Osteopathy and Depression
January and February in Scotland can be hard going, not least because it’s so dark for so long, so it’s a relief to be heading into spring.
On a grey, dull day with a cold wind whistling past your ears it’s no wonder we can spend a big chunk of the winter months hunched over bracing ourselves against the winter weather. So is it any great surprise that some psychologist has come up with the bright idea that depression can be affected by our posture?
Research was carried out at the University of Auckland and a paper published in the Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. The report suggests that depression can be improved by improving a person’s posture. I would certainly argue that this can work both ways. The enforced slumping induced by a Scottish winter can contribute to our mood.
There can be a host of vicious cycles here. We slump because of the winter months or simply as a result of sitting in front of a desk and computer. Prolonged slumping puts mechanical strain on the body creating aches, pains and stiffness. We potentially don’t move or exercise as much over the winter months so we don’t ‘shake off’ the stiffness as easily as we would in the summer. Constant low grade, unforgiving pain can certainly impact on mood and contribute to a person becoming depressed.
So the way forward here is to break out of the cycle. As osteopaths we would work on the physical symptoms of pain and stiffness to break the cycle. Backing this up with the correct exercise routine or some form of movement therapy will also help to back up the effect of the osteopathic treatment.
It’ll certainly come as no great surprise to osteopaths, yoga teachers, Pilates instructors and Alexander technique teachers that helping to improve a patients posture and getting them moving better has a direct effect on lifting that persons mood and combating depression.
Now that it’s spring and there’s signs of hope with the longer days and maybe even some warmth and sunshine make the most of it, uncurl your back, walk tall and breathe deeply. It’ll make you feel so much better.« back