Incorporate Osteopathy into Your Mental Health Routine

Posted In: Osteopathy

Osteopathic treatments focus on the musculoskeletal system, but as a whole-person modality, it can also support your positive mental health and wellness!

We already know the strong mind-body connection and how mental stress can contribute to physical pain (and vice versa). Through Osteopathy, your osteopathic practitioner can support both sides of your well-being. 

Keep reading to learn more about Osteopathy’s benefits for mental wellness and how to include it in your mental health routine. 

What mental health conditions can Osteopathy support?

Mental health is quite a broad term, but it most often refers to psychological struggles or discomfort rather than physical ones. However, poor mental health can manifest or contribute to physical pain as well. 

Here are some mental health conditions or symptoms that osteopathy may help treat:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Social isolation
  • Stress
  • Brain fog
  • Poor sleep
  • Low self-esteem or confidence

Osteopaths use manual manipulation techniques and provide guidance on lifestyle, diet, and exercise to help you live a balanced, healthy life. They’re designed to help you feel better about yourself and enhance your physical health. 

How struggling mental health manifests physically in the body

If you’re struggling with poor mental health, anxiety, unhappiness, or extreme fatigue, it will often manifest as physical symptoms, too. These may include:

  • Poor posture (as you may be holding your body tighter, hunching forward, or keeping your head down in social situations). 
  • Tight muscles (as your body tenses in response to unwanted stimuli and stress).
  • Breathing struggles (your breathing can become shorter and shallower, contributing to headaches because your brain is getting less oxygen)
  • Digestive system issues (you may feel like eating significantly less or more when dealing with mental health distractions). 
  • Tiredness (the mental toll of dealing with the emotional and physical effects of poor mental health can prevent you from getting a good quality sleep).

Osteopathy provides a drug-free approach to healing

“Traditionally,” the medical community turns to drugs or invasive procedures to help someone with mental health disorders or emotional discomfort. However, now that we know more about the human body and the mind-body connection, we know that Osteopathy provides a more holistic approach to healing that doesn’t rely on drugs (although natural supplements may be recommended for some patients lacking in particular nutrients, vitamins, and minerals). 

A drug-free approach using Osteopathy has numerous benefits:

  • You don’t have to wean yourself off drugs when they’re no longer needed. 
  • They better complement other medicines or treatments you’re receiving. 
  • You don’t have extensive physical recovery time after a treatment.
  • Both mental and physical wellness are balanced during treatments, treating the whole person, not just the symptoms.

Osteopathy aims to return patients to a pain-free lifestyle and improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Once your healing goals have been achieved, your Osteopath can support the maintenance of your desired results. 

How Osteopathy supports your mental health

Osteopathic treatments are customized to your needs. Here are a few ways Osteopathy supports your mental wellness:

  • Massages reduce cortisol and stress in your body.
  • It helps you sleep better (craniosacral therapy helps promote relaxation) so your body gets the rest it needs to rejuvenate and heal. 
  • Improved circulation reduces inflammation in the body (often a side-effect or poor lifestyle habits that come when suffering from mental illness or stress)
  • It rebalances your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems (to balance your flight and flight responses so they’re less on-edge)
  • It supports your digestive health (which may be imbalanced due to poor lifestyle habits). 

Another benefit of an Osteopathy appointment is that it’s an excellent opportunity to get a break from the world, if just for an hour or two. Sessions can be quite relaxing, and unless you choose to chat with your practitioner during the session, you’re encouraged to relax fully. This relaxing break from your busy or stressful schedule helps recharge your batteries and refocus on what’s important.

How to add Osteopathy to your mental health routines

Osteopathy can support your existing mental health routines. You must establish positive mental health routines between Osteopathy sessions to keep your mind strong.

The best way to create a new habitis to bundle it with a habit you’ve already established. For example, if you always drink coffee first thing in the morning, drink your coffee while listening to a motivating audiobook. 

In no particular order, here are 10 more mental health routine ideas (and possible habits to anchor them to):

  1. Yoga, stretches, or a short workout in the living room (or outdoors in the summer)… after brushing your teeth
  2. Go for a short walk every day… right after breakfast or lunch
  3. Try a new hobby or craft…after you get home from work.
  4. Listen to an audiobook or podcast…while cooking dinner.
  5. Read a book…right before bedtime.
  6. Draw, doodle, or colour…as a family after picking the kids up from school.
  7. Write in a journal…before you roll out of bed in the morning.
  8. Chat with a friend…during a scheduled weekly coffee date.
  9. Write down three things you’re grateful for every day…after you walk the dog. 
  10. Prepare a healthy meal from scratch…once or twice a week for dinner.

Of course, you’re not expected to do all 10 of these activities. Use them to inspire you to add to your mental health routines. Do things that help you feel joy, physically or mentally rejuvenate you, or allow you to slow down life’s fast pace for quiet contemplation and reflection. 

Where to find a Vancouver Osteopath accepting patients

I’m currently accepting patients at Thuja Wellness. My goal is to help you rejuvenate your mind and body so you can live your best self. 

I get how busy the world can get. If your mental health is suffering or you are suffering from a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness, let’s see if Osteopathy can support the lifestyle you’re looking for. 

Book your next Osteopathic appointment today.