Osteopathy and Acupuncture

A combined approach for digestive disorders


digestive-problemsExperiencing problems with your digestive system can be very unpleasant with symptoms such as bloating, sluggish digestion, flatulence and discomfort.

Viewing the digestive process from traditional acupuncture theory and osteopathic principles can be both interesting and informative. This is particularly the case with functional problems where no pathological evidence can be found or diagnosed.

A healthy digestive system

A healthy digestive system involves the balanced control of gentle contractions and release of secretary fluids within the gastrointestinal tract, permitting the break down and absorption of food. This is carefully regulated by the nervous system and special signalling chemicals found within the gut.

As an osteopath; once a case history and examination is performed and you are considered safe to treat; I look for potential musculoskeletal factors that can disrupt this balance. Often there may be compression, adhesion or strain on the ligaments and supportive connective tissue around the organs. This could arise from poor posture, past surgery, history of poor diet or stress leading to neurological anomalies to the gut. Gentle visceral fascia techniques and mobilisation of the spine can harmonise neurological input to the gut thus promoting function.

Acupuncture can also be used to enhance this. Studies have indicated that acupuncture point stimulation can have an effect on both the contractions and signalling chemicals influencing the gut.

Digestion from traditional acupuncture theory is seen as the transformation and transportation of food and water into Qi (energy). This is controlled primarily by the two meridians (channels of energy) called Wei and Pi. If these meridians become deficient or stagnant other symptoms of dysfunction may arise such as the craving for sweet foods, a sense of foggy headedness and low energy. In this way acupuncture offers a completely unique perspective providing valuable insight and lifestyle advice. For example the Wei and Pi meridian are strongly influenced by a lack of regularity or balance. Consequently overthinking (e.g. worry/studying), over eating, irregular eating habits and such like can all lead to imbalances within the digestive system.

Top tips for digestion from the two approaches:

  • Avoid processed junk foods
  • Eat at regular intervals
  • Don’t eat to excess, eat to 80%
  • Exercise and stretch–ensuring you have good mobility and blood flow throughout your body
    • Keep yourself hydrated – this can aid digestion and assist in the process of eliminating of toxins.
    • Being both an osteopath, traditional and medical acupuncturist I am passionate about providing the optimum treatment for each individual where I combine the best of both modalities based on my many years of clinical experience.

If you wish to know more on how acupuncture or osteopathy can help you, book now for a free consultation to assess your state of health, check posture and movement and discuss how he could help you.

Please phone 01823 272227 to book an appointment.

John Wyn Parry is a both a registered osteopath and acupuncturist having gained two BSc (Hons) degrees at Oxford Brookes and Brighton University respectively. He is a member of the General Osteopathic Council and British Acupuncture Council.


Taunton massage therapists offer help…

neck-painLadies!! Ill fitting bras are more than a pain in the neck- they could be a total headache as well!
I’ve had a string of clients lately sporting old and or ill fitting bras who are suffering from tension headaches, stiff necks, tight shoulders and upper back pain. Whilst treatments such as massage and osteopathy can assist in relieving the most acute symptoms, without correct physical postural support, you may be fighting a losing battle.

If you resort to tightening the shoulder straps of your bra to support your bust then think again! The support comes from close fittings around the rib cage with the shoulder straps for stabilising only. Imagine strapping 2 bags of sugar to your body by hanging them from your neck.
Most of us are a little apprehensive about baring ourselves to strangers, but getting a well fitting bra can quite literally take a huge weight of your shoulders.

If you think this might be you, come for a free consultation to discuss your postural support and relieving that pain in the neck!

Call 01823 272227 to book an appointment now


Taunton Osteopath, John Why Parry offers some useful advice..

Ice CubesIt is often confusing to determine whether Ice or heat treatment is appropriate for pain. Both heat and Ice can be beneficial, but using them at the wrong time can prolong injury recovery time.
Ice application is usually advised when an injury is in an acute inflammatory state. This usually occurs following an initial injury, re-aggravation of a chronic injury or following activity. The aim of ice application is essentially to control inflammation and has the following actions:

  • Reducing blood flow to the affected area
  • Reducing pain
  • Reducing swelling

How should I apply ice?

