Osteopathy is a safe, gentle and effective approach using hands-on techniques to diagnose and treat a wide range of health problems, aiming to relieve pain, discomfort and immobility. The osteopathic philosophy is to treat the person as a whole, not just the specific symptoms. By improving the function of the whole body, osteopathy helps to stimulate the body’s own self-healing / self-regulating processes, aiding a return to health.
Its emphasis is on the interrelationship of the body’s structure – such as muscles, bones, joints, nerves etc – and its function – such as breathing, circulation, digestion, metabolism etc. It is widely used throughout the world and recognised as one of the most highly effective complementary therapies with a vast and expanding base of scientifically validated research.
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as the body changes shape to accommodate the increasing size and weight of the uterus. This involves considerable changes to posture. If the mother has existing back problems, or strains in her body from past accidents or trauma, it may be more difficult for her to accommodate these changes, and she may suffer more discomfort as a result. The ligaments of the whole body soften during pregnancy due to the action of hormones. This allows the bones of the pelvis to separate slightly during the delivery to facilitate the passage of the baby’s head through the pelvis. Unfortunately this softening affects the whole body and makes it more vulnerable to strain during the pregnancy.
Osteopathic treatment can be invaluable in optimising the health of babies and children, as well as addressing a wide range of conditions. The more gentle, non-manipulative techniques that osteopaths employ, commonly known as cranial osteopathy’, make osteopathy especially suitable for treating children, including newborn infants. Some of the conditions that occur in babies may persist, or become apparent in the young child.
It can be of benefit for your child to have an osteopathic assessment following a fall, especially where there has been a head injury or fall onto the spine/bottom. Children have an amazing ability to ‘bounce back’, however some trauma can be retained in the tissues and joints of the body, that may not be immediately apparent, but which can go on to cause problems later on in life. Your osteopath will be able to ascertain any restrictions that may have been caused, and treatment can alleviate and prevent further problems from occurring.Download the factsheed about Osteopathy and Infants
It is a common belief that babies and children should have no structural stresses or strains in their bodies, because they are ‘so young’. The reality is very different. Birth is one of the most stressful events of our lives. The baby is subjected to enormous forces, as the uterus pushes to expel the baby against the natural resistance of the birth canal. They baby has to turn and twist as it squeezes through the pelvis, on its short but highly stimulating and stressful journey.
The baby’s head has the remarkable ability to absorb these stresses in a normal delivery. In order to reduce the size of the head, the soft bones overlap, bend and warp as the baby descends. The baby’s chin is normally well tucked down towards its chest to reduce the presenting diameter of the head.
The maintenance of good mechanical function is essential to good health. Problems in the framework of the body can disturb the circulatory system or nerves to any part of the body, and affect any aspect of health. Thus mechanical problems can lead not only to aches and pains in joints and muscles, but also to disturbances in the internal organs and the way they work. Osteopaths work to restore the musculoskeletal system of the body to a state of balance and harmony.
Health is not simply the absence of disease or pain. It is a state of balance and harmony between the body and mind of a person. In health, a person should be able to respond to events such as accidents, infections or emotional stress, deal with these events and restore itself to optimum health afterwards. The majority of people are not in full health, but are carrying an accumulation of the effects of different traumatic events that have happened to them during their life.Download the factsheed about cranial osteopathy
Osteopathic treatments are not usually painful though the nature of the presenting condition may be such that some discomfort cannot be avoided. Most techniques are extremely gentle. In devising the treatment plan, the osteopath will take into account the nature of the condition, symptoms and the patient's general health and concerns and not perform a procedure on a patient unless the patient gives consent to proceed.