Osteopathy for Children
A Q&A with Summeara Bedford
Several of our patients have had questions about children's Osteopathy. We have lots of information on our own Osteopathy for children treatments webpage, but Summeraa Bedford, our resident specialist in Paediatric Osteopathy, was happy to answer further questions.
What should a parent expect during a Children’s Osteopathy appointment?
When treati ng babies and toddlers I will perform all the orthopaedic tests a paediatrician would do, for example checking the primitive reflexes and hips, and I would perform the Osteopathic tests which are looking for tensions and restrictions in the body.
Appointments for older children are similar to those for adults. Older children are much more able to follow instructions so in the examination I can normally do all the normal tests we would do on adults but take into consideration the constantly growing and changing body.
Do you have specialist training in Paediatric Osteopathy?
Yes I do. In 2016 I completed a one year Specialist in Paediatric Osteopathy certification at the British School of Osteopathy and I gained practical, hands-on experience in the largest Children’s Osteopathy clinic in Europe.
I also enjoyed the academic component of the course which focused on recent research and best practice techniques. I’ve adapted much of what I’ve learned already in my work here in Oxford!
Why did you decide to open up a Children’s Osteopathy clinic on Saturdays?
We started the Children’s Clinic on alternating Saturday mornings because we know how difficult it can be to arrange appointments during the school week! As a working mum of two school-age girls, I know first-hand how challenging it can be to juggle schedules. We welcome your feedback on how we can accommodate parents and children further at our clinic. We do ask that a parent always accompanies their child if he or she is up to the age of 16. We also have books and toys on hands to keep siblings occupied in the treatment room and in reception.
Do you have any general advice for parents?
It see ms that increasing numbers of children are reporting back and shoulder pain, especially during term time and the exam season. Fortunately, there are small adjustments that you and your child can make to minimise the likelihood of injury. The Institute of Osteopathy has issued guidance which I highly recommend but here are a few suggestions that I'd highlight:
Ensure your child’s back pack fits them comfortably and is as light as possible.
Ensure your child completes their homework at a desk rather than on the sofa.
Be mindful of the amount of screen time your child has and of their posture whilst using screens such as mobile phones, tablets and games consoles.
Encourage children to be active, especially around exam times as movement in our bodies keeps us physically and mentally healthy.
Summeara Bedford, BA (Hons), BSc (Hons) Ost Summeara is a highly regarded and experienced Osteopath with Postgraduate training in Children's Osteopathy. She has been a registered Osteopath since 2007. Summeara also is an experienced and qualified Personal Trainer and Sports Massage therapist and she uses this training to bring a multidisciplinary approach to her Osteopathic practice. Summeara runs our Paediatric Clinic every other Saturday, offering treatment to children from birth to age 16.