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Mid Year update 2018

Our physios gathered together to have our annual mid year planning day yesterday. With blue chilly skies, but no rain, we had a very enjoyable meeting, lunch, coffee and cake at the Container in Dundas. Food was great, and it’s always a nice time to see where we’ve come from over the last 12 months, and to plan for where we would like to get to over the next 12 months. Our team has changed a little – Kevin Zhu has made way for Angela Zhu (no relation), and our 2 clinics at 1Health and CCMC are all to sit under the banner of Tan Hands. I’ve returned to the clinic for the last 6 months at 1Health working two days a week, and ensuring that the clinic runs the way I would like.

Our theme for the next year ahead is to: Evolve.

Our lives are in constant flux, and it’s no different with business. We have to continue to grow and adapt or we get stagnant and outdated. And with growth, there are healthy ways to grow, and unhealthy ways to grow. But if we find the right balance of internal improvement, and a consistent structure to support our growth, both our lives and business will bear the fruit of all that toil.

One advantage of attending an agricultural school growing up (one that actually insisted that everyone learn agriculture – at that time) was the chance to learn and see how balance of elements (in the right combinations) was the vital part of all growth of animals, plants, and life. Plants need Warmth, Oxygen and Water (WOW) but in the wrong combination, the plants will die or fail to flourish.

For our team of physios, it’s often the danger of getting too busy treating and seeing patients that we lose the time to train, and to do the self reflection on things we could improve on or do better next time. Such as, how do I find the right words to communicate 10% more effectively to that difficult teenager who doesn’t see the link between their poor posture and their neck pain. Or how to better structure our athletes programmes to maximise their potential and strength, but also to prevent them from losing time to injuries and recovery.

And, as we find our balance as people and health professionals, we can help our patients to also find that balance and the positive benefits which that brings to their bodies and lives. So it’s important that our practice encourages balance for our staff, so that they in turn can provide the best care and help for the patients they are seeing.

And with all that said, my split life as a mortgage broker and physio, and team leader, administrator and work at home Dad, has had many elements of being as out of balance as anyones life. But it’s in the wrestle of all these elements to bring them under control and to try to excel in those areas, and to flourish and to try to build a team that also flourishes, is the process that still gets me excited each day – maybe a bit less so the brokering, but it continues to grow on me!

To all of our patients, thanks again for joining us on this journey of life and learning. We thank you always for your stories that challenge and educate us, so that we may all arrive to a point of understanding our bodies and our lives that much better.



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Christmas 2017 news

Just a quick update to let you know that we will be open all the way through the holiday period, except for the public holidays.

We will be shut: Christmas Day – Monday 25th December – Boxing Day – Tuesday 26th December, and New Years Day – Monday 1st January

Adrian is taking some well deserved time off from Christmas for 2 weeks, returning the 8th January 2018.

Derek will be covering for Adrian – working Thursday 28th December, Saturday 30th December; and Tues/Thurs/Sat the following week.

Just after Christmas, Angela Zhu will start work at Carlingford. Angela will spend the first month getting up to speed while working alongside our other physios, seeing how our clinic runs before she begins seeing clients from late January 2018. She is a natural communicator and teacher, with a sharp mind, and a particular interest in hand therapy and women’s health. I am sure she will bring a new perspective to our clinic, and be a great addition to our currently male-centric team!

As always, wishing you the best for your health and family through the Christmas season and into 2018. Hoping that you have some time off to spend time with family and loved ones, and have a moment to reflect on what Christmas means to you. Is it just another public holiday, or is it a day to remember the birth of God’s son down here on Earth? And if it was the latter of the two answers, what was he doing here?

Happy holidays all,


November Update

Hi everyone

I hope things are well in your lives. Just a quick update about me – life as a mortgage broker/physio/at home Dad continues to grow on me. It was roughly February this year when I started really considering working more seriously alongside my Dad, and possibly reducing my physio patient load. The first 6 months were difficult, and both busy busy busy (in terms of things to do and sort out) and slow (in terms of real broking work).

The last 3 months it feels like things are slowly starting to fall into place.  I have a lot of sympathy for those trying to work out of home with kids around – it’s very tempting to only work when the kids are asleep cause of the chaos when you try to sit down for 30 mins. I can feel myself slowly morphing into an office worker … for better or worse!

I’ve still been treating patients, but I miss the clinic routine – I miss seeing patients, I miss being on my feet all day, the buzz and tiredness that comes after a hard, busy day of work – full of so many people’s lives and stories. I miss the satisfaction that comes from assessing and treating the wonderful, beautiful, complex human body (and of course inflicting a bit of pain!).

So, with Manfred away for the next few weekends (enjoying some well earned annual leave), I’ll be back around the clinic a bit more – Saturdays (9-12), and a few Monday and Wed afternoons (2-5pm) over the next 3+ weeks from 18th Nov to the 9th Dec. The plan is still to see how things re-balance in early 2018 before I can confirm the days/times that I’ll return to physio work at Carlingford.

