Gill South: Good posture: make no bones about it

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Gill South takes a trip to an osteopath to help straighten her out.

A trip to an osteopath could do wonders for your posture as well as your stress levels. Photo / Thinkstock
A trip to an osteopath could do wonders for your posture as well as your stress levels. Photo / Thinkstock

I've learned not to tell any more friends that I've been to a cranial osteopath. "Why didn't you go to mine? He/she's the best! I've been going to him/her for years!" they exclaim, with a pout. Suffice it to say, most of my friends have close relationships with their osteos.

Well, I'm very happy with Madhu Bhana Fakir, the Indigo Health osteopath I went to, thanks very much. She was excellent and recommended by a naturopath friend of mine. Apparently lots of business high-flyers come to her in between international travel and hectic deadlines. What I liked about Madhu is she trained naturopath, as well as an osteo - and she includes massage as part of her treatment.

"It's a palpatory diagnostic tool," she says intriguingly. And she didn't do anything scary, like suddenly twisting my neck in a strange direction when I was least expecting it.

I'd like to think that Madhu finds me an interesting patient - with all the specialists I've been to, I can now fluently give her chapter and verse on my various ailments and quirks.

But most important to her is that I have slight scoliosis, in other words curvature of the spine - very common I believe, three out of 10 people have it.

I've often had yoga teachers look at me with concern when doing an exercise lying flat on the floor.

The osteopath helpfully produces a plastic skeleton to show her how wonky mine is. It looks like a dinosaur artefact - I can't quite relate - but it doesn't look good. What does this mean to me and my health? It means my diaphragm twists and my organs get a bit compressed, especially things like my liver and digestive system.

Madhu extends my spine around the junction of the thoratic and cervical (neck) in a bid to release the diaphragm and give these poor old organs a bit of space and relief.

She also advises I go back to yoga as that will lengthen everything out - she says she found my lower back quite compressed. Her touch is firm and authoritative. Several times she puts her hand under the sacrum at the base of my spine and works on areas from there.

The naturopath part of Madhu tells me to steer clear of nightshade vegetables, such as tomato, potato and eggplant, when I am feeling under major stress. She warns me that I might feel a bit weepy because of the tension released from her treatment, and a bit sleepy.

I got to the shops on the way home to pick up a few things, then plonk myself in front of the computer. The session was at 11.30am. By 3pm I'm barely able to keep my eyes open. Not ideal timing with kids home from school. Thankfully my mother is visiting and I'm able to collapse for an hour. A day later I feel fine, a bit tired but relaxed. And no tears.

Next week:

I've been meaning to do some meditation ever since I started this column and I finally have the opportunity to attend a Mindful Leadership Presence workshop. A whole morning of complete silence - bliss. Can't wait.

- NZ Herald

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