment in our body. An acidic environment has an effect on the state of our fascia. Fascia is part of the tissue that embeds our nerves and muscles, and is generally very reactive. If we have back pain, fascia around the area tends to tighten up immediately. In an acidic environment, fascia is more likely to be adhesive or harden. By avoiding pro inflammatory foods, your fascia will be less likely to overreact.
Generally, pro-inflammatory foods rise the body’s inflammatory biomarkers to a point at which your body is much more reactive- and unfortunately, most often the reaction shows itself in pain and dysfunction. Imagine lighting a spark in a room full of matches. The aim is to have as few matches as possible in the room already so if any kind of disturbance adds to your system, your body won’t react as much. 
There are certain foods that have anti-inflammatory properties: Green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach (raw or steamed) or fruits such as blueberries and apples (also strawberries, cherries and oranges) have shown to be very high in natural anti-oxidants and polyphenols (anti- inflammatory properties). Also tomatoes and olive oil will be beneficial. Furthermore, a diet high in omega 3 will positively influence your inflammatory state: Choose fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines. Almonds, cashew nuts and hazelnuts contribute as well. Add spices to your cooking: Curcumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic, oregano, cayenne pepper, rosemary, basil or coriander. Choose unrefined sugars. Opt for a green tea every now and then over coffee and water over soda. 
Limiting the following pro-inflammatory foods will be beneficial for the inflammatory state of your body: refined carbs (which unfortunately include our croissant, white bread or pastries, pasta, musli, most desserts), mayonnaise, yoghurt (lactose containing products in general), processed meats, transfats (transfats usually hide in margarine, fried foods or ready-made meals). 
Like with anything else, a radical change in your diet is not to be recommended, though. You’d risk a dramatic decrease in the productivity of collagen which we absolutely need for the build up of fascia. Therefore, from a Chiropractor’s standpoint, it is not recommended to exclusively nourish from an anti-inflammatory diet. 
Making incremental changes towards an anti-inflammatory diet, though, is something you may want to consider. I’d propose that, in order to make an impact that doesn’t completely overthrow your diet, to substitute at least two of the pro- inflammatory with anti-inflammatory items.
Until then I’ll keep the croissant on the menu!


Get Some


in your


Hazel treats us to some home exercises





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Polly's fabulous Five

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Pausing for Breath
“First of all the twinkling stars vibrated, but remained motionless in space, then all the celestial globes were united into of series of movements. . . . Firmament and planets both disappeared, but the mighty breath which gives life to all things and in which all is bound up remained.”

I don’t know about you, but for me, life in lock down has felt busier than ever.  A daughter at home requiring lunch and online school supervision and wearing home clothes, has brought with it more washing, cooking and cleaning, in addition to my online teaching and all the extra communication with friends and family. 
I began rushing from one thing to another in a state of  anxiety.  What needs to be done next?  What had I forgotten to do?
What I hadn’t done, despite teaching this to clients for almost twenty years, is pause for breath.
It finally occurred to me that all this business and anxiety was in my head and not caused by lock down itself.  I stopped, inhaled gently and sighed the breath out.  I could feel the anxiety start to melt away.
I had been rushing around with my shoulders glued to my ears, using the least efficient muscles to breath and so increasing the anxiety.  I had forgotten my own mantra “don’t forget to breathe”. 
Primarily we breath automatically, regulated by our central nervous system, we don’t have to think about it, it just happens.  However, as my recent experience shows, it is not difficult to adopt breathing patterns that actually create stress.  Just becoming conscious of how we are breathing as we go about daily life can make a huge difference, not only to how we feel but how our body feels, the two are inextricably entwined.
Donna Farhi in her book, The Breathing Book, describes efficient breathing as taking place in a triangle whose point starts in the throat and broadens out to rest on the hip bones.  Whether sitting or standing to read this, have a go.  Take a gentle breath in through your nostrils and feel it start to expand your body from your neck down to your hips.  See how the downward intake of breath opens up the ribs giving space to the belly and back.  This is breathing using the primary respiratory muscles.  Now have a go at reversing the triangle, visualise it’s point starting just above your pubic bone and broadening up to rest on your collar bones.  Try taking a breath filling from the bottom up.  Did you notice how this breath, using the secondary respiratory muscles, raised your shoulder girdle?  These muscles are smaller and more delicate and therefore tire more easily.  So developing the habit of using the secondary respiratory muscles for breathing can lead to all sorts of issues from back aches to headaches not to mention increased anxiety.
I have found that I can put what I preach into practice, whether wielding a duster or vacuum cleaner, collecting laundry or stirring a pot.  I can pause for breath and ask myself, “Am I breathing efficiently?”  Suddenly, the queue at the supermarket doesn’t matter so much, my sense of humour has returned and I’m smiling a whole lot more.
There are so many different ways to breathe as taught in yoga, pilates and all manner of practices, sports and activities and they are all important and life enhancing, but not for everyone, which is why I wanted to focus on just the simplest aspect of breath.  Becoming conscious of the breath is the best start to healthy breathing practices (I think) we can make.  And from Donna Farhi’s illustration it is reassuringly easy to change from a harmful, to a beneficial way of breathing.
Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing I wish you a happy pause.


