Meet Our Practitioners

Learn about the team here at Walnut Grove.  We love what we do.

Gemma Sperring  M.Ost

Gemma graduated from Swansea University with a Master’s in Osteopathy in 2015.   She has since gained a qualification in dry needling (acupuncture) which she uses alongside osteopathic techniques.

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Gemma has a keen interest in treating chronic pain conditions, this developed following her research thesis into lower back pain and depression.  In the future she would like to continue this research and embark on courses to expand her knowledge in order to enhance treatment.

Gemma is a local girl and lives in Portishead with her family.

Steve Harper  BSc (Hons) Ost
Osteopathy / Cranial Osteopathy

Steve grew up in Nailsea and as a youngster developed a keen interest in sports, playing for Avon County Basketball Team and gaining a black belt in Tae-kwon-Do, which he taught for two years.

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Following school he went on to achieve a degree in Physiology and Biochemistry from Reading University.  Still keen on sports he picked up the inevitable injury which lead to an interest in sports medicine and osteopathy particularly.  Steve qualified from The British School of Osteopathy in 2003.

Steven treats using both structural and cranial osteopathic approaches and also uses dry needling (western acupuncture).

Since 2010 Steve has worked for Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club and also helps to look after the first team players at Bristol City Football Club.

Linda Isaacs  BSC (Hons)  MCSP  CPC

Linda qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1999 from the University of East London and has since had an extensive and varied career in the NHS, sports and private sector.

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Linda has developed an approach which combines hands on treatment to the affected area alongside self management, advice and exercises to prevent re-occurrence and aid recovery.  She has a special interest in sporting injuries in adolescents and is club physio for the Academy of Gymnastics in Portishead.

She has also trained as a Pilates instructor.  She teaches rehab Pilates classes here at the clinic.

Linda lives in Portishead with her husband and two children.


Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture
/ Herbal Medicine / Qi Gong

Dr Tong practices Chinese medicine which includes both acupuncture and herbal medicine.  He also teaches Qi Gong.  He is trained in both Western and Chinese medicine and has worked in a prominent Beijing hospital as a medical doctor with special training in neurology.

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Dr Tong has carried out research into Neuroscience at the University of Reading, the University of Wales (Swansea) and the Institute of Neurology, Queens Square, London.

He is able to help people who present with a variety of health problems.   He has a particular interest in Parkinson’s disease, strokes and other neurological disorders.  He also has great success in combating infertility.

Dr Tong lives with his wife and son in Clevedon.

Jo Gallagher  PT Level 3
Suspension Training / Personal Training

Jo has run competitively for many years and originally came to Walnut Grove as a patient.  She discovered how Suspension Training improved her own fitness and decided to train as an instructor so that she could help others.  Jo is also a level 3 PT instructor with fitness nutrition so can help with all levels of fitness and health.

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While some suspension training is directed at athletes, Jo has a particular interest in using it to rehabilitate people, helping them overcome injuries and mobility problems.

She enjoys the great outdoors, walking, running or cycling the nature reserve or the coastal path with her teenage son and her dog Alfie.

Rebecca Rock
Level 3 Pilates Instructor

Rebecca began her career in the health industry back in the mid 1990’s, having completed a diploma in Dance and Fitness and also taking qualifications towards an Advanced Fitness Instruction Diploma.

In 2003, her passion for Pilates led to her qualifying as a mat based Pilates instructor.

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With her new found knowledge she integrated many of her methods into her existing relaxation and stretching classes.  After having two children Rebecca utilised her Pilates skills and knowledge to rehabilitate herself back to full fitness.  It was at this time she specialised in Pilates, teaching classes, facilitating small group training and delivering one to one sessions, most notably at the Mind Body Studio in Redland.

Rebecca lives in Portishead with her husband, two children and her dogs.


Tanya Hewitt MSc  BSc (Hons)  MCSP HCPC
Chartered Physiotherapist

Tanya is a Chartered Physiotherapist and graduated from Cardiff in 1995.  She also holds an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health awarded from the University of Bristol in 2002.  Tanya specialises in treating musculoskeletal injuries and spinal pain using manual therapy, acupuncture …

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… and exercise prescription.  Tanya is a member of the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute and runs rehab pilates classes at the clinic.

Tanya has also worked with numerous sports teams and events, including Sussex County Cricket Club, Bristol Rovers, the London Marathon, and the Academy of Gymnastics in Portishead.

She has competed at a high level in sporting events including triathlon and cycling, completing a stage of the Tour de France.

Tanya lives in Portishead with her husband and 3 children.

Michelle Jenkins  MTI (Reg)
Holistic Massage Therapist

Michelle started as a patient at Walnut Grove.  She was so inspired she decided to enrol on an holistic massage course with the City of Bristol College.  Following this she also gained a first class honours degree in biomedical science in 2001.  She also works in the Histopathology Department of the BRI.

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Michelle feels that massage therapy can aid recuperation after illness and injury and also improve your state of mind – as well as helping you de-stress, relax and get better sleep.

Michelle has a special interest in expectant mums who do particularly well with massage throughout pregnancy.

Michelle was a competitive water polo player and in 2010 medalled in the World Masters in Australia.  She stills swims regularly and lives in Portishead with her family.

Kathryn Harper  BSc (Hons) Ost

As a teenager Kathryn suffered from upper back problems and was treated by an osteopath with great results.  This inspired Kathryn so much she qualified at the British School of Osteopathy in 2002.  Since training she has studied dry needling (western acupuncture) and Pilates training …

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… at the Australian Physiotherapy & Pilates Institute – often using both with treatment plans.  Kathryn has a special interest in pre and post natal female patients.  Many women are led to believe that low back and pelvic pain is an inevitable side effect of pregnancy and are not aware how much treatment and the correct advice can help them.

