It is with sadness that we bring you news of the passing of Margarita Papadimitriou-Boulenger, who was instrumental in establishing osteopathy in Greece and was one of the founding members of the former European Federation of Osteopathy. The Osteopathy Europe board wishes to extend its condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues on the loss of this inspirational individual.
Margarita was born in Athens to refugee parents from Smirni (Izmir) in 1940, living the early years of her life under the cloud of the second world war, followed by the Greek civil war.
At the age of 19 Margarita went to Paris to study physiotherapy and then moved to Brussels where she married Belgian Architect, Charles. The couple had three children, Catherine, Nicolas, and Dimitri, who later followed in her footsteps into Osteopathy.
While working as a physiotherapist in Brussels, Margarita discovered a new approach that answered what she felt was missing from her practice; Osteopathy.
Alongside caring for her young family and running a successful physiotherapy clinic, Margarita spent six years studying osteopathy at the European School of Osteopathy in Kent, England. On graduation in the late 1970s, she became one of the first women osteopaths in Belgium.
In the early 1980s, she returned to Athens. Osteopathy was a new profession in Greece at that time and she quickly set up the Greece Osteopathic Association. Recognition of osteopathy in Greece was always her ambition, which she fought for until 2010.
She believed that the only way to gain recognition in Greece would come from engaging European stakeholders.
So, in the late 1990 Margarita, with French and Belgian colleagues, took over the European Register of Osteopaths and set up the European Federation of Osteopaths (EFO). She lobbied with her Belgian colleagues for the “Loi Colla” at the Belgian Parliament and Greek MEPs at the European parliament, as well as actively promoting the profession in the national Greek media including on TV. Lobbing to influential Greek stakeholders for recognition was her motto!
Throughout this period, Margarita simultaneously ran her successful osteopathic practice in Athens.
Margarita’s achievements also ran to teaching. She developed a course inspired by the Belgian osteopath Godelieve Denys-Struyf called Chaînes Musculaires, and taught gymnastics, dancers, and schools about the awareness of damage to the musculoskeletal system in dancing and sports. She was the anatomy teacher at the Greek state school of dancing. She wrote a book on back pain for the public and was very active in the Rotary Club and a charity supporting orphans in Africa.
At the time of her passing, she was the proud grandmother of five grandchildren and will be sorely missed by her family, friends, colleagues and patients.