Ice should be applied no longer than 20 minutes. It is recommended to be wrapped within a damp cloth to reduce the risk of ice burn. Some studies have shown that ice can create more inflammation if the area is iced for a a period over 8 minutes. It is therefore argued to ice at 8 minute intervals with 20 minutes break intervals.

Heat application is usually advised for chronic injuries such as repetitive strain injuries. The aim of heat application is to:

  • Increased blood flow by dilating the blood vessels around the muscle. This increases the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues enhancing nourishment to the tissues.
  • Heat stimulates thermal receptors within the skin, which have an inhibitory effect on pain signals to the brain.
  • Sooth and relax muscles which insists in improving flexibility and reducing joint compression.

How should heat to be applied?

It can be applied in numerous ways such as heat patches, warm baths and hot packs. Heat is usually administered for no longer than 20 minutes. This allows ample time for the heat to travel to different tissue layers of the body to the affected area.

Heat and ice are great simple ways of modulating the inflammatory response to control pain and assist with tissue healing. The mechanisms behind these are often implemented within the use of acupuncture and osteopathy taken a step further.

For example did you know that heat is often applied to acupuncture needles. This delivers controlled heat to the deeper tissues of the body, which are often difficult to reach.

For more information on how Acupuncture or Osteopathy can help you contact us on 01823 272227 for a free 30 minute consultation.


A Taunton Massage Therapist offers some insight…

Migraines and Tension HeadachesIf you suffer from migraines or tension headaches, you may end up feeling isolated in your extreme pain. Nausea, vision impairment and disorientation can occur as well as mind numbing pain. Noone who has not experienced these crippling pains can fully comprehend the extent to which they affect your life.
All too often, pain killers are no longer effective, if they ever were, and so the only answer seems to be to retreat into bed and wait until it passes. There are many causes of both migraines and tension headaches- often a combination of triggers, posture and chemistry.

One common denominating symptom is that of the stiff neck that accompanies- often instigates or marks the onset of – an attack. It is at this point that treatment is at its most effective. An experienced therapist can help you unlock some of the causes of your pain with a combination of postural awareness, soft tissue manipulation and gentle exercises. Learning to understand how to manage early symptoms before they escalate can make a vast difference to your life, making you feel more in control and empowered.

Sometimes, a very brief course of massage can break even the most tenacious of headache habit with ongoing awareness that can lead to a migraine free life. Occasionally, there are hormonal triggers that can be traced only once the pattern of muscular tension has been eased, allowing you to track symptoms more clearly.

Massage has been shown to have a great track record with reducing stress and tension levels both in the immediate and on a more prolonged basis. Feeling like you are able to cope and having the weight lifted off your shoulders can be truly liberating. Don’t wait until you are in agony- underlying tension in the neck can be the blockage that creates the foundation for that migraine. Act now to avoid the next onslaught.

 To find out how we can best help you contact us on 01823 272227


Go to the gym and keen to have a good, strong back? But your back isn’t having any of it! This can be due to not following a healthy but effective workout.

Our backs should not be something we just think about in the gym. Our daily lifestyles also have a large role to play.

In this article I will explain the possible reasons for lower back pain, what the problem could be, benefits of treatment and how to maintain a healthy, strong back.

Possible reasons for Lower Back Pain

Poor posture whilst lifting.

This is an extremely common cause of back pain and can be avoided once you are aware of how you lift.

When in the gym:

  1. Bend knees
  2. Toes under bar
  3. Shoulders back
  4. Pushing through your heels not your toes
  5. Breathe!

Ensuring the above procedures are followed is extremely necessary and getting help and advise from a professional personal trainer could prevent any lower back pain and potentially any discal problems.

Your work ergonomics.

