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Honiton Osteopathic Centre News

Recent News


2014 to 2015 Overview

Once again this has been a very busy and exciting year for us as osteopaths, and promises to continue to be so. Even after we have each spent 39 years in practice, our zest for osteopathy continues to express itself in commitment both in our practice with our patients, which are our priority, and in our work as postgraduate teachers of Cranial Osteopathy.

Once again we have had a very busy year as tutors and lecturers with the SCCO [Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy] both in the UK and in Europe. Our focus has been on improving our standards of knowledge and proficiency in our own osteopathic practice, whilst promoting the understanding of Osteopathy and Sutherland's work within a wider group of European colleagues. Osteopathy in Europe is very popular with patients turning towards complimentary medicine as their preferred health care support.


  2013 overview.

This has been a very busy year for both of us in the practice and teaching post graduate courses in cranial osteopathy with the SCCO [Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy] in the U.K. and Europe. The European osteopaths are very keen on cranial osteopathy and extremely dedicated to learning from experienced U.K. osteopaths. It is a great pleasure to be able to teach in such an enthusiastic environment.

This December we are restructuring our practice at Honiton Osteopathic Centre at the Manor House. We shall also be opening a new restricted visit by appointment only practice in Axminster during January 2014, which will offer a more convenient service to patients from East Devon West Dorset and South Somerset. During this restructuring process we shall temporarily be closed in Honiton from 14th December 2013 for refurbishment and will reopen for service as usual on 2nd January 2014. During this period emergency treatment for ongoing patients will be available, please call the practice number and you will be redirected so that we can help. 

Spring/ summer 2009 in brief!  


We have been doing lots of things recently. Exciting recent events have included teaching cranial osteopathy to post-graduate osteopaths at a basic and more advanced level with the Sutherland Cranial College; this will ensure a continuing supply of highly skilled cranial osteopaths for the future. [photos to follow]


Axminster Animal Osteopaths has also run its first weekend course, Module 1 'Comparative Equine Psychology and Behaviour'  of the new Equine Cranial Osteopathy pathway that will train post-graduate already skilled cranial osteopaths how to treat equines using cranial osteopathy. This course was very well received and we hope to repeat the module in the autumn [photos and write up to follow]. Module 1 is open to registered practitioners [osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, etc] for details please contact us. 


Meanwhile the horse that we took in for treatment with stringhalt and general spinal problems is progressing very well, we are optimistic that she will become sufficiently sound enough for ridden work in the future.


We also hope to incorporate some research into 'Equine Headshaking Syndrome' as we have found that cranial osteopathy provided by a skilled and experienced cranial osteopath is frequently helpful in these cases that might otherwise require invasive surgery, or worse still, humane destruction of the horse.


Old news!

Below is the Honiton Osteopathic Centre news plus advice from March 07 to 08 - please scroll through to check out the advice for people and animals which is still as useful now as when first offered


2 March 2007

Our new website is now on-line. Please fell free to browse and read all about osteopathy and the benefits it can bring.

Our patients of all ages have told us that they have found benefit from cranial osteopathy from much more than you might think; from infants to senior citizens, and athletes to academics. Osteopathy our patients say is for all of you and your family, and is even found to be helpful for your pets and companion animals too!

Here at Honiton Osteopathic Centre we are specialists in a particularly gentle and useful development of Osteopathy called Cranial Osteopathy. Cranial Osteopathy does not use any heavy manipulative techniques, and therefore we believe it to be particularly safe, and our patients have found it to be effective and well tolerated by everyone, even the most sensitve individual.

Find out more about us by clicking here

April 07



Hello and welcome to spring!

This is a time when we really feel the need to get to grips with the gardening and outside chores, but be careful to build up gently to the unaccustomed exertion to avoid injury, especially if you have been less active over the winter. Outdoor chores like digging and weeding for example, place an uneven strain on your back and pelvic joints; try to limit the time spent to 15 to 20 min stretches, and alternate the activity so that you use both sides of your body. Grass cutting and strimming are awkward activities placing strain on your body as you brace yourself and stretch for the last blade, your structure is also submitted to considerable vibration from the machines and this can cause jarring of your body leading to RSI and disc strains. Try to pace yourself with these jobs and other DIY tasks, and mix and match tasks to avoid repetative strains. Remember 'discretion is the better part of valour' and there is always tommorow!