Kathryn is also a registered practitioner for the Arthritis Action Charity.

Kathryn is married to Steve and they have two children, plus Rufus the spaniel.

Alex Prince  BSc (Hons)  Ost
Osteopathy / Cranial Osteopathy

As a very active sportsman, Alex naturally became fascinated by sports medicine and then developed an interest in biomechanics.  He graduated from the British School of Osteopathy in 1996.  Alex now sees a wide variety of patients.  He has a passion for sports injuries …

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… and also a special interest in cranial osteopathy and the treatment of babies and infants.

Alex has a passion for travel.  He has travelled throughout the world; Antarctica, Asia, throughout the Americas as well as Europe.  He practised in Christchurch, NZ, and he has also spent a ski season treating injuries on the slopes in France.

He is a keen runner and triathlete and lives in Bristol with his wife and baby daughter.

Wendy Heath  RSHom

Wendy is a qualified Homeopath, registered with the Society of Homeopaths. She has been practicing in the Portishead and Bristol area since 1993.   Homeopathy is a gentle and safe way of treating the whole person – looking at the physical, emotional and mental state of the patient.

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It is safe for babies, pregnant women and the elderly, working alongside conventional medicine.

Wendy treats a range of problems eczema, psoriasis, asthma, migraines, arthritis, period and menopausal problems to name but a few.

A very small amount of the diluted substance is given in the form of impregnated sugar pills.  It acts by stimulating the persons own healing system.

Wendy offers a free 15 minute consultation – to give you an idea as to whether Homeopathy can help you – ask at reception.

Tom Riddell  BSc Sports Rehabilitation
Sports Massage Therapy

Tom graduated from The University of Salford with a degree in Sport Rehabilitation.  During his time at university he also worked with professional rugby league side Castleford Tigers, providing massage and rehabilitation to the players.  He has also provided massage at the London Marathon.

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Tom enjoys sport – he plays squash and golf, but the sport he’s most passionate about is swimming.  He swam for Clevedon Swimming Club for 10 years and was senior club captain for 2 years.  He also swam at county level representing Somerset in the Masters League, and was also the junior team manager for four years.

He now teaches swimming PT to children and adults at Parish Wharf and the Strode Leisure Centres.

Tom lives in Bristol with his wife.

Esther Barton BSc Ost
Osteopathy / Cranial Osteopathy

Esther worked for several years as a contemporary dancer and teacher, and during this time experiencing the benefits of osteopathic treatment and her growing interest in holistic healthcare led her to train in osteopathy.

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Esther qualified in 2006 at the European School of Osteopathy where she developed a keen interest in working with women during and after pregnancy and in treating babies and children.  She has pursued these interests through on going post graduated studies in cranial osteopathy, paediatric and obstetric osteopathy.  Esther uses both structural and cranial approaches in her treatments as well as offering yoga based stretches and exercises drawn from her long personal practice and exploration through several styles of yoga.

Esther continues to follow her passion for dance and yoga and enjoys walking and running in nature. She lives in Bristol with her son and their cat Monty.

Justine Blaber

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Gemma Hitchens
Pilates Instructor

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Gary Condon
Hypnotherapist  DHP, HPD, Dip NLP, CBT Dip,
Mast Hyp, CNMC, Senior member GMR

Gary began training as a counsellor at Bridgwater College and Oxford College while gaining valuable supervision and training as a volunteer crisis line operator with “Mind”.

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Gary then went on to gain qualification as a Life Coach, and continued his study to achieve a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming.  The journey was a deeply personal one as well as an educational one.

Gary completed his therapeutic training by attending “The Clifton Practice” in Bristol where he gained his diploma in Modern Hypnotherapy and Solution Focused Psychotherapy.

Hypnotherapy can help make positive changes to negative thought and behaviour patterns.  Book your free initial consultation with reception to find out how hypnotherapy can help you.

Fiona Boag DipBSoM
Meditation & Mindfulness

As a qualified solicitor and project manager, Fiona knows all about trying to achieve a work/life balance, and the need for calmness in our busy lives.

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She trained with the British School of Meditation, and achieved a distinction in her studies, and is registered as a teacher with “Be Mindful”, who connect local teachers to those seeking tuition.
Having attended Hatha yoga classes in the school summer holidays, the concepts of meditation, mindfulness and “tuning in” to your breath and body continued through periods of exams, a busy working life, and fitted into everyday life, leading to Fiona training to teach meditation.
Fiona encourages everyone to find a style of meditation that suits them, to give practical tips and techniques for daily mindfulness, and to give you the inspiration and ideas for your own meditation practice, whether at home, outside, on the bus, the train…..anywhere!

We have all the right people, let us Help You

Our story starts here

Walnut Grove was started in 1992 by Zara Ford B.Sc (Ost) MBAcC.  Zara qualified from the British School of Osteopathy in 1992 and the British College of Acupuncture in 1994.  She then completed a post-graduate diploma in Sports Osteopathy and has a specialist interest in sports injuries.  She has worked in elite athletics, including attending two Olympic Games.

Zara has qualifications in pilates and suspension training and this self help is very much part of her approach.

Zara is an elite windsurfer and currently holds 2 world records for women’s speed windsurfing and is the fastest woman on any sailing craft over the nautical mile.  She has been British speed windsurfing champion 9 times, European champion 6 times and won the world speed windsurfing championships and British slalom windsurfing championships in 2016.

She lives with her Husband and Ziggy in Clevedon.