This is one of the main problems I come across in Osteopathy. Many of you have a sedentary job where hours are spent behind a desk. We can easily get absorbed into doing a project and before you know it you haven’t moved. Does this sound like you? Spending long hours in one position can have adverse affects… As you sit you are shortening your hip flexors/Quads, your buttock muscles/Gluts can become tight and therefore causes pulling on your lower back leading to back pain!


This doesn’t just apply to females so men do not skip this part! We are all guilty of filling our bags to the brim for the “just in case we need it” moment! This can be from ladies handbags to briefcases to gym bags. A bulky, heavy bag makes you roll your shoulder inwards and overstrained on one side. A rounded shoulder causes trouble down the whole length of your spine: you sink down on one hip, get pain in your lower back and headaches from the pressure in your neck. It is said that the average woman carries a spine crushing 5.2lb, more than double the recommended 2lb!


We are all renowned for getting in to odd positions whilst we sleep but to ensure the best possible support whist we sleep is very important. Spending 6-8 hours in the wrong position can cause back pain. Having the correct mattress is imperative. It must not be too soft or too hard. Firmness should equal our body weight. Pillows are of equal importance and needed to not just support the head but the neck too! If we apply these two things then our bodies can handle the artistic shapes we make during the night!

Potential Diagnoses for your lower back pain

  • Herniated disc “bulging disc” is never “slipped”. The spines vertebrae are cushioned by gel like discs that are prone to wear and tear from ageing or injuries. A weakened disc may rupture or bulge putting pressure on the spinal nerve roots leading to intense pain.
  • Sciatica: This is a set of symptoms (not a diagnosis) including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of 5 spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve. The pain is felt in the Lower back, buttock, or/and the posterior aspect of the leg and foot. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling. Typically the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body.
  • Facet irritation: This is localised local back pain with some hip/buttock or leg pain above the knee.

These are only a few of the reasons for lower back pain. If you are suffering then see a specialist quickly before the problem persists so you can nip it in the bud!

Benefits of Osteopathic treatment for Lower back pain

  • Increasing mobility in the spine
  • Stretching and loosening the surrounding muscles
  • Ensuring the pelvis is aligned
  • Ensuring the rest of the spine is moving correctly
  • Sourcing its origin
  • Preventing further problems.
  • Plus much more!


It is not just a case of strengthening the muscles in the lower back but it is also very important that we maintain good core strength. This can be achieved through doing Planks or Pilates and engaging the core muscles. This can even be done when sitting down watching television! It’s not all about getting those flashy big muscles looking good. Strengthening from the inside out will not only create a stronger back that looks good but a back that could take you through life pain free!

Acupuncture may ease cancer-related fatigue

A recent 3 year clinical trial by Professor A Molassiotis has shown acupuncture can help to alleviate both mental and physical fatigue in patients recovering from breast cancer treatments. (The Times 2/11/12)

If you would like to talk to an acupuncturist to find out if this can help your recovery, please do call 01823 272227 as we offer free 20 minute chats or can book you your first appointment with one of our highly qualified practitioners.

Putting your Baby’s health into safe hands

babyThe first few weeks of a newborn’s life are an amazing time that can bring both incredible joy and new challenges for new parents. The routine of feeding, bonding, sleeping and the growing awareness of the outside world are important to establish.
Babies cry and there may be many reasons why. They could be hungry, tired, have a tummy ache or just need some comfort and closeness. The crying baby is soon soothed after its needs are met. Sometimes parents try everything and still there are tears. In these cases an injury sustained during the birth process could be the reason.

The birth can be a stressful event for mother and baby. A certain level of stress is important for the baby in initiating its tiny body to breathe and to feed. However, traumatic births have been linked to a range of problems in early life. Consider the birth process: the baby’s delicate head is squeezed and twisted through the narrow canal of the pelvis. The shape of the baby’s head is distorted as the bones of the cranium push against each other. This is normal and after birth, the baby has the ability to remould its head back to its original shape. Often, after long or traumatic births, this remoulding is incomplete and can result in a range of health problems. Incorrect alignment of the 29 bones in the baby’s skull can upset sleep, increase anxiety levels and cause digestive difficulties such a colic and reflux.