For animals. Horse and pony owners will be beginning to anticipate a long summer of being in the saddle and getting out and about generally. If you haven't already done so, do get your saddle checked throughly by someone really expert at the job, we see so many horses with 'bad backs' where an ill fitting saddle is to blame, - imagine how you feel with shoes that pinch! It's very important to build up yours and your horses fitness gradually starting with slow work and trying to avoid too much trotting on metalled roads which can lead to concussion injuries, hard ground has a similar effect. Those jumping and competing bear in mind the strain on the horses tendons fore and aft on take off and landing, and the jolt through the shoulder girdle that occurs on landing; done repeatedly this can lead to sore necks and backs bad behaviour and refusals or lose of performance. Generally speaking, due to the unatural strain we place on our horse or pony by riding or driving them, Owners have said that that equines in work which are checked by us every 6 mnths, whether they seem to have problems or not seem to be more comfortable and perform better. Obviously this should be sooner if there are problems noticed.

What we have been getting on with this spring


faculty grp

  Just before Easter we spent a very interesting week observing a post graduate course in Cranial Osteopathy held at Leeds University with a brief to write a report for the organisers the Sutherland Cranial College. Our externally validated higher level qualification in the subject made us good candidates for the job, and the enthusiastic faculty and 80 strong student group made sure that we kept up to our task! Actually the task was quite challenging in a good way, as British School of Osteopathy post graduate faculty members we are very accustomed to teaching and tutoring, so it was very different for us to be listening and observing with a veiw to giving constructive feedback. The image above shows us amongst the teachers on the course.

david leeds    

Hmm! here is David listening very carefully to Christiana - one of the tutors- explaining something tricky to her group of students.

rowan leeds 

This is Rowan observing Christian -one of the tutors- checking a students' approach to diagnosis


Summer / Autumn 07


Gosh what a soggy summer we're having!

Advice for gardeners

This is the time of year when we like to get stuck into the gardening or outdoor jobs. For now the weather has held us back from the garden chores, so for the moment we are less likely to strain ourselves there; however once the rain does stop, its tempting to get out there and try to catch up with all the luxuriant grass and weed growth before it completely gets away from us. My advice is to take it easy and pace yourself to avoid injury. Do small amounts of each task taking regular breaks and varying jobs to minimise the risk of repetative strains; remember its always easier to build up gradually giving your body time to aclimatise to the work, rather than overwhelming yourself by trying to finish the job in one go! 

If you do overstrain yourself, discontinue the work you have been doing immediately so as not to aggravate the injury. Minor strains will usually clear up in acouple of days and be helped by gentle walking or swimming, a warm shower, [best not to soak in the bath in case you get stuck!] taking it gently but keeping mobile, and avoiding periods of prolonged sitting or travelling. However if the pain is severe, or it lasts longer than a couple of days, then patients have said that treatment from a good cranial osteopath, -preferably with one of us here at Honiton Osteopathic Centre- has given them considerable relief!

Travel and motoring advice 


Summer is the time we all like to get away, and is a peak time for travelling by all methods of transport. Everyone has their favourite way of eating up the miles!

For those who have checked out our 'Learn More' pages you may remember us mention the concept of 'whole body vibration' where the body's structure and circulatory system is affected detrimentally by the vibrations from the vehicles engine, the road or rail surface, or in a plane- the air turbulence. Long hours travelling tend to cause blood and lymph to pool in the lower part of our bodies causing stasis and congestion, at best this can make us tired and stiff as our physiology has been deprived of oxygen and stressed by the circulatory stasis. More seriously in people with already poor circulation, life threatening thrombosis of the leg veins may occur. Additionally we also suffer compressive effects to the discs in our spines which can predispose us to irritation of the nerves as they leave the vertebral canal giving pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in areas of our bodies. 

