Episode 5: Q & A with @Val_Topaz
Updated: Sep 16
Hi, I’m Valery Topaz but you can call me Val. Having been born in the Ukraine, growing up in Israel, living for a year in the Netherlands and recently moving to Melbourne, Australia, I am pretty much citizen of the world. I am a manual therapist focusing on posture improvement, chronic pain syndromes and pre/post-natal treatments. Nowadays I am a part of a great team at Centre 4 Health, a multi-disciplinary health clinic in Caulfield South. https://centre4health.com.au/ You can contact me via Valery@centre4health.com.au and find me on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/valery-topaz-2629b711b I am really excited to be a part of this wonderful initiative to promote wellbeing, important knowledge and barefoot living. *Val is also offering our lucky Melbourne followers $20 off treatments! 1. Good Morning Val, Thank you for being on board Good morning Alex. It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Melbourne today, isn’t it? 2. How are you, and what does a normal day consist of for you? I’m doing great, thank you for asking. Happy and positive 😊 It’s 10am, I’m at the clinic, finishing my article about the importance of proper shoes in order to reduce or avoid pack pain. https://centre4health.com.au/blog/shoes-and-back-pain/ I can’t say that I have a morning routine since routine is not really my thing but there are a few things that are pretty constant. Daniel our son is always the first to wake up and wake us up, our breakfast is usually water and lots of fresh fruit and for exercise we either dance or do yoga. 3. What was the inspiration behind your career path and how long have you been doing this for? Having always been fascinated by the human body and its mechanics, I was naturally drawn to the study of human movement. Thus began a journey studying various techniques, analysis systems and of course human anatomy, physiology and basic sciences. For the past 7 years I’ve been treating people with chronic pain, postural issues, injuries related to sports and active lifestyle. I also have a passion for networking and communicating with like minded health practitioners, having created many groups, networks and communication channels. 4. What kind of treatments do you specialize in? Over the years my focus changed from strictly sports related injuries and maintenance and improving athletic performance to chronic pain in the general population. I specialize in posture correction, improving foot function, lymphatic drainage, pre/post-natal treatments and chronic pain syndromes. 5. You’ve had the opportunity of working in many different countries, are there any differences you’ve noticed? Well, since both Haifa in Israel and Melbourne in Australia are multi-cultural and the area in the Netherlands where we lived, Eindhoven, is sort of the equivalent to silicone valley in the US, I got to treat a broad variety of people with different backgrounds, approaches and views. Each person is unique and different and in the same time very similar. The differences were mainly in the approach of the society in each country on a governmental level to alternative methods of health improvement.
6. Have you faced any injuries yourself, and what advice could you offer for people living with an injury? A long time ago, before I ever started studying, I was involved in a car accident as a passenger and injured my left shoulder. After seeing 3 doctors and getting different tests, scans and diagnoses but no answers, I turned to alternative medicine. It was a big clinic that scheduled the first appointment with an integrative doctor that would determine what’s wrong and offer a rehabilitation plan. He was the first one who got it right. He was the one that made me realize how important it is to gain as much knowledge as possible to get to the root cause of each issue and to recognize the ideal solution for it. Besides that, I suffered from multiple ankle sprains, flat feet and hyperlordosis that resulted in a sore back and ankle instability that affected my balance. The solution was barefoot shoes and yoga. 7. What are the most common foot injuries you come across in your profession, and are they trauma related or postural/biomechanical etc? When I was working with athletes it was pretty easy to guess what the issue would be because each sport has its common injuries and typical posture/ state of specific muscles. So does pregnancy, there are common orthopedic issues that are likely to appear. Whereas post-natal issues may vary since the woman’s posture and health issues from before will suggest what are her “weaknesses”. When it comes to feet, there is a natural process of weakening of the ligaments in the feet due to high level of Relaxin hormone and a reverse process that starts right after giving birth. Feet need special attention during this time. Regarding the general population I’ve noticed that bunions used to be an issue of mostly women after the age of 40-50. Today I see lots of kids and teens with flat feet and bunions. The lack of movement and fashion shoes are taking their toll on the general population’s wellbeing and health. 8. How did you stumble across barefoot footwear, and what are your thoughts? The first time I heard about barefoot shoes was related to running from one of the trainers I used to work with. The main thing that I’ve noticed when working with the athletes on his team that were running in barefoot shoes was their unbelievable awareness of their own body. A few months later another client I worked with, who was doing crossfit and running, told me about his positive experiences after doing the transition to barefoot running. At the time I had no idea there Hi, I’m Valery Topaz but you can call me Val. Having been born in the Ukraine, growing up in Israel, living for a year in the Netherlands and recently moving to Melbourne, Australia, I am pretty much citizen of the world. I am a manual therapist focusing on posture improvement, chronic pain syndromes and pre/post-natal treatments. Nowadays I am a part of a great team at Centre 4 Health, a multi-disciplinary health clinic in Caulfield South. https://centre4health.com.au/ You can contact me via Valery@centre4health.com.au and find me on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/valery-topaz-2629b711b I am really excited to be a part of this wonderful initiative to promote wellbeing, important knowledge and barefoot living. 9. What shoes do you wear most often? At the moment, I wear Vivobarefoot Primus Lite as my everyday and work shoes. They are extremely light and comfortable with or without socks. For the summer time I am awaiting a shipment of shoes for me and my family from Tikki shoes with a few sandals and also ordered hiking/aqua shoes for all of us on eBay. I promise to fill you in once they arrive and we test them! 10.What are your plans/goals for the future? Oh… I’ve got plans for more than one lifetime. A few are to offer workshops regarding movement and posture, particularly feet workshops. Another thing is to offer pregnant women and young mothers support and pain relief. Hopefully, next year, I will be done writing my protocol for Manual Treatment of Buffalo hump and release it. It’s a unique protocol I use to provide a fast, effective and conservative solution for the Buffalo / Dowager’s hump. Thank you for stopping by, and all the best in the future! Thank you for the opportunity, the interesting blog and all the info on your Instagram. I would also like to thank my awesome team at Centre 4 Health that are always there for any discussion and are open to share their knowledge and ideas. I want to thank Eyal Shemesh for his bright mind and drive to share his unique insights with the world, Tom Myers and Yaron Gal Carmel for ATSI, David Frisher- my mentor, My partner Simon who turned our travel dreams into reality, my son Daniel for allowing me to follow the human development and natural movement with such great joy and love of life and to my soul sister, Hanna Geels for being in my life.
*Val is also offering our lucky Melbourne followers $20 off treatments!