When Maria Larrain’s infant son was suddenly taken very ill and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, she was introduced to the field of osteopathy and its lifechanging effects. As a result, she retrained as an osteopath specialising in paediatrics, and opened the Butterfield Osteopathy in Stoke Newington, London. Designed by artist Michael Elmgreen, the Butterfield practice is a calming sanctuary, dedicated to helping clients attain a higher level of comfort and wellbeing.
Established in 2010, Butterfield Osteopathy is a Stoke Newington-based osteopathic clinic devised to create an oasis of calm in the clamorous midst of inner-city London. Operating with a holistic, client-centric approach to healthcare, Butterfield specialises in paediatric and family osteopathy alongside care for all ages, reducing stress and allostatic loads in a tranquil environment.
Originally created in a derelict Victorian shop as part of the Hackney Council’s plans for regeneration in Stoke Newington, the Butterfield practice has been conscientiously designed by owner Maria Larrain, with the help of her friend, Michael Elmgreen, one half of artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset. Encapsulating the practice’s boutique approach to healing, whilst steering away from an overtly clinical feel, a great glass door was created that looked out onto the practice’s beautiful garden, creating a tranquil cohesion between nature and architecture that culminates in a sanctuary of wellbeing which guests visit to experience the easing and dissipation of their stresses and health problems.
For Maria and her team, osteopathy is a subtle blend of art and science which is implemented to help patients of all ages and walks of life. Helping to resolve issues caused by the normal wear and tear of life and age, as well as sports injuries and discomfort in pregnancies,the Butterfield practitioners are all highly trained and encouraged to consistently further their professional development in order to offer the highest standards of care. Combined with the practice’s use of cutting-edge technology, such as shockwave therapy for chronic pain and injuries, Butterfield is able to provide expert osteopathic care that has been proven to make real differences in the lives of their patients.
Maria’s career path had not initially been directed towards osteopathy but television, in which she had spent most of her twenties working for MTV. She took a break from her career, unaware that following the birth of her son, Ethan, her career would take off on a completely different trajectory. When Ethan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at six months old, Maria was first introduced to the field of osteopathy and the lifechanging work within it. She decided to retrain as an osteopath and open a practice that could serve the families of the community she had lived in since 1999.
Today, she is also involved in the training of postgraduate osteopaths at the University College of Osteopathy in paediatric osteopathy and is currently undertaking a PhD in medical anthropology examining the maternal experience of breastfeeding difficulties related to infant tongue-tie with the world-renowned Department of Anthropology at University College London. This work has been inspired by the countless cases of feeding difficulties seen in Maria’s practice alone.
Thanks to the experiences of her own family and the dense population of under-3-year olds in Stoke Newington that exceeds any other area in Europe, Maria and her practice specialise in paediatric and cranial osteopathic care. All Butterfield osteopaths are post-graduates in the treatment of children and mothers and each have an active interest in furthering the research of osteopathy within this demographic. Children are not merely small people, but an entirely different species that is constantly growing and developing and therefore requires specialised care. Butterfield takes pride in its practitioners’ ability to differentiate the paediatric conditions that are presented to them, and recognition of their obligation to refer them to a medical practitioner if necessary. Back pain in a young child can be a major red flag and whilst parents rely on their osteopaths, in reality these children need to be referred. Safety in paediatric care is of paramount importance to Butterfield and the team are not afraid to hand over to more qualified hands when needed.
Butterfield’s superlative care has not been impeded by the Covid-19 pandemic, although the toy box has been swapped out for PPE for the time being. Following strict measures such as wearing full PPE when practising, the Butterfield team are ensuring that they are able to maintain a safe and comfortable experience for their patients. Even when the practice was closed during the first lockdown, Maria and her team continued providing online support until they were able to restart face-to-face treatments, ensuring that even in the face of adversity, Butterfield patients know they are in good hands.