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Floor Sitting for health

So I’ve come back from this years  Osteopathy Australia conference, with my mind full of new ideas and exciting things that I can use to help more people feel better.  One of them was a talk and short practical session with Phillip Beach.  He is an Osteopath who is originally from Australia, but has spent many years overseas leaning and developing his concepts and interventions.

The main concept he talked about with our session was the idea that we all sit on chairs too much.  The human body is amazing with its self-healing mechanisms and its ability to adapt to different environments and stresses.  Unfortunately, sitting in one position for many hours of the day could be negatively impacting our health.

We know with research that sitting on a chair has greater force on the discs in the low back when compared to standing up or lying down (see image below).  I also know within myself that when I’ve been doing anything for too long I start to feel tight/stiff/achey (think about getting out of the car after driving for a few hours – you will want to stretch afterwards).


To that end – it was his suggestion, and part of his therapy to help people with generalised movement problems that getting used to spending more time on the floor was in the long term better for health and quality of movement.  The added bonus, is that getting up off the floor is good conditioning for your muscles rather than simple getting up from a chair.  sidenote: This is not a recommendation for everyone, I know some people will in fact make themselves feel more worse due to underlying conditions.

So for the next month, I have given up my lounge chair at home and instead have gotten myself a foam Matt.  I got the Matt as i have spend time on my floor boards and found them to be a little too hard, and at times quite cold.  I will still sit in chairs at work (though i have swapped out for my stool, so will not be sitting with the chair back).

Trying to keep things clean with pets and two young children can be challenging

Over the coming  weeks I will update you all on how it has been feeling, things that I’ve noticed and some floor stretches that you can do at home for general fitness and mobility.

Dr. Luke Richter (Osteopath)
329-347 Diamond Creek Road, Diamond Creek 3089
Providing massage and osteopathic treatment for those in Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Eltham, Hurstbridge and surrounding suburbs.



ADHD and osteopathy/manual therapy – what can be done

Lately I’ve had a few people asking me my opinion as a health professional (osteopath) about ADHD and osteopathy.

First off research – well in regards to research about Osteopathy and ADHD there is a study released in 2014:

Effect of Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy in the Attentive Performance of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

This is research done with a relatively small group in Italy (28 children aged 5-15) and divided into two groups – one who received conventional care, and one who received conventional care and Osteopathic manual therapy.  Those who had the manual therapy did have improvements in outcomes testing for Biancardi-Stroppa Modified Bell Cancellation Test.  This is a test that looks at the ability of a child to find certain shapes and ignore background or distracting information.

Overall the research suggested further study would be a good idea – increasing the number of children involved in the study.  It it also noted that this research is performed in Italy, and while treatment may be of a similar nature, I could not verify if the techniques used would of been similar to that in Australia.

So research is very limited in its opinion of osteopathy in Australia and how it can help with ADHD.  With the AHPRA regulations for Osteopaths in Australia that means it is not allowable to advertise that Osteopathy can help with ADHD.

However People/children with ADHD get tight and sore muscles much the same as anybody else and that is something that osteopathy may be helpful for.  Having fallen down off a trampoline, or tripped while running, or any other number of injuries can result in muscular sprains and strains that may benefit from the attention of an osteopath (such as Luke at Good Health Osteopathy in Diamond Creek).

Other considerations:

Other things to consider can be other factors which may affect ADHD.

  1. Diet and Gut Microbiome: There are pretty definitive links between Autism Spectrum and Changes to Gut Microbiome (balance of different bacteria’s inside the digestive tract), and as of yet it has not been shown in those with ADHD.  What is known however, that those with ADHD are almost 3 times more likely to suffer from constipation, and those born via C-section have slightly increased likelyhood of having ADHD later on in life.  Both of those would likely indicate an increased chance of having gut dysbiosis.
  2. Retained ‘primitive reflexes’:  There is a neonatal/baby reflex known as the galant reflex that you will see in babies usually up to about 6 months.  This is a reflex believed to help with birth and to help establish hip mobility and crawling patterns.  At times this reflex can be retained until later on into childhood and even adulthood.  This study found higher levels of retained reflex in children with ADHD, and other research has linked this retained reflex to higher levels of children bed wetting over the age of 5.