Come see me if those times work out well, it’s always great to catch up and see how you are all getting along! And while you are getting your back or neck etc seen to – would you like a home loan with that?



July Update

This is the email that I sent out to my mini mailing list of patients from 2017. If you want to join the mailing list – just drop me a quick note at:


Hi All

Just a quick note to let you know that I am briefly back at Carlingford Court Medical Centre between the dates 12th July  and 3rd Aug 2017. You are receiving this email because you were a patient of mine in the last 5 months, and I’m doing my best to keep people updated of what is happening.

I am returning to cover the clinic while one of the physios is off on paternal leave and while one of the other physios is on a course. It will be Mondays and Wednesdays 10-5, and a one off Thursday 9-5. Please contact the clinic or check online for availability. If you want to see me outside of those times, drop me an email and I’ll see what I can arrange.

If you are currently seeing one of the other physios at the clinic, don’t feel obliged to move your appointments over to me. I am grateful to have staff that have are covering the clinic and working hard to get your bodies in good shape, and if all things are going well, it might be just as well to let things continue as you are currently.

For those that just want to know how things are going – things have been good, but incredibly busy, much more so than I could have expected after finishing work at Carlingford. The time available each day just flies by so quickly, and I’ve had to reduce my expectations of what I can achieve or do – I’ve pretty much settled on the following criteria for a good day – if the kids have eaten breakfast and are dressed for school, and we get to school on time – it’s been a good day. Everything else is a bonus!

My plans otherwise haven’t changed much, but I’ve got much more empathy for those with little kids, and doing the bulk of the home duties –it’s certainly a different busy-ness. Enjoying parts of it, as seems to be the case with most parenting things. Am still planning on being away till the start of 2018, but will have the odd days in at the clinic during that time.

Anyway, thanks for reading this and if you didn’t enjoy it – please let me know and I will bump you from this mailing list – I wont take it personally!

Keep warm!


Where has Derek gone?

To all my patients both new and old,

Over the recent Easter break, I decided that it was time to step away from treating at Carlingford. It’s a combination of needing time off to work with my Dad who’s looking to retire shortly and runs his own mortgage broking business. It’s also that my wife has returned to work 3 days a week. And it’s also that I’ve got 3 young kids (all girls!) 7, 3 and 1 years old. And it’s mostly just needing more time to do the things that need to be done at home, work, church, life – and to do them properly that has prompted this life change.

I will be around. The clinic and how we run things and treat should not change. I will be in the clinic discussing different case studies with the physios and checking in on how they are going. There’s still the back office, management and admin side of things that needs my deft touch. I will be easily contactable – either by email –; or by mobile – 0406 639 746.

I appreciate all the kind words over the last few weeks of support and encouragement through this phase of life. I really have valued those that have given me advice, words of wisdom, and also for those that have told me to just stick around in the clinic and fix them up (I’ll miss you guys too!)

I’ve never been scared of change, and I know that making this change is only possible due to the hard working, dedicated staff that are occupying CCMC and taking on all my regular and occasionally difficult patients. The guys really will take good care of you, and the last few years we’ve really worked hard together to try to treat and keep notes consistently.

I have committed to taking the next 6-7 months off, and provisionally returning in early 2018 when (hopefully) things are more settled, organised and the other priorities in life have become a little less pressing.

I will update you more as the plans become clearer, but as I said before – feel free to contact me about issues in the clinic, any treatment questions, or if you happen to be needing a loan or are looking at refinancing! – I’m already registered with the MFAA (Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia) as a mortgage broker, and who better to talk to then a physio-cum-broker – I’m certainly one of a kind in that regard!

Talk soon


Christmas hours 2016

What a quick 2016 – as each year flies by, it’s a great time as any to sit and reflect on the hard work and progress that has been made over the last year. I hope 2016 was a memorable one for you and for all the right reasons.

At the clinic, it’s been a really fruitful year – busy, steady, lots of treatments done, and lots of personal growth for all the physios.

So we look back on 2016 fondly, towards the holidays with quiet expectation, and to 2017 (hopefully) with refreshed minds and bodies ready to meet the challenges of learning more about our bodies, working out how to best convey that information to our wonderful patients and referrers, and refining the way we do physio day by day and year by year.

We will be open all the way through Christmas and New Year, except for the public holidays. On Christmas Eve the physios will finish at 1pm, and we will be working normal clinic hours otherwise.

Derek will be away between the 16th Dec to 28th Dec

Adrian will be away from Christmas Day, returning to work the 9th Jan

Manfred will be taking leave from the 14th Jan for 2 weeks. 

Have a merry Christmas and a safe holiday period all. Thanks for sharing your lives, your aches, your pains and your stories with us in 2016 – I think we all deserve a holiday!

Our first GEM stud

In late October, Josh Wong a final year student at Sydney Uni, started a 5 week practical with us. Josh is our first ever GEM (Graduate Entry Masters) student at Tan Hands, and he had the fun task of following our physios around, seeing what we do, and how we do it, and getting his hands on whenever was possible.