Keep Active Keep Sane

I hope everyone is well and safe. I’ve been keeping myself busy during lockdown – I miss working with my hands and so have been keeping them busy doing craft activities.

I decided at the beginning that I wanted to keep track of what I’ve been doing as it is easy to feel that the days slip by without much achieved – my current proudest achievement is the 150 miles I have cycled during lockdown. I never find the time to cycle this much, but with only a few reasons to go outside cycling has become my top daily outdoor activity.

There are also lots of ‘jobs’ I haven’t done – I always told myself it was because there was no time but what I have realised after still having not completed them is that I don’t do them because I don’t like doing them. I am allowing this knowledge to soak in as I figure out what I want to do with it.

I’ve also been working on my curly hair goals – it’s fun to experiment and not worry about what disaster may occur when I don’t have to be anywhere 😊

If your chosen daily outdoor adventure is walking and this is something you are doing more than usual: you may be experiencing some discomfort around your feet or ankles. Here are a few simple stretches and exercises you can do for your feet that can help reduce pain and increase strength.

Ball Rolling

Rolling the ball on the sole of your foot releases tension in the plantar fascia which connects from your heel to your toes. Often people can experience pain in the bottom of their feet from excess use; standing, walking or running – especially if footwear is not ideal for these activities.

The ball rolling will massage and stretch out the plantar fascia and that reduces tension and pain in the feet. If your feet are very sore you can roll your feet with a frozen bottle of water, the cold also helps reduce any inflammation in the area which also reduces pain.

You can use as little or as much pressure as feels comfortable and the more you do it the less pain you’ll get from it. The ball I used in the picture is one of Polly’s spiky balls but anything that rolls will work.

Standing on tiptoes

Going up to standing on tiptoes is a great way to strengthen your ankles and feet. Surprisingly there is a right and wrong way to do it as you can see from the picture. If you have very mobile ankles you don’t want to let the ankles roll out as you go higher, this does not help to strengthen them so it is important to keep the ankles straight.

Make sure you do this somewhere you can stabalise so you don’t have to try and balance at the same time. Slowly go up as high as you can and then slowly go back down again, do this 10 times. As you feel stronger you can hold the position at the top for longer.

Toe Curl

The toe curls will get all the small intrinsic muscles in your fet activated and working to help strengthen the whole foot. Keep the toes over the edge of a large book or step and then squeeze them down as if you are trying to clench it with your toes. Curl the toes 10 times and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds each time.

There are so many new and innovative ways of keeping active while staying in. I have been enjoying yoga with Kassandra on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithkassandra – she has a great selection of videos to watch and you can choose based on how you feel that day; whether you want to stretch or strengthen and for how long. I often choose one of the many 10-minute routines available.

I’ve been enjoying my meditation with Deepak & Oprah on their meditation app – they are currently offering a free series entitled ‘hope in uncertain times’

As well as enjoying all this extra time I’ve been keeping up with work and being able to help our patients as much as possible. 

For more in-depth help, I am also offering telehealth video consultations - these will be charged at £25 of which 50% will be donated to the NHS Covid-19 fund.


A Time of Reflection - A message from Polly


As we come to the end of week 4 of ‘lockdown’ I ask myself if I feel different to how I felt at the beginning. Now that the immediate emotions of panic and fear have subsided, this uncharted territory has made way for a time of reflection. I think I am not alone in expecting and desiring some paradigm shift to be taking place within me; if not now then when will we have this chance for our habitual patterns to be replaced by a new and different way of being? If only it were that simple. At the end of every day my list of ‘shoulds’ are still firmly in my head be they creative or domestic: I should have used this time to complete my Magnus Opus, I should have learnt how to make a foolproof hollandaise. And now more than ever is there pressure to be using this time to get fit. We love Joe Wicks, even the resurrected lycra-trussed Mr Motivator and all the other apps and live-streaming classes encouraging us to find our 6 packs, an effortless 10k run, the splits. Thank you to them all, they all have their valued place.