Some of these effects may also be aggravated by vehicle design; this can vary from offset driving position so that the drivers pelvis is twisted or tilted, collapsed or ill fitting seats, heavy steering, clutch, handbrake or gear change, and unsuitably sized cockpit for the driver. From our experience of over 33yrs in osteopathic practice we have found that this is something its really important to get right before you decide to purchase a vehicle. [see our 'case example' section]

In order to help ourselves travel as well as possible it is important to have the right vehicle, allow plenty of time for our journey so that we're not stressed, drink enough water so as not to dehydrate, and take frequent breaks to  exercise, boost our circulation and reduce the compressive effects on our spines. This should also keep us more alert, and if driving, a safer motorist. When we get to our destination its best to move around and avoid sitting down again for a while to allow our bodies to refresh, take a walk or swim before tackling the luggage if possible. When you do get to the luggage, try to lift and manouvre it sensibly without twisting or straining.

If despite being careful and heeding the above advice you do strain yourself, if the pain is relatively mild stick to gentle exercise like walking and swimming, avoid lifting, carrying or long periods of sitting. If the pain is more severe or persists for longer than a couple of days then our patients have said that seeking our advice at Honiton Osteopathic Centre, or finding a good cranial osteopath to contact in the locality of their holiday destination has been most helpful. 

Road Traffic Accidents Oh dear a nasty subject but probably even more likely to happen during the holiday period. A heady mix of holiday makers unsure of where they're going, frustrated locals, and agricultural machinery - conditions not helped but the torrential downpours we are suffering this summer, all conspire to increase the risk. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a whiplash injury patients have reported relief in symptoms following treatment by cranial osteopathy here at Honiton Osteopathic Centre.

Recent research carried out by a team at Leeds and reported in 'New Scientist' 11th August 2007, strongly suggests that neck pain, poor posture and whiplash injuries maybe linked to detrimental changes in blood pressure and heart rate. [The Journal of Neuroscience, DOI:10.1523/jneurosci.0638-07.2007] This alone is avery good reason for making sure that you seek help sooner rather than later 

Advice for animal owners    

For horse and pony owners this is a time of year when despite the weather, we like to travel to shows and events so that we can meet our friends, and everyone can see just how beautiful and talented our animals / children / ourselves are!

On a serious note, the weather this summer has been so wayward that ground conditions have become intensely challenging, and many horses and ponies have thrown splints and suffered tendon and suspensory ligament strains. Obviously it is important to be sure to work or ride your horse according to conditions so that these injuries are less likely to occur, its better to be disapointed and scratch from an event or rally if the going is bad, than risk the possibility of injury to yourself if your horse falls, or your horse being off work for several months with an injury. This decision to scratch is a particularly difficult task for parents of pony mad children especially during school holidays, but a little disapointment is better than disaster!

If the worst happens and a fall does occur causing injury to horse or rider then owners and patients have found that we can help with the rehabilitation process; we believe that cranial osteopathy helps by reducing body shock and speeding up repair for horse and rider. The twisting forces from falls can make it difficult for the horse or rider to maintain a balanced body, and this situation can persist, causing stress and strain on other areas as the body tries to compensate leading to pain and often further injury of weakened structures. Very often we feel that tendon strains are aggravated and slowed in their healing due to stresses coming from other parts of the animals' structure. Equally we also frequently observe that old injuries to the rider can potentially prevent a rider from being in balance with their horse, and consequently unbalance the horse, which may show up as strain or injury to the spine of the horse or aggravate distal limb lameness conditions. 


More events and rallys means more travelling for owners and , and this is a very physically and mentally stressful process for everyone, particularly for the horse. It's worth bearing in mind that even sound well maintained horse lorries and trailers provide considerably less comfort for the horse than we enjoy in our cushioned air conditioned vehicle cockpits where we have a good veiw out and can see all the bumps and bends before we get to them. To discover how it might be to travel from an equine point of veiw is tricky and illegal on the roads if you are in a trailer. Probably the nearest comparison would be to be forced oneself to stand in a cramped and overheated speeding train with poor suspension, as its driver rattled inexorably to its destination - I for one would hope that the journey was minutes rather than hours! . Having a CCTV camera installed in your rig is extremely helpful, a passenger can monitor the horse constantly to ensure that its comfortable and safe, and if problems do arise they can be sorted out promptly.    

