Welcome to Dorothy Smith one of our team of Osteopaths, who shares her training and experiences at the highly thought of Osteopathic Centre for Children. David Tatton
I first became interested in Paediatric Osteopathy when as an undergraduate I attended an outreach clinic based in a children’s centre in Southwark - one of the many satellite clinics associated with the British School of Osteopathy.
Like many people, my first thought was ‘what sort of children need osteopathy?’. I soon realised that the reasons parents brought their children to an osteopath were as varied as the reasons adult patients visited their osteopath but, essentially, the parents perceived their child to be in discomfort or distress, which they hoped could be helped by osteopathic treatment. This might have been manifested as difficulties with feeding, winding or sleeping in babies, or in postural development or behaviour in young children.
I was impressed to see how gentle osteopathic treatment was carried out on the musculoskeletal tissues of the body, addressing areas of tension or strain and giving the child a noticeably greater sense of ease in his or her body. I was so inspired by this experience that I decided to build on my training by undertaking a two year post-graduate Diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy at the internationally renowned Osteopathic Centre for Children here in London. The Centre was established 25 years ago, drawing students from around the world, and is the only organisation which offers such a high level of education in osteopathic paediatric care.
Now in the final year of my studies, I have been volunteering at the centre one day per week for the last 18 months. I have treated many babies brought in by their parents because they are struggling to feed effectively, have difficulty with bowel movements or wind, or seem generally unsettled. As osteopaths, we take a detailed case history concerning the health of the baby, including the pregnancy and birth, and then perform a very gentle examination of the entire body to establish the state of overall health. Stresses or strains which may result from the dramatic transition to life in the outside world can be felt as physical tensions in the body and relieving these with very gentle treatment can be extremely helpful and relaxing for the baby.
At the other end of the spectrum I have seen school children and teenagers, many of whom have had musculo-skeletal aches and pains linked to this very active time of growth in their lives. It is really gratifying to be able to offer physical relief for their symptoms, as well as helping to educate them about posture and ways in which they can help themselves with exercise, stretching and healthy lifestyle choices.
The more I learn about paediatric care, and the more children I have the privilege to treat, the more passionate I find I become about what osteopaths can offer to this unique and very important patient group.
For info: http://occ.uk.com/