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Jessica Gallagher

Growing up in Geelong, Jess was diagnosed with a rare eye disease, cone dystrophy, when she was 17 years old. It caused her to lose much of her eyesight and she is now classified as legally blind – but that hasn’t stopped her from achieving amazing things.

Jessica Gallagher (Osteopath)

Jess Gallagher is the first and only Australian athlete (Olympic or Paralympic) to win both Summer and Winter Paralympic medals. She’s a Board Director at Vision 2020 Ausrtalia, ambassador for a number of not-for-profit organisations, a highly sought after motivational speaker…. and she’s also a fully qualified osteopath.

The multi talented athlete has represented Australia in 3 sports. alpine skiing, athletics and most recently track cycling.

In 2010 at the Vancouver Winter Paralympics Jess became the first Australian women to win a Winter Paralympics medal when she won bronze in the Slalom. She won her second Paralympic medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics another bronze, this time in the Giant Slalom.  At the 2016 Rio Paralympics she won bronze in the 1km Time Trial on the tandem

Meet Jess Gallagher from Liforce Osteopathy, Malvern, Victoria. 

How has your osteopathy background helped your athletic training?

It has helped immensely, in particular for the complexities of transitioning my body from one sport to another where there’s a high risk of injury. I have an incredible understanding of how my body works, its strengths, weaknesses and most importantly how hard I can push it and when I need to slow down. It gives me a deeper understanding of the physiological and biomechanical aspects of my sports, which allows me greater ability to be the best I can be. My experience as an athlete has also significantly enhanced my knowledge when treating patients, in particular other athletes.

Why did you choose to study osteopathy?

Growing up playing as much sport as I did, sports medicine was something that interested me. When researching the differing professions I came across osteo and just fell in love with the philosophy. When I lost the majority of my eyesight it gave me an incredible perspective on life at a young age and the osteopathic philosophy of being whole really felt like it embodied who I am as a person and what I believe in. It seemed like a natural fit. I love that there are so many varying techniques that give the body such a diverse range of tools to help it heal, and that I get to use my hands to help others – not my eyesight.

How does your vision impairment affect your services as an osteopath? Do you feel limited or does it heighten your sense of touch?

I don’t feel limited at all being an osteopath with low vision. I do have heightened senses so my palpation skills were naturally advanced along with my hearing. When I was studying my biggest concern was writing clinical notes and reading x-rays, etc., but by the time I graduated they were all online, which means I can use my laptop and adaptive technology to enlarge notes to the size I need. Using the HICAPS/ EFTPOS machine for payments is probably the hardest part, but I have a device that magnifies for spot reading so I utilise this. All the kids think it’s an old-school Game Boy and are very disappointed when I explain what it actually is!


















Latest news

Media Release: Lower back pain & Osteopathy

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints seen by a GP or healthcare professional. It is estimated that over 80% of Australians will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Lower back pain may be acute (new pain) or chronic (longstanding pain), and it can range from mild and annoying to severe and debilitating.

Osteopaths are health professionals who are highly trained to treat lower back pain. An osteopath will explain to you why your pain is present, assist to relieve it with manual therapy and identify any barriers to your recovery. During a consultation with an osteopath, your practitioner will first discuss your case and thoroughly assess your condition.

Osteopathy makes it to the World Cup!

The renowned Limburg osteopath Hub Westhovens from Eys, was flown in to the pre-world cup training camp of the Socceroos in Turkey. He will also be active at the FIFA World Cup to treat injured Australian internationals.