An accident with an irrigator on the dairy farm where he worked left Kris Esguerra with a fractured wrist, several back and neck strains and severe headaches that worsened over time.
Kris says the well-meaning attempts of doctors to diagnose the cause of his headaches failed and the drugs they prescribed him only masked the symptoms. After several months of debilitating pain and desperate to find a cure, he searched for answers and came across osteopathy.
“I didn’t have a clue what osteopathy was until that moment,” Kris says. “With nothing to lose, I decided to give it a try. At my very first appointment with an amazing osteopath, I got the answers I’d been seeking for months. She examined me and was able to thoroughly explain how and why I’d had these symptoms and - most importantly – their root cause. For the first time, it all made sense.”
Several treatments later, Kris was headache-free, pain-free and back on his feet. The experience exposed him to what he describes as ‘competent and compassionate health professionals’ and inspired him to become one.
He chose to study the Bachelor of Musculoskeletal Health at Ara, leading to a Postgraduate Diploma in Osteopathy. “Elsewhere, you’d need to completes five years of study to become an osteopath.” he says, “but Ara’s degree is condensed into four years which means I can join the workforce a year earlier, and with less student debt.”
Kris says one of the things he’s enjoying most about the programme is how practical it is. “It’s heavy on practical, hands-on application of what we’re learning in our theory classes, and this is important because osteopathy is a form of manual therapy. As a student, you get hundreds of hours of clinical practice in real osteopathic clinics so by the time you graduate, you’re already very familiar with osteopathic work. I’ve met and observed osteopaths around Christchurch and seen them in action. I get very excited every time I see them treat conditions without any drugs.”
Kris is impressed by the quality of his tutors at Ara. “They are some of the best in their fields and they’re very supportive. Their teaching style revolves around the students and they will go out of their way for the sake of their students’ learning. Ara is like that – if you need anything, help is always at hand. The atmosphere is relaxed, multicultural and very welcoming.”
Kris’s long-term plan is to set up his own osteopathic practice in North Canterbury where there aren’t enough osteopaths to meet demand. He also wants to make osteopathy more accessible to people in tough financial circumstances. “Everybody deserves better health, regardless of their economic background.”