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Osteopathy & immunity

How can Osteopathy help you beat the cold and flu season?

Our immune systems tend to take a beating as we approach the colder, wintery months. Whether it’s a runny nose, tickling cough or something a bit more serious, sickness can throw us off our game and reduce our productivity in day-to-day life. There are many ways you can help boost your immune system such as staying hydrated, staying active and getting adequate sleep. But did you know Osteopaths might be able to help too?

While Osteopaths are commonly known for treating injuries and musculoskeletal conditions, they can also play a role in promoting general health and boosting the immune system.

Osteopaths view the body as a whole, recognizing that the different systems within the body are interconnected. Osteopaths know that when the body is structure is in balance, and functioning optimally, it supports the body’s ability to heal and maintain good health.

Here’s a few ways we can help you this cold and flu season!

1. Releasing musculoskeletal restrictions and improving circulation

The lymphatic system is made up of vessels and organs that act as our ‘sewerage’ or waste disposal system. By addressing restrictions and tension in the muscles, joints, and connective tissue, Osteopaths can help enhance circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body. Improved circulation helps ensure that immune cells, such as white blood cells, can reach their target areas more effectively and aid in the removal of toxins and waste products.

2. Promoting respiration through treatment of the ribs, diaphragm and breathing muscles

Osteopaths use treatment techniques like gentle joint manipulation and mobilising, and muscle releasing to help restore proper movement and function of the ribs, diaphragm, and the surrounding muscles that assist with breathing. The diaphragm is a large domed muscle which contracts and relaxes every time you breath in and out. This motion acts as a pump for the lymphatic system which when functioning optimally, helps with a speedier healing process and supporting the immune response. These treatment techniques may help improve respiratory efficiency, enhance oxygenation, and aid in the clearance of congestion in the lungs and throat.

3. Balancing the nervous system caused by previous illnesses or stress

When the body experiences physical or emotional stress such as illness or injuries, the body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode which is a function of the sympathetic nervous system. This causes increased cortisol levels which can dampen the effectiveness of the immune system. Osteopaths can help you to rebalance the parasympathetic nervous system, aka the ‘rest and digest’ system, with the sympathetic nervous system, aka the ‘fight or flight’ system. We do this through the use of muscle releasing and joint mobilisation techniques which relate directly to the nerves of these two systems. These techniques also have the bonus effect of assisting with the drainage of sinuses  and mucous out of your head and face, and can help with associated headaches.

4. Relieving the aches and pains from cold and flu

If you’ve ever spent days or weeks coughing and straining your neck and chest muscles you’ll know how sore everything can get when you’re sick! Add on top of that the time spent lying in bed or on the couch for hours and days on end, plus the generalised muscle aches and congestion from illness, and being sick can leave you feeling pretty average. Having some Osteopathy treatment when you’re recovering (and no longer contagious) can be a great way to speed up your recovery, general feeling of wellbeing, and as mentioned above keep away any more episodes of sickness. 

It’s important to note that while Osteopathic treatment can support the body’s functioning and overall well-being, we do not directly treat infections or cure diseases such as a cold or flu. Osteopaths work in conjunction with other healthcare professionals to provide holistic care and promote optimal health, and so when indicated we will refer you to your GP for further care and/or investigations.

First Nations

Acknowledgement of Country

We are honoured to practice on the ancestral lands of the Whadjuk Noongar people.
We acknowledge the First Australians as the traditional owners of this land and pay respect to their Elders both past and present.