Exam stress and complementary alternative medicine

revision_timeIt’s exam season, that time of year when plenty of young people are feeling the pressure of performing well. Some take it in their stride, but for others exams and revision weigh heavy on their young shoulders and can be a trigger for anxiety and stress.

Exam stress manifests itself in various ways. Young people experiencing stress may be irritable, sleep badly, lose their appetite, worry a lot and appear negative or even depressed. They may also complain of recurrent headaches and stomach pains.

There are, of course, ways to deal with anxiety and stress and many of the complementary therapies offered by our therapists here at Good Health Centre can help.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient and holistic system of healing. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, our health is dependent on the body’s energy (known as Qi) moving smoothly through a series of channels, or meridians, beneath the skin. Qi is made up of equal and opposite parts: Yin and Yang.
Stress and anxiety can affect the balance of Yin and Yang in our bodies, affecting our wellbeing. By inserting needles at specific points in the body, acupuncturists restore the balance of Qi and the body’s overall health.

For stress and anxiety acupuncture works by acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the analytical part of the brain, responsible for anxiety and worry. It’s also thought that acupuncture regulates levels of certain hormones in the brain, altering mood.

Find out more about acupuncture at Good Health Centre.

Reiki

Traditional Japanese method of healing Reiki encourages the flow of an invisible life energy throughout the body to promote wellbeing and stimulate healing. Stress and anxiety can weaken the flow of energy through the body. A Reiki practitioner uses gentle hands-on healing techniques – often without actually touching the body – to help restore the flow of energy throughout the body and reduce any blockages that may have been caused by stress and anxiety or illness.

Reiki’s healing powers are extremely profound and work on physical, emotional and spiritual levels. While thought to be extremely effective for physical issues, it’s believed that Reiki can be just as effective for emotional issues such as stress. This is because it heals on an emotional level, and can also teach people how to relax.

Find out more about Reiki treatments at Good Health Centre.

Homeopathy

Some homeopathic remedies can work with the body’s natural healing process to help deal with stress and anxiety.

A homeopath works closely with individuals listening to them and finding out exactly how they are feeling. With homeopathic remedies, the aim is to match the symptoms to a remedy as closely as possible.

Homeopathic remedies are a natural, safe and an effective form of relief for both emotional and physical stress. There are a number of common remedies that can be taken as needed, particularly when feelings of anxiety are at their strongest, for example right before an exam.

Find out more about homeopathy at Good Health Centre.

Simple, relaxation techniques can also help to ease anxiety around exams and tests. We like the Headspace app, which teaches mindfulness techniques as a way to deal with modern life and is a great place to start for someone who has never tried any relaxation techniques before.

And you just can’t beat moving around! Try to encourage your child to get out of their study room regularly throughout their revision days. Physical activity – even something as simple as a daily 20 minute walk – can release endorphins in the brain, easing anxiety and helping boost mood.

Other practical tips for helping young people through their exam stress can be found on the YoungMinds website.

Osteopathy in pregnancy

imgYou’re having a baby? Congratulations! Let us help you enjoy the next nine months in comfort.

Our team of osteopaths has a special interest in helping mums and babies and a wealth of experience in treating pregnant women. Our osteopaths see many expectant mothers who need help with aches and pains. Osteopathy is a safe treatment at all stages of pregnancy and can help many women to feel more comfortable and enjoy those very special nine months more.

Treating each pregnant woman as an individual, our osteopaths will offer advice and develop a tailor-made programme to best suit your needs. They don’t take a ‘one size fits all’ approach – everyone’s posture is slightly different and every expectant mother’s body will adapt differently to the structural loading from her growing baby.

In pregnancy considerable postural changes take place in a woman’s body to accommodate the increasing size and weight of her uterus. At the same time hormonal changes cause ligaments all over the body to soften and stretch in preparation for labour. Any pre-existing back problems make it more difficult for a woman’s body to adapt to these changes and may result in aches and pains in any area of the body. A pregnant woman may experience back or neck ache or pain, but also tension headaches, general aches and undue fatigue. Osteopathy can help to ease these symptoms through very gentle and safe manipulation techniques.

Osteopathic treatment can also help to release tension. It can help mothers to relax and enjoy their pregnancy, protecting the health of their growing baby.

The changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy can alter her posture which can cause aches and pains. Here are our five postural tips for pregnant women:

  1. Try to keep as active as possible throughout your pregnancy.
  2. ‘Walk tall’ with your head tilted slightly upwards as if suspended by a string.
  3. Try to hold in your tummy to avoid excessive hollowing of your back.
  4. Avoid sitting slouched in soft chairs. Whenever possible, sit with your bottom well back in the chair and your lower back supported. Better still, sit on a seat that tilts forwards, or use a wedge cushion.
  5. Spend some time each day in an ‘all fours’ position. Avoid standing for long periods and try not to overtire yourself.

After giving birth, a woman’s body must recover from both the changes it made during pregnancy and from the effects of delivery. One of the most common causes of back problems after childbirth is an imbalance in the pelvis. The mother’s pelvis is often pulled out of balance as the baby is delivered, particularly in a difficult labour. In addition, if the mother’s feet were placed in stirrups for the delivery or for stitching after the birth, the weight of her legs puts huge leverage through the pelvis at a time when the pelvic ligaments are stretched to their limit and unstable.

Unresolved childbirth stresses in the mother’s pelvis can contribute to ongoing back problems, neck pain, general fatigue, or headaches arising from the neck. Skilfully applied osteopathic treatment can help the mother return to normal, physically and emotionally, by releasing strains in the back from both pregnancy and labour.

If you’re expecting a baby and would like to find out more about how osteopathy could help your body adapt to the changes or get back to normal after the birth, get in touch.