It was a little more cramped for space in our treatment rooms – but a really great fun 5 weeks of learning and teaching was had by all. I personally got a kick out of challenging Josh to think outside his Uni training – and also about telling patients how Josh was having some of the same injuries as them – with the same patients replying by telling Josh that he wasn’t old enough to have those pains! the final day meal and the demonstration of physio-touch required to split an egg tart by Cliff was a highlight tooimag0787a

Now over to a quick Q & A with Josh:

How did you enjoy your placement?
This placement was probably the most enjoyable out of the 4 I completed this year. Compared to the others, this one was of more interest to me, but at the same time more challenging. Everyday was a revelation to how much there is still to learn outside of uni as Derek and the other guys shared parts of their wealth of knowledge to me.

Most memorable experience/patient?
Hard to say what was the most memorable, but the one that seems to come to mind is when Derek dry needled a patient experiencing coccyx pain (literally, pain in the butt) from tight ischiococcygeus muscles. Those were the loudest screams during my 5 weeks.

What are two things you learnt?
Hard to narrow down the hundreds of things I learnt these few weeks down to two, but if I had to choose two meaningful ones to me they would be:
1. If we’re able to correctly identify the main problem (the primary driver) and apply proper treatment, effects of the treatment are often immediate, noticeable and longterm
2. Useful information is extremely important in patient diagnosis, and gathering this information can be done in so many more ways than just history taking. History taking is a skill in itself, but information can come from what we see, what we feel, patient response during and between treatments, and much more.

Any advice for future students?
As with any musculoskeletal placement, revising anatomy and common MS conditions would be helpful. Other than that, have an open mind for the different approaches that differ from what uni teaches and be prepared to be confused at the magic (or sorcery) that Derek and the other guys do.


All the best Josh with your future physio career, and thank you to all the patients who kindly let Josh practice on their bodies!


The last six months of work/life has been hectic! Adding another child into the household has taken some time to adjust to – with so many new demands it’s been quite a task to get time to myself – let alone keep up with all the day to day jobs. It’s definitely been a juggle, and as a parent of young kids, I’ve come to accept that you’re going to have a lot of balls in the air, and some are going to hit the ground; but you’ve got to try to stay on top of the essentials, and manage the rest and plow along regardless of how many balls fall!


And as with raising kids, when I think of core stability – I think less of planking, and building “rock hard abs” – and more about a system that adapts in optimal ways to the demands placed upon it. With kids, you feed them, bathe them, make sure they get to school and bed on time, and you can’t worry about the mess taking over the house, or the odd spilled milk.

With our bodies, it’s not about staying completely rigid and erect in your spine; what’s more important is that when new or increased demands are placed on your body, that you can adapt to that and cope with it. And to do that, you need a balance of strength between small deep muscles, and large superficial muscles and the co-ordination to use them well. This is what our physios can help guide you through.

In our clinic, we have been fortunate to have had stability in our staff personnel. Manfred joined our team in February this year, and our existing physio staff have already been working for multiple years at Carlingford. Stability and consistency of our service is important, and having the same staff in place means we can make stability a feature of our service. We look forward to continuing to build on this “foundation”

Thanks for your continued support, and as always take care everyone


New additions

Just a quick update to let people know that on the March 18th 2016, a new baby girl was brought into our lives.

Taylor Tan – weighing 3.1kg – a relatively smooth birth.

It’s been a busy time in her (and our) life, trying to find her way in this big world. But she has her sisters, their toys, and her mummy and daddy to help show her the way. We thank God for a healthy baby and for the smooth, relatively painless delivery of her.

This a sleepy Taylor, about 13 hours old:

DSC_3809 (Large)

The other new addition is Manfred Kwok, a physiotherapist working with us part time, who started with us in February of this year. Manfred has had experience working at Auburn hospital and Rhodes in a private practice, and he started his career observing yours truly when he was just finishing year 12. Needless to say Manfred is looking forward to helping you with any complaints you may have. He is covering Wednesday’s and Saturdays.

I will be on leave, returning the 4th April. I hopefully will come back (a little) rested!


Christmas and New Year 2015 hours

Hi everyone

I’m sure everyone has had a busy year, and is looking forward to the holiday season. This year our team of 3 physios and 1 part time receptionist, have had 2 kids, seen 1 child start kindergarten  (and win an Academic Achievement award!), 1 child on the way next March,  and 1 new house built!

The team have worked hard to provide great service, educate our fellow health professionals and patients and continue to improve how we do things in our clinic. We love to get feedback, so please feel free to email your comments through to

If you’re wondering what our hours are over the next few weeks:

Dec 24th – Christmas Eve – closing at 3pm

Dec 25th to 28th – Closed

Jan 1st – Closed

Jan 4th – normal work hours resume.

  • Derek will be on leave from the 25th to the 6th January
  • Cliff will be on holidays from the 11th January to the 24th January

Merry Christmas and a safe happy new Years to all our patients and staff. We thank you for being with us this last year, and we look forward to a brief rest before 2016 rolls in!