Is it safe for children?
Yes, osteopathy is considered the safest of all treatments available to babies and is suitable for them from when they are only a few hours old. In fact an osteopathic treatment is often recommended for newborns to redress the trauma that can occur during childbirth. Cranial treatment is particularly gentle and therefore the best option for children.
It has been found that osteopathic treatment at an early age can help prevent a wide range of problems later in life, including asthma, coordination problems, digestive problems, dyslexia, hyperactivity, speech problems and scoliosis. It is difficult for parents (especially their first time) to know what is ‘normal’, but some things to look out for are:
• Constipation or diarrhoea
• Continuous crying
• Difficulty feeding
• Excessive wind
• Gummy eyes
• Restless sleep, or too much sleep
• Stiffness in the muscles of the neck.
What can I expect during a consultation?
During your first appointment our osteopaths will spend some time taking a thorough history. They will ask you about the history of your complaint, what makes it better or worse, how it started and they will ask about all your symptoms. It will help if you can provide as full and complete answers as possible. This enables them to track the progress and the source of your injury or problem, as the pain you experience is generally not caused by a problem in the area you feel it. The same problem may have a different cause and require different responses in different patients.
They will probably also ask about your general health, any accidents you have had, operations and any illness (like diabetes or high blood pressure). You will also need to tell them if you are on any prescription medicines and if you are taking any supplements. If you have had any x-rays or other medical tests done they will look at the results of these (although they are not necessary at this stage if you have not already had them done). After discussing your history they will explain propose a plan for you, what they will require of you in this plan, and only then will they begin the ‘hands on’ portion of your consultation.
You will be lying down for most of this part of your consultation, although there are a few techniques and checks that require you to be in a sitting or standing position. Many people experience at least some immediate relief from whatever problem they are being treated for, often experiencing an immediate release or “rush” as the tension is removed. Others will feel nothing in particular during the treatment, but will notice that they feel different after the consultation and most will feel continued improvement long after the consultation is finished. “Complete” recovery can take only one or two consultations, but may take many more, depending on the severity and complexity of the problem and how long the injury has been there.
What is Cranial Osteopathy?
Cranial Osteopathy or Craniosacral Therapy is a very specific and very gentle form of osteopathy. It revolves around the Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM). The PRM was first discovered by an osteopath William Garner Sutherland in the late 1890’s. He first realised that the bones in the skull were designed to allow a degree of movement, like breathing and by experimenting on himself, discovered that good health relies both on the bones of the skull being correctly aligned and on their ability to allow a small amount of movement, the PRM. The PRM has a rhythm of its own, independent of the many other rhythms of the body (your heart beat, breathing etc). There are normally 8-14 cycles (expansions and contractions) per minute, but this varies with a person’s health, slowing down when you are ill or have suffered a trauma.
Feeling this rhythm requires a very gentle and sensitive touch. The osteopath uses this rhythm to identify the areas that need to be adjusted. He then moves the affected area in such a way as to allow the body to correct itself, usually by exaggerating the tension that exists in that area.
The use of the PRM has enabled a wide range of techniques to be employed by cranial osteopaths, most of which are very gentle. As a patient most of the time all you are aware of is the practitioner placing his hands on various parts of your body. The most commonly used technique involves the practitioner using his hands to gently exaggerate the tension that you are experiencing. Due to soft tissue inflammation and the presence of an injury this can cause some discomfort. Generally this is only for a moment as your own self healing process steps in and guides the structure back into the correct position.
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy was founded by Andrew Taylor Still. It developed over a number of years and with a variety of influences until in 1892 he opened the American School of Osteopathy. Since that time this profession has continued to grow and develop until Osteopathy is a part of the health care system in many countries around the world.
The best definition of osteopathy is from ‘Healing with Osteopathy’ by Peta Snedon and Paolo Coseschi. They define osteopathy as (p9) “a distinctive and complete system of health care, based on broad principles which ‘offer a way of thinking and acting in relation to questions of health and disease’ (Dr I. M. Korr). The procedures it uses promote healthy functioning in a person by correcting mechanical imbalances within and between the structures of the body.
Osteopaths are experts in human anatomy and physiology as they know how important it is to have a thorough understanding of the correct position and function of all the structures in the body. It is through this knowledge that they understand the normal working of the human body and can see when and where it is not working.
If you have any other questions that have not been answered, please feel free to call us at the Clinic (on 3861 0611) and ask. We are happy to help in any way that we can. We hope to see you soon.