When talking about osteopathy, many people consider it only as a treatment for an injury or ailment, and when thinking about how to treat stress, few people consider osteopathy as a potential solution.
But osteopathy is one of a growing number of holistic treatments to help treat the symptoms of anxiety and stress. While traditional methods such as medication and therapy play a vital role in managing stress and anxiety, this article will explore the role of osteopathy and how it can also provide relief and help improve your general health and wellbeing.
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a holistic approach to wellbeing that focuses on the interconnection of the body’s structure and function with the goal of improving and maintaining your overall health. Osteopaths do this by manually manipulating your joints and muscles through hands-on techniques like massage and stretching.
What is anxiety?
Most people will suffer with some level of anxiety in their lives – it is a natural response to stress but can often be controlled by stress management techniques. Anxiety is characterised by feelings of unease and worry, however in extreme cases, it can manifest itself in more severe symptoms including headaches, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, insomnia and muscle tightness.
How can osteopathy help with symptoms of anxiety?
Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to healing, recognising that the mind, body, and spirit are interlinked. Stress and anxiety can manifest physically in the form of muscle tension, headaches, and digestive issues. Osteopaths understand that addressing the physical aspects of these conditions can lead to reduction in anxiety symptoms and improved mental well-being.
Increasing levels of stress hormones can cause the muscles in your upper shoulders, neck and back of the skull to become tense. Osteopathy focuses on improving blood flow to the muscles using deep tissue techniques to loosen the “knots” created by this tension.
Anxiety attacks increase heart rates and can make you feel like you are struggling to breathe. When you breathe in this state you are breathing from your chest which can cause chest pain and tightness. An osteopath can help show you deep breathing exercises and help stretch and relax the tense muscles around the neck, chest and diaphragm.
By addressing the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as muscle tension and restricted breathing, osteopathic techniques like soft tissue manipulation and relaxation exercises can help alleviate tightness. By promoting relaxation and restoring musculoskeletal balance, osteopathy can provide relief from anxiety-related muscle tightness, fostering a sense of calm and well-being.
Osteopathy techniques for stress and anxiety relief
Muscle Relaxation: Osteopathic manual techniques, such as soft tissue manipulation and myofascial release, can help relax tense muscles. This in turn can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety symptoms.
Cranial Osteopathy: This specialist form of osteopathy focuses on the cranial bones and their relationship to the nervous system. Cranial osteopathy aims to alleviate symptoms related to stress and anxiety.
Breathing Exercises: Breathing exercises are often incorporated by osteopaths into their treatments. Proper breathing techniques can help reduce anxiety by calming the nervous system and promoting relaxation.
Postural Assessment and Correction: Poor posture can contribute to muscle tension and stress. Osteopathy can help correct posture issues to improve musculoskeletal alignment and reduce physical stress.
Gentle Manipulation: Osteopathic adjustments involve gentle manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, including the spine and joints. These adjustments can promote better circulation and alleviate physical discomfort associated with stress and anxiety.
About Carl Todd Clinics
In a world where stress and anxiety are common, seeking relief through holistic approaches like osteopathy can be a transformative and helpful experience. By addressing the physical manifestations of stress, osteopathy helps individuals regain a sense of balance and well-being and can help improve and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Our practitioners are approachable, honest and highly skilled, so if you’d like to see how osteopathy can help you and your mental health, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.