For those wanting to be more proactive in managing an individual with ADHD there are exercise and advice that could be given to potentially help with the above two points.

Dr. Luke Richter (Osteopath) and Angie Richter (Massage)
329-347 Diamond Creek Road, Diamond Creek 3089
Providing massage and osteopathic treatment for those in Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Eltham, Hurstbridge and surrounding suburbs.



Should I use a foam roller

I’ve been getting more people ask if they should use a foam roller and given the growing popularity, I thought it worthwhile discussing weather you might need one or not.

First off. Foam rolling is a form of releasing muscles that people have been doing for thousands of years. It essentially works out to being quite similar to if you get a massage, osteopathic treatment or other form of muscular release.  The fancy term for it is a myofascial release.  This means you are releasing the muscles and fascia (a type of connective tissue).  You are also influencing the circulatory and nervous systems.

The technical side of things: there are 4 types of mechanoreceptors in fascia – Golgi, Pacini, Ruffini and Interstitial.  Golgi receptors typically respond most to strong stretch, pacini to rapid changes in pressures and vibration, Ruffini to sustained pressure and lateral stretch and Interstitial which are stimulated by both rapid changes to pressure and sustained pressure.  It is the stimulation of these receptors with foam rolling that will release and relax the muscle

  1. Do I need a Foam Roller

No, Definitely not.  Though a foam roller may make it easier for you to achieve your goals, the ultimate goal is pressure and movement on the muscles in a controlled and consistent way.  Some people may use golf or tennis balls to achieve the same goals.  I’ve had clients come in to see me as an osteopath in Diamond creek who haven’t wanted to buy a foam roller and instead used a wooden rolling pin from their kitchen.  One individual who was limited in movement and had a walking stick as a mobility aid used the walking stick while sitting down and watching TV.  Use your imagination (and common sense) if you want to get started but don’t want to buy a foam roller.

What i will say though, is that a medium density foam roller can be very good for certain areas of the body where you don’t want as much pressure.  The firm rollers with spikes/knobs can be much to sore for many.

2. How much pressure should i use

How much pressure do you like with a massage?  As i mentioned before foam rolling will affect the nervous system, if your body feels under attack (like the first time you roll out the outside of your leg/ITB’s) it will likely tighten up and you won’t get as much benefit.  You will also increase the chance of pulling up quite tender afterwards.

If you feel like using it on the floor with your body weight is too much pressure, try doing it against a wall, or if you have a willing helper, lie down and get them to move the foam roller over you.

3. How long should I do it for

Typically I recommend doing each region or muscle group for approximately 30-60 seconds.  However if you have a spot that is especially tight/knotted, or you are trying to achieve specific goals with that region, you can roll for about 2-3 minutes.

4. Can I use my foam roller for other things

Aside from using it to have roller fights with your friends, there are a few alternative uses for it (depending on size, density etc).

  • Lying the roller on the floor and standing on it, can be a great way to work on your proprioception and balance.  This of course won’t work for the cheaper rollers with a hollow core (trust me they break).
  • As mentioned, you can get a family member or friend to roll out your muscles for you. This is particularly helpful in hard to roll places such as your lats (latissimus dorsi is your main arm abductor, and can be rolled out on the outside/back of your rib cage).

If unsure you can talk to a trusted health professional such as an osteopath, or other professionals who have an interest in these types of things like a massage therapist (Angie at Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek is excellent), personal trainer or physiotherapist etc.


Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek
Dr. Luke Richter (Osteopath) and Angie Richter (Massage)
329-347 Diamond Creek Road, Diamond Creek 3089
Providing massage and osteopathic treatment for those in Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Eltham, Hurstbridge and surrounding suburbs.