We’re all used to those niggling aches and pains… but we shouldn’t have to be! Sean O’ Sullivan, one of the osteopaths at the fantastic Sutherland Chan Centre (which specialises in massage therapy) gives us the lowdown on some great osteopathy techniques for your baby, plus how to look after your body during and after pregnancy. Say farewell to those aches and pains once and for all!
Osteopathy is a drug-free, non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health, working on both the skeletal and muscular structure of the body. Osteopathic treatment does not only target symptoms but also treats the areas of the body that have caused the symptoms. Osteopaths have a holistic approach and believe that the whole body will work better if your body is in good structural balance. Osteopathic treatment is specific to each patient’s individual complaint, and comprises of soft tissue, mobilization and manipulative techniques of the joints, ligaments, nerves and muscles of the body.
Osteopaths also work in what is known as the Primary Respiratory Mechanism, called Cranial Osteopathy. Similar to the rising and falling of your chest when breathing, the Primary Respiratory Mechanism is an expression of your overall health and wellbeing. If this mechanism is not present, dulled or limited in anyway, it indicates that parts of your body are not functioning to their optimum ability and this in turn will affect your health and contribute to your symptoms.
Cranial Osteopathy is a very gentle, safe and effective in treatment of babies and children that either have suffered a trauma during the birthing process or during the rough and tumble of early years. Through the use of Cranial Osteopathy, we examine the baby to determine where there may be slight tension or strain patterns. With the use of gentle but specific pressure we remove these restrictions or strains so that the digestion system can work and flow without constraint.
Two of the most common conditions we see in babies are colic and reflux. Both affect the digestive system but in different areas. By putting our hand on and around the digestive tract we can diagnose restrictions and possible causes for these symptoms. Using your anatomical knowledge we set about to improve the digestive system as a whole, specifically targeting and strains within the baby’s body. Identifying these restrictions within the digestive system and removing them allows for easier digestion and a much less irritable baby!
As important as the health of the newborn is, the hard working mother’s body must not be forgotten. You do not have to be in pain to visit your osteopath; in fact, the best way to prevent long-term problems is to stop them when they are ‘just a little ache’. During the pregnancy and importantly after birth too, your body has been undergoing enormous changes structurally. This does not stop after birth and the body will need time to readjust. The mother’s health is as important as the child’s during and after the birth process and is often over looked by new mothers themselves. After all, new mothers are carrying and feeding the equivalent of 8 bags of sugar around with you the whole time, not to mention all the baggage that comes with a new-born! It is for this reason many pregnant women suffer from back pain, rib pain, sciatica etc.
My best advice to women is to try to avoid repeated strenuous tasks that make you stiff and sore. Here’s a few tips:
- Avoid carrying your child consistently on one preferred hip/arm; this tends to unbalance the pelvis and twists your spine.
- I recommend putting your child into a sling spreads the weight equally across your body and gives essential body contact with the baby.
- Avoid crossing your legs where possible, again it can put a lot of torsion through the pelvis and pelvic floor muscles.
- Change your hand and position when feeding, it’s important for mother and baby.
Pregnancy can be strenuous on your body and the baby’s for many reasons; however, with Osteopathic treatment and advice you can remove the physical strains and allow you both to enjoy your life together!
Editor’s note: Sutherland-Chan Centre closed in 2018.
Sutherland-Chan Centre, 19/F World Trust Tower, 50 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2544 5838