In order to treat these problems we have a team of experienced cranial osteopaths and a teacher of baby massage. By very gently holding the babies head the osteopath can allow it to complete the remoulding process and the correct alignment follows. The treatment is often given while the mother holds the infant and commonly mum can feel the baby relax as the treatment works.

Baby Massage can relax and soothe both you and your baby. Touch is a very important way of communicating and bonding with your baby. The simple acts of holding, hugging, rocking and stroking your baby are helping your little one grow and thrive. Marlborough House holds regular baby massage courses and all we ask in payment is a donation to Barnardo’s.

For further information about how cranial osteopathy or baby massage can benefit you and your baby, or to book a session with one of our highly qualified therapists, call 01823 272227.

Look at the alternatives before you pop another pill

familyIt has been revealed that more than one million people in Britain may be suffering from constant, crippling headaches because they are taking too many painkillers, experts say. The pills people take to relieve headaches and migraines may be making things much worse, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) in guidance to the health service for England and Wales.

As many as one in 50 people suffer continual headaches because of “medication overuse”, Nice reports. The problem begins with taking the odd painkiller for tension headaches or migraines, which usually works. But some people take the pills more and more often, until they are on tablets for more than half the days in a month. Nice says that if this goes on for more than three months the medication ends up causing the problem it is intended to cure.

So what alternatives are there to continually popping pills? British Osteopathic Association Member Daniel Hayward comments, “tension-type and neck related headaches are the most common form of headache. If you suffer from tension-type headache, then regular gentle exercise will almost certainly help – such as yoga, Pilates, swimming, walking. Some people find it hard to relax and probably don’t realise how tense they are. If someone suffers from headaches it may also be neck related due to stiffness or restrictions of the neck. Osteopaths look to find the cause of tensions or stiffness and seek to relieve it by helping the body achieve more mobility and flexibility.

“Other lifestyle factors such as poor posture at a desk or tiredness can lead to tension-type or neck related headaches. Osteopaths look to relieve this tension and give advice on posture and exercises to do to help prevent the tension or stiffness from building up. For example we would recommend taking regular breaks from sitting at a computer desk for long periods of time or prolonged driving. Any persistent or sudden severe headache should always be checked by a GP first.”

Daniel Hayward is one of our team of Osteopaths at Marlborough House, all of whom offer free initial back checks to assess the best form of treatment for you.

About the British Osteopathic Association

The British Osteopathic Association (BOA) is the professional association for osteopaths in the UK, acting as an independent representative body whilst promoting osteopathy to the general public and government. The BOA is committed to supporting, protecting and caring for its members and promoting opportunities for individual and professional development in osteopathic practice. There are nearly 4,000 osteopaths on the UK register who carried out over seven million treatments last year, and many of these are members of the British Osteopathic Association


HurdlesWith the 2012 Olympics being held in England this year, activity is very much in the forefront of our minds. Whether you are starting a sport or are a professional athlete, we all come across aches and pains during training. At Marlborough House we are not purely looking to make your aches and pains go away, but to ensure that recurrence is prevented through treatment, advice and self awareness.

Osteopathy is a form of medicine which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of the musculoskeletal system (muscles, joints, ligaments, bones etc). Osteopathic techniques include strong soft tissue work, joint mobilisation and manipulation, as well as incorporating gentle functional techniques. Osteopathy aims to help the body return to a state of optimal health, whatever the potential of the person at that time. It differs fundamentally from most orthodox medical interventions, which tend to treat the symptoms and not the cause. Osteopaths spend time listening to their patients. By looking at lifestyle and introducing rehabilitation exercises, this enables Osteopaths to determine the overall body mechanics and compensations that may contribute to the problem. It is with this holistic approach that the best results are achieved.

