National Stress Awareness Day

Have just attended a fabulous course to help many of my clients who feel stressed and anxious.
As well as talking with you about managing stress and lifestyle changes did you know that physical methods Osteopaths use during treatment can help too?

Let’s face it we all feel it sometimes. It’s the way our bodies naturally react and respond to a perceived threat – A monster chasing you. Your body prepares to fight or run away and so our sympathetic nervous system is activated.
However some people more than others, live in an anxious state a lot of the time even when there is no monster about!
When this happens our calming parasympathetic nervous system is designed to switch off in order to divert the energy away from digesting food and breathing calmly (which is no needed to fight the monster) and concentrate on sending energy to your extremities to run.

The following Osteopathic techniques aim to influence the stress response by helping to switch on this “rest and digest’ nervous system:

Working on your sacrum and neck
These 2 locations are where these parasympathetic nerves arise from your spinal cord.

Targetting the vagus nerve
Working around the pathway of the vagus nerve, which innervates many of your internal organs including your gut can aim to reduce poor absorption, ibs type symptoms etc.

Working on your diaghragm, ribs and the mechanics of breathing.
We often use the accessory muscles of breathing and upper ribs (designed to be used when running from the monster) in our normal resting lives.
Often tight neck and shoulder muscles, (finding your shoulders up around our ears?) can be a result in part of unhelpful breathing patterns associated with stress or anxiety.
Osteopaths can demonstrate and encourage diaphragmatic / whole rib cage breathing and the practice of taking longer outbreaths than in breaths for a period, which helps to switch on your rest and digest nervous system.

Manipulations and articulations around the thoracic spine.
This is where your sympathetic nervous system lives, forming chains at either side of your spine.
Osteopaths can seek to encourage balance of the nervous system and the muscles and organs they supply through working around this area.

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