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How Osteopaths Aid Digestive Health

Written by Osteopath Gemma Ahrens

Gut health plays a vital role in our overall well-being, influencing everything from digestion to immunity. Many people suffer daily from gut related issues that can have a major impact on health and quality of life. Some of these issues can include indigestion, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and reflux, and osteopathic treatment can help to decrease some symptoms of these conditions.   

Understanding the Gut-Osteopathic Connection

At the core of osteopathy lies the principle that the body functions as a holistic unit, with each part interconnected and affecting the whole. This philosophy extends to the gut, where the alignment and mobility of surrounding structures such as the spine can influence digestive function. 

Addressing Structural Imbalances

Restrictions in the musculoskeletal system, particularly around the spine and pelvis, can impede nerve function and blood flow to the digestive organs. Through hands-on techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, and spinal adjustments, osteopaths work to restore proper function and mobility, alleviating tension and promoting optimal function of the digestive tract.

Release of Abdominal Tension

Chronic stress and tension can manifest physically in the abdomen, leading to symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and irregular bowel movements. Using hands on manual therapy techniques, osteopaths can target specific organs within the abdomen, releasing tension and enhancing their mobility and function. By addressing restrictions, and congestion in the visceral tissues including the stomach and the small and large intestines, osteopaths help to optimise digestive processes and alleviate discomfort.

Improving Nervous System Function

Your gut is a complex structure of nerves, and there is a reason we say ‘trust your gut’ (it is often referred to as the second brain). There is therefore a very strong connection between your gut and your nervous system, and stress can have a significant impact on your gut health. Osteopathic techniques aimed at balancing the autonomic nervous system can have a profound effect on gut health, promoting relaxation, reducing stress, and enhancing parasympathetic activity, which is essential for optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Promoting Fluid Dynamics

Fluid dynamics within the body, including blood, lymph, and cerebrospinal fluid, are integral to maintaining tissue health and facilitating the elimination of waste products. To achieve optimal gut health, we first need to promote adequate fluid flow through the body. Osteopathic techniques such as lymphatic drainage, cranial sacral therapy and diaphragm releasing aim to optimise fluid movement throughout the body, including the digestive system. By improving circulation and lymphatic flow to the gut, we can support overall gut health and function.

Collaborative Approach to Gut Health

While osteopathy offers valuable tools for promoting gut health, it is most effective when integrated with other aspects of holistic care. Collaborating with nutritionists, naturopaths, and other healthcare professionals allows for a comprehensive multi-model approach to addressing overall gut health and treating any potential underlying causes and conditions.  By working together, we can empower individuals to take an active role in optimising their digestive health and overall well-being.

As an osteopath, I am continually inspired by the profound impact that osteopathic treatment can have on promoting gut health and restoring balance to the body. By addressing structural imbalances, releasing abdominal tension, improving nervous system function, and enhancing fluid dynamics, osteopaths play a vital role in supporting optimal digestive function and overall well-being. Through a collaborative and holistic approach, we can achieve overall health and wellness and decrease pain and discomfort within the gut.

If you need support with a gut-related issue, click below to book an appointment or give us a call on 0425 876 929.


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