Travelling a horse is further complicated by the fact that most horses are naturally wary of confined and dark spaces and this can make loading difficult, making the trailer as inviting as possible and allowing plenty of time to load etc helps, as does making sure that you drive slowly and very considerately when you are loaded up. The physical strain to the horse is considerable, travelling is not at all a rest for them, as the muscles are often placed under more sustained and unbalanced strain than during exercise; sweating, dehydration and azoturia can occur as a result of the assult to essential physiological processes.  For long journey times, digestive and respiratory problems are of great concern. Good familiar water supplies carried with you, a nice full dampened large holed haynet and frequent breaks for the horse to walk around and stale if necessary all help your horse to feel better about the process. We know how much better we feel after a pit stop! 

Bearing in mind the onslaught on your horse physically mentally and emotionally problems can occur, some horses -like their people -travel better than others, our horses are dependant upon our wisdom and our ability to understand, care for, and protect them; as humans we have the responsibility to be considerate to the individual needs of our horse or pony when we ask him to do these special things for us. 

Sometimes a quite long journey made need to be made for whatever reason and this may stress and compromise the horses' anatomy and function beyond its ability to cope with the stress. Prolonged jarring to the limb girdles from transportation can lead to muscle strain and damage, irritation of the nervous system, and locking of the diaphragm as the body braces itself against the jarring of the vehicle motion. Animals affected may shake, fail to thrive, be colicy, show stiffness, or be stressed or depressed. Happily here at Honiton Osteopathic Centre, and Axminster Animal Osteopaths we believe that we can help; owners have reported that cranial osteopathy is extremely effective at returning things to normal ['see case example']

Rug Rage

This summer the flies and midges have been particularly horrid thanks to the weather conditions I suspect. Horses that normally do not get sweet itch have been getting it this year, and fly bites are rife. As a consequence more owners are investing in fly and sweet itch rugs for protection, and some unfortunately are not fitting too well causing rubbing and pressure particularly around the neck and shoulder girdle; - the biggest culprits are the mesh variety as they catch the coat and drag inexorably rearwards! The consequent unsightly rub on the coat is just the tip of the iceberg; we are finding several horses suffering from pressure and irritation of the muscle at the base of the neck and over the shoulder joint and this is more serious. Pressure to these areas causes discomfort and disturbes the ease and coordination with which the horse move his forequarters -so short choppy gait, lack of extension, and weird bunny hops from behind as they go disunited can all occur. Moral for rug bliss, is to make sure that you have a rug that fits, allows for correct shoulder movement, and does not drag back on the horse!  Wink 

Autumn /Winter 07 - 08

Advice for people.

Those doing outdoor jobs should remember to warm their muscles up gently before tackling heavy or awkward jobs. Cold muscles and stiff joints do not have the right level of circulation to do demanding or vigorous exercise and this predisposes to strain or more serious injury. The best way to warm up depends upon several factors related to the person themselves and the job they wish to do. Fit young to middle age people are usually suited to a few gentle stretches, jogging on the spot etc to loosen the joints warm up the muscles and get the circulation going.

Older people, children, or those with health, cardio-vascular or musculoskeletal problems should ask specific advice from their G.P. and their osteopath here at Honiton Osteopathic Centre for the best way for them to warm up.

Once warm, wearing layers of clothing that you are able to shed and replace easily enables you keep a comfortable temperature. it is important to avoid rapid chilling of the muscles as this can lead to problems, so be sure to replace any shed layers of clothing before you feel the need, a body warmer or waistcoat is a very helpful accessory keeping the muscles of the trunk nice and cosy. Once again when the activity is finished try to gently 'warm down' rather than coming to an abrupt stop; this allows the circulation to remove any build up of waste product from the muscles that acummulated during the activity, thereby reducing the aches and pains that can be experienced after exertion. A gentle walk or swim following a strenuous task is also a very good way of 'warming down' and loosening up.