Published: November 25, 2019 | Updated: November 26, 2019

Bridge over troubled bones: Husband and wife mark ‘family feel’ clinic’s first four months

Paul and Louise O’Connell, owners of Bridge Health & Wellbeing in Christchurch. Picture:
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A husband and wife who have invested £60,000 in a new clinic in the heart of Christchurch are celebrating their first four months in business.

Paul and Louise O’Connell launched Bridge Health & Wellbeing at the end of July.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was carried out by Steve Hard, Head Physiotherapist at AFC Bournemouth.

The Bridge Street clinic covers 311 square metres and includes three private treatment rooms, a state of the art rehabilitation gym for the clinic’s patients and a studio for classes in pilates, yoga and thai chi.

Paul, 40, is an experienced musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapist with more than two decades of clinical experience, working in the NHS before moving to the private sector, latterly with Nuffield Health for more than 13 years.

One of his areas of special interest is sports medicine.

He has worked both on the touchline and in sports injuries clinics and now lectures on the sports therapy programme at Bournemouth University.

Meanwhile Louise, 39, is a pilates expert with 15 years’ experience in the private fitness industry.

One of the three private treatment rooms.

She started her career with a degree in sports studies, before working for a number of health clubs, spas and corporate gyms.

After taking a break to have her two children, Neave, now six, and Henry, four, she decided to go back to her first love, teaching group exercise classes, and is now a qualified specialist in body control pilates.

“Things just came together. I felt it was time for a complete change and we both decided to start our own business,” said Paul.

“We’ve got off to a steady start and have been very encouraged by the response. People have been overwhelmingly positive and really like the facilities. We’re very pleased.”

Louise said: “We’ve deliberately made sure it doesn’t feel like a clinical or hospital environment.

“It’s got a friendly family feel and, because of the size, makes a great venue for networking events as well. We’re keen get the local community to share our facilities as much as possible.

Louise O’Connell (third left) and some of the participants in the first Women’s Wellness event.

“We’ve already held our first Women’s Wellness event with taster treatments from Christchurch Derma Spa, reflexology from Coast Reflexology, tasty treats supplied by Minnies Bakery as well as fantastic new leisure wear by Dauphie.

“The Soul Space treated everyone to a fantastic hatha flow yoga class and a lucky few sampled an Indian head massage.

‘It was such a fun evening and a great opportunity for people to come and try lots of different things, speak to professionals and enjoy our wonderful facilities.

“We’re looking forward to hosting another Wellness event in the new year.”