So my bulletin for the Octagon’s weekly newsletter comes in the form of an invitation to drop down into your body and get to know it.


« Behind every unhealthy movement pattern slumbers a good one. Instead of getting tense by trying to change the bad, we delve deeper into the body to bring the good back to the surface. »  Eric Franklin (movement educator and creator of the Franklin Method).


Tension and chronic pain have the annoying habit of returning over and over again. Often we fight tension with tension in our desire to fix it as we diligently do our prescribed exercises only to get frustrated that this feels like an outer correction. What if … (my two favourite words) we were to be still, be curious and exploratory and most importantly unafraid, as we try and understand where our dysfunction comes from? Of course we need practitioners and teachers to help us along this route but we can kickstart an intuitive process that is not based on any particular road map; for some it may be the motorway, for others a more circuitous by-way. This does require patience, « God give me patience, and give it to me now! »


But how can we get to know our body better? We have a lesser-known sense called ‘interoception’ that helps us to feel and understand what’s going on in our bodies. It helps us to be more attuned and tolerant of the body’s cues – what is tight through our daily actions, accident, trauma or what is an emotional holding on for instance. This sense aids us in creating a self-awareness that gives our brain and body more space to move fluidily and with less force. When we practice Pilates it is this sense along with proprioception (knowing where the body is in space) that is cultivated. Work smarter, not harder.


For the hell of it and because you may have an extra 15 minutes in your day, why not lie on your back and wonder what your spine feels like. Is it more grounded on one side to the other, does the back of the head feel rotated, does a hip feel higher than the other, does one lung fully expand and the other stay contracted when you breathe in?  When you walk down the street do the 26 bones in each foot talk to each other allowing for a lovely springy lightness that is transferred from the feet to the pelvis and up the spine, or are they one fused block? Just by noticing these coping strategies hundreds of messages are sent to our nervous system so that change happens on a subconscious, spontaneous and sub-threshold level. When we give our body a little more attention pain and tension are no longer the enemy but a messenger to delve deeper. We all have the potential for a more relaxed and flowing way of being.  As Joseph Pilates said in his book, Return To Life Through Contrology  (1945)  physical fitness is the abiity to, « carry out one’s many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure. » Of course we can still aim for our 6 pack and to run like Mo Farrah but the journey there becomes more insightful and hopefully more unobstructed.


With all my best wishes,



Week 2 from the Big Octagon Household..

Hello All,

We are now finishing our second week of Octagon clinic closure and our thoughts are with our lovely patients.

Please do get in touch and update us on how you are and where you are. Our practitioners would be keen to hear from you all;

(Any dog walking pictures gain extra brownie points! I'll start......)


A Message from the Octagon Team

CORONA Virus Update

Due to the Corona Virus Lockdown, the Octagon Clinic will now be closed.

With regret, we can no longer treat patients, but we are taking advice from the BCA and the government and will follow their guidelines for reopening. We hope this will be on 13th April, but this date may change depending on any new developments.

If you need emergency advice please contact the practitioners on the following emails:

Steve: clara@dircon.co.uk

Carmen: cmoor.chiro@gmail.com

Hazel: chirohazel@gmail.com

Polly: plbenge@icloud.com

Laura: bluefin3@gmail.com  

Caroline is available  for any other questions on the clinic email: info@octagonclinic.co.uk

Thank you so much for all your support and patience.  Be well. Eat nice things. Walk once a day and only listen to the news for a limited time.


The Whole team at the Octagon

Easter Closing at the Octagon
The Clinic will be closed over Easter from 10-13 April inclusive.

Have a lovely long weekend

Lily , our brand new Pilates Teacher, is extending her schedule to include Tuesday and Friday mornings! We would be delighted to schedule new clients with her, so give us a call if you are thinking of having some sessions.

pilates studio

Pilates Update
We are delighted to welcome Pilates Teacher, Lily Pollock, to the Octagon Clinic. She will be accepting new client on Thursday afternoons from 23rd May - call to make an appointment on 0208 563 2608 

The clinic will be closed on the

May Bank Holiday

Monday 6th May

EASTER is almost upon us.

The clinic will be shut 19-22 April.

We reopen on the 23rd.

Laura Kenyon - 8th February

We are looking forward to seeing Laura Kenyon, our resident homeopath, at the clinic on the 8th February. Please giveus a call if you need to make an appointment.



Burns Night - 25th January

burns night

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa'your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o'the pudding race!

Aboon then a'ye tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:

Weel are ye wordy o'a grace

As lang's my arm

Pluto visits on Wednesdays

puppy crop

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