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John Oldham

Registered Physiotherapist



John graduated from the New Zealand School of Physiotherapy in 1965 and has lived and practiced in Canada since. He has served the Physiotherapy Licensing body in British Columbia as a President and as a Council Member.

John along with Cliff Fowler and David Lamb were the founders of the Canadian System of manual therapy instruction in 1971. These three represented Canada in the very first international manual therapy conference where the preeminent manual therapy specialists in the world gathered to exchange knowledge and to set up an international standard of training and testing for manual therapists. This group formed the IFOMPT (International Federation of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy), which sets the standard for manual training throughout the world today. In 1974, John became the inaugural president of the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and was the Chief Examiner for the Canadian System. In 1997, he became the inaugural president of CAMT (Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapists) which is the regulating body in Canada responsible for upholding the international standard for orthopaedic manual therapy and grants the highest credential for advanced orthopaedic manual therapy, the
fellow (FCAMPT).

In 2002, John received the prestigous the Golden Hands Award which is awarded in honour of David Lamb to an exceptional orthopaedic physiotherapist that exemplifies the commitment to our profession in manual therapy, education, mentorship and research.

He worked collaboratively with Dr. W. H. Fahrni, Orthopedic Surgeon, whose research led to a unique approach to the treatment of spinal pain, for 25 years. His approach and philosophy to treatment reflects years of research and experience from working with patients crippled by low back pain, and because of this the manipulative technique he prefers to use today is very gentle. Osteopaths refer to it as Functional Technique.

John was also recruited to instruct the advanced course in low back pain at the UBC School of Physiotherapy for his expertise in this area.

His special interest is in chronic spinal pain and its relationship with breathing. There is a direct and causal relationship between posture and the way one breathes. Dysfunctional breathing is often overlooked in most medical examinations and can be the cause for spine misalignment, jaw pain, chronic widespread pain, and chronic fatigue. He has been invited to speak all over the world on this topic.

In 1974, John experienced a severe whiplash associated disorder and has lived with the effects since giving him empathy with clients. Showing that one can have limitations yet lead an active lifestyle, John continues to be a keen hiker, canoeist, and downhill skier.

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** Jonh retired this year but still actively consults with the physiotherapists at Kerrisdale.






The physiotherapist, John Oldham, has been keeping me pain-free for 25 years. Now I only need to see him a few times a year, for maintenance, or when I have some sort of emergency.

I live in Mission and come to the clinic by public transportation, which can take 2 to 3 hours each way.  While there are several physiotherapists in Mission, I have not yet found one who does those gentle movements, which give me immediate relief.

What I really like about John Oldham is his honesty.  He will tell you upfront if he can help you or not.  Other physiotherapist I have known will string you along just to get your money.   Before I found John Oldham, I thought that it was “normal” to have pain in the back of my neck.   There is no point seeing someone who substitutes machines and hot packs for skill and knowledge of the muscle of the human body.

I have told John Oldham that he wasn’t allowed to retire unless there was another physiotherapist who had his skills.

~ Sieglinde Stieda, Mission BC