Osteopathy in the third age
Please note that cranial osteopathy is not different to osteopathy, it is a type of approach to treatment and is interchangeable with the word osteopathy on this page
With increasing age, the body slows down, loses some of its flexibility and elasticity and does not recover as quickly as it used to. We become slower, stiffer, and more prone to illnesses and trauma. Our senses begin to let us down which means poorer sight, hearing and taste, and becoming unsteady on our feet, reducing mobility and self-confidence.
The body can be likened to a car, in that it needs regular servicing and maintenance as it gets older. A car that is not serviced regularly will use more fuel than if the engine is well lubricated and perfectly tuned, and parts start to wear. The body is the same. If there are areas of tension or strain, then the whole body has to compensate and more energy is used in simple everyday tasks. People often complain of feeling unduly tired as well as suffering from aches and pains or other symptoms.
As we accumulate strains and injuries over the years, we tend to put up with them as an inevitable part of the ageing process, but a more positive approach would be to consider these symptoms as the body telling us that it needs some help. Osteopathic treatment is aimed at improving mobility in areas of the body that are stiff, relaxing tense muscles, improving local circulation, and aims to restore the whole body to the best state of physical balance possible.
We cannot avoid ageing, but osteopathic treatment can help to relieve some of the common discomforts including:
- Neck ache and back ache
- Postural problems
- Joint pain and stiffness including arthritis
- Reducing the effects of stress
Patients often also report improvements in general health in areas such as energy levels and mood, and improvements in the functioning of some of the internal organs and systems. For specific advice ask your osteopathic practitioner.
Cranial osteopathy is a very effective and gentle approach which can be applied safely in older people. Where there is a risk of osteoporosis (thinning bones) this gentle approach is excellent as it avoids the need for strong manipulation. Many people find the treatment so relaxing, they fall asleep on the treatment table!
Gentle osteopathic treatment addresses specific areas of the body as well as the whole person. It improves movement between the vertebrae, freeing the neck and the back. It improves movement of the chest improving breathing and circulation. It releases the pelvis and abdomen, improving organ function and circulation. As treatment reduces painful symptoms and improves blood and lymphatic circulation, so the body can heal faster and experience a renewed sense of wellbeing. This improvement can be maintained by good diet and a gentle regime of exercise – probably the most important thing one can do to stay healthy and happy.