Osteopaths are trained to degree level for a minimum of 4 years. Their training is focused on the anatomy and physiology of the human body with particular emphasis on the complementary systems within the body– skeletal and muscular systems, nervous system, digestive system and circulatory systems.
The muscular skeletal system provides the structure for everything that goes on in our bodies. It gives us movement and function, provides support and protects our vital organs. Like any structure, stresses or strains in one part can transmit themselves to other parts and impair function. For example, discomfort in the lower back may frequently be caused by the body compensating for a rotated hip or a fallen arch in the foot.
We have been medically trained and so are able to take a full case history, carry out neurological tests and, importantly, know when it is necessary to refer you back to your GP or to send you for further tests.
Osteopaths are taught to use their hands and observation skills to assess where the functioning of the body is impaired, and then gently to correct it. We use a range of techniques:
Soft Tissue Techniques
Manipulation and Mobilisation
Soft Tissue Techniques – May involve rhythmic stretching, deep pressure or traction. The purpose of these techniques is to relax muscles and promote blood supply to and drainage from an area.
Manipulation and Mobilisation – Are techniques to ensure that joints have full range of movement. “Clicking” and “Cracking” are typically what people envisage a treatment is all about, although in practice manipulation and mobilisation comprise only a small part of most treatments. Practitioners vary, but my preference is for only the gentlest use of these techniques.
Functional Release – Works with the release of lines of tension in the layers of muscle and fascia that envelop the body. Imagine you had buttoned your shirt up putting the wrong button in the wrong hole – the cloth would not hang properly and when you moved would feel uncomfortable. This is how the fascia in the body can get, thus setting up stresses and strains.
Cranial Work – Around the brain and spinal cord there is a fluid Cerebrospinal Fluid or CSF. This fluid moves with a pulse that can be felt deep in the body tissue. Cranial therapy uses very gentle touch by the therapist to detect the pattern of this pulse and encourage its flow and expression in all parts of the body.
Cranial Osteopathy – complete care medical
The Cerebrospinal Fluid or CSF flows around the brain and spinal cord. It moves with a wave-like pulse which has come to be seen as the body’s most primordial system for staying alive and healthy. It is known as the ‘primary respiratory mechanism’ because it literally breathes life into the tissues of the body.
The movement of this primary pulse can be perceived throughout the body but in particular at the head and sacrum. The head comprises 26 bones, which permit a tiny degree of movement, and it is possible to feel the pulse expressed in the movement of these bones and membranes of the skull.
In health the pulse should be able to be felt evenly throughout the body and in cranial osteopathy the practitioner is using their hands to listen to the body to find out where this may not be happening and to gently correct it.
Cranial Osteopathy is very gentle and totally safe. It is suitable for everyone who wants to feel reconnected to health at a deep level.
It is particularly good where there may have been a traumatic incident to the body such that even gentle manual techniques may still be too much – for example a whiplash injury, a fall or a sporting injury.
Other conditions such as sinus problems, migranes and jaw problems also benefit from cranial work.
Helping Acute and Recurring Problems – complete care medical
People often associate Osteopaths with bad backs but we treat all kinds of injuries including:
As well as treating your problem we are also able to advise on self-help measures for the acute phase e.g. the use of ice, heat, rest and bandaging and preventative measures for the future.
Julia Osteopath back treatment
“I get more headaches than I used to”
“Every time I play tennis my arm hurts for days afterwards”
“I just don’t seem to be able follow through with my golf swing anymore”
“My back just seems to ache more these days no matter what I do”
These are the types of problems that you may have suffered with for several years and resigned yourself to living with.
Life deals out all sorts of stresses and strains that accumulate over the years – tumbles as children; sports injuries; work related strains and accidents.
The body compensates for these in the most health efficient way it can and up to a point the body can accommodate most things, but only to a point – after that you start to feel it.
Osteopathic treatment can help to roll back the effect of these accumulated stresses and strains and allow the body’s vitality to resurface.
Pregnancy – complete care medical
Pregnancy can be a time of enormous strain on a woman’s body. The mother has to cope with a growing bump and growing breasts. Both of these changes affect the loading on the spine and to be able to cope with this the spine needs to be flexible.
As the curvature of the spine changes the muscles attaching to the spine also have to be able to accommodate the change.
Osteopathy can help the mother’s body adapt to these natural changes in the best way possible. Osteopathy may also help reduce tension in the diaphragm allowing the mother to breathe more deeply and use breathing as an effective method of pain relief. Osteopathy can also relieve tension in the pelvis allowing optimal positioning for the baby.
Working with the mother throughout her pregnancy allows the mother to understand better the way her body is feeling which is good preparation for the birth.
Birth while miraculous is not called ‘labour’ for nothing and is a physically stressful event for the mother and baby. It is a good idea to have a check up after 3-4 weeks after birth to help the pelvis adjust back to normal positioning and to resolve any outstanding birth trauma. Awkward positioning while adjusting to breastfeeding and a baby in the bed often mean back pain for the mother which can be helped through Osteopathy.
Finally the birth of a first child is also the rebirth of the mother from individual into parent and this can be a very stressful change. Cranial osteopathy can help the mother to adjust to this change by supporting her health on a deep level and helping her to resource herself.