Kinesiology taping was created by Dr Kenzo Kase in the late 1970s. In attempt to optimise the treatment of injuries and acute and chronic illnesses, he experimented with traditional tapes and techniques. Kinesiology taping supports ligaments, tendons and muscles in an attempt to prevent further injury. In addition it provides compression to a recently injured area or joint, limits excessive joint movement associated with chronic instability and enhances the proprioceptive response of muscles. Kinesiology taping can also be used post treatment. For example; those who spend hours at a computer and suffer with neck and shoulder problems can benefit from treatment, however, these symptoms can continue to make an appearance once returning back to the desk at work. With the use of Kinesiology taping, the shoulder for example can be held in the “normal” position after treatment for a few days, this allows for the treatment to continue during your everyday lifestyle. It can dramatically speed the rehabilitation process by lessening pain and improving tolerance to exercise and movement. The tape itself is waterproof and non evasive. It is not a substitute for treatment but has been known to aid not just sporting injuries but day to day aches and pains.

For a free Osteopathic check call Marlborough House on 01823 272227 and book in with one of our Registered Osteopaths.

Look After your Back!

This month we focus on the Alexander Technique

Migraines and Tension HeadachesThe Alexander Technique is one of the most potent tools for developing dynamic relaxation – the ability to be focused and tension free during work and everyday activities. Through the method you can resolve long held and acute aches, pains, postural problems and develop deeper self awareness. Overall vitality increases and an economy of energy develops.

Learning the Alexander Technique is fascinating – it is more a process of unlearning what is not useful to us rather than accumulating more and more information. Simple observation reveals that we scrunch ourselves into patterns of muscular and skeletal tension when making the simplest movements and these ‘scrunchings’ become permanent tension patterns in our bodies. But we do not know we do this – it is not conscious to us. By recognising this, making the process conscious and applying the method we can change the body patterns and behaviours permanently, bringing relief from numerous aches, pains and ailments.

The sessions consist of simple non-invasive guidance from the teacher’s hands directly to your muscles and nervous system during simple movements such as sitting standing and walking followed by a deep process of guidance and relaxation. There is no bodily manipulation or massage.

It is an excellent method for stopping aches and pains and improving coordination – so people often use it to resolve chronic, long held, conditions. Sometimes people simply wish to expand their self awareness and it is extremely good after courses of manipulative therapy (osteopathy, physiotherapy or chiropractic) to stop repeating the muscular patterns that caused the problem you went the therapy to resolve; it will make the positive changes permanent. After psychotherapy it can help to establish the new found feelings of emotional freedom and joy as permanent bodily conditions.

It is unique, fascinating and effective.

You can book a free one hour consultation and introductory session by phoning Marlborough House, 01823 272227. During this free session a brief case history will be taken, the Technique will be explained both generally and with specific reference to your particular concerns, tensions or ailments and you will have the experience of an Alexander Technique lesson.

Marlborough House has eight experienced practitioners to help your back stay in good shape. Come and have a free back check – you have regular check-ups for your teeth, your back is just as important!

Our free tasters for this month include an opportunity to discuss your fears and phobias with Nabeeh Marar and find out how we can help you cope with them. There is also the chance to try the gentle cranial sacral therapy which works to release areas of pain, tension and congestion.

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We publish regular news articles and press releases to the Somerset County Gazette every month. Please find below some articles that you may find useful and interesting.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – a very helpful approach to anxiety

TFT (Thought Field Therapy) – tap away your bad memories using TFT

IBS Getting you down???… Allergy Testing and Osteopathy or Acupuncture could help!

Osteopathy – helping you to avoid pain

Osteopathy – whiplash…more than just a pain in the neck

Hypnotherapy – Stage Tricks or Self Help?

Massage – Relieve those Autumn Aches

Cranial Osteopathy – Hayfever, Sinusitis and Rhinitis

Cranial Osteopathy – Infant Colic

Articles are the property of Marlborough House – please respect this.