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Steven Marsland at the Canadian Medical Center with one of his colleagues, Elke Anne Hillrichs. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Steven Marsland at the Canadian Medical Center with one of his colleagues, Elke Anne Hillrichs. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Abu Dhabi chiropractor enjoys laid-back lifestyle of UAE

Steven Marsland always wanted to work abroad and live in the sunshine. Here, he reveals his daily routine as a chiropractor at the Canadian Medical Centre.

Steven Marsland is a chiropractor at the multi-disciplinary Canadian Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi. He is married with an eight-month-old daughter and has been in the UAE for seven months. He came here as he always wanted to work abroad, loving travel and sunshine. His British wife was born in Kuwait and had lived in Saudi Arabia and Dubai so the UAE was a home from home. There were many barriers to becoming a certified chiropractor in a foreign country involving different exams and accreditations, but he is enjoying the change of pace and climate of his new home


I get up and take Bella, our dog, for a walk.


I then go off to the gym for about an hour, not everyday but at least five days a week, I enjoy it and it works really well for me because the gym is just around the corner from work so I can drive there, train, shower, have breakfast and be ready for work without any fuss.


My work day begins by seeing patients. I do a morning shift and afternoon/evening shift. The appointments last between 15 minutes and and half an hour, it’s rare that we need more than that. Chiropractors have become a well-known medical arm with a lot of my clients coming from Canada, the United States or Australia having been treated before. There are a lot of clients though who have to be educated towards what a chiropractor can offer, having been seen by more conventional medical professionals before. I mainly deal with people experiencing back pain but I am not a spine cracker. Traditionally chiropractors would be quite rough and physical, cracking your bones, thankfully it has moved on a long way since then and there are a lot more techniques that you use to bring some function and relief to a person’s spine. There is still an element of manipulation involved, though these are not big rough manipulations, they are pain free. We now do a lot of exercises and there are techniques to get muscles to relax. I also practice acupuncture and take techniques from the sporting world such as taping and massage techniques. The profession has advanced significantly recently.


I get back home for lunch and help my wife with the baby. Generally we are pretty healthy eaters, cooking our own food and avoiding fast food apart from a pizza once a week.


Regardless of where in the world you work there will be similar problems for a chiropractor but in the UAE it seems people are a little more sedentary, possibly because of the layout of the cities and the summer heat. This increases the chances of back pain and neck pain. There is also the problem of a forward-dominant-posture, which basically means too long staring at screens. For your spine to be straight you need to have an erect posture so iPads, iPhones and basically looking at any screen creates a flex forward posture which is unnatural and imbalanced. There are a lot chiropractors who have become energy healers and moved to a more spiritual place. I am more in the middle. It is a very natural approach, I look at the body as a whole in its entirety. I will give advice on nutrition, sustenance, posture and the acupuncture brings in a holistic approach, I will look for the root of a person’s problems rather than just try and treat the symptoms helping their body to heal. There is also insurance reports and the bureaucracy of a fee paying clinic. In the United Kingdom I loved playing rugby but, like a lot of jobs, if I get injured I can’t practice so I stopped rugby a while back. I know they do touch rugby with Harlequins and I love team sports so my goal is to get back into that maybe. Any tips for us all to feel better? If you want to feel better in the morning, lying in bed or standing first thing, is a good stretch, not stretching beyond your limits but have a general stretch. Or try and have a quick walk every day, just ten minutes in the morning, you can take the family, or maybe always take the stairs when the opportunity is there.


I’m in bed as our baby seems to take the rest of the energy I have, sometimes I’m in bed before the baby!


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