March 19, 2009 — Britain is facing a stress epidemic as more than 77 percent of people surveyed by the British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) claim that the current risk of economic uncertainty has increased their stress levels as well as their partner’s stress levels.

A staggering 79 percent of those same respondents claimed to have lost their job or become aware that they are at risk of losing it within the past 3-6 months, even though, when pushed, only 29 percent of those respondents could say with any certainty that they or their partner had already lost their job or that they were liable to lose it, highlighting the gap between actual reality and anticipation of what could happen. Asked whether the media portrayal of the economic situation was creating more stress for them almost 79 percent claimed that it was.

In addition, 72 percent said that the stress experienced by themselves or their partner was also manifesting itself physically. Asked for the way in which their stress was presenting itself the majority (45%) said they felt depressed, followed by 20 percent citing insomnia and 9 percent with ‘chronic pain’ such as back pain and RSI. Stress-induced headaches and migraine were cited by 8 percent, and 6 percent with psoriasis or eczema.

Asked how significant an impact the stress was having on close relationships with family friends 14 percent said it was ‘very significant’, followed by 44 percent claiming it was ‘fairly significant’. However, when asked what steps they were taking in order to combat the stress 55 percent claimed to be focussed more on exercise and healthy diet, followed by 34 percent who simply said they were ‘doing nothing’; 13 percent said they were using prescribed medication, compared with almost 7 percent on alternative medication. In terms of physical therapies, massage fared well with almost 13 percent claiming to use it to manage, and 2 percent using osteopathy specifically.

When asked what would encourage them to take up a physical therapy to treat their stress 57 percent said the cost, 44 percent said better information, 33 percent said easier access to facilities and 22 percent said more widely publicised scientific results.

Dr. Ian Drysdale, College Principal, said, “This survey shows not only how the obvious factors of economic uncertainty affect our stress levels, but that the cost of then taking up activities or treatments that could combat the stress is an equally important factor. We hear of so many different treatments out there that all claim to alleviate stress but many of them are still inaccessible to far too many. It also highlights the importance of clearer communication of the benefits of alternative and physical therapies as well as more evidence-based benefits of such therapies”

About BCOM

The British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) was founded in 1936 by Stanley Lief, the eminent naturopathic osteopath. It is a statutory regulated and accredited training facility, educational charity and centre of excellence in Osteopathic education, regulated by the Osteopaths act of 1993 and accredited by the General Osteopathic Council.

BCOM clinics provide high quality, low-cost treatment based on holistic, or naturopathic, osteopathy. This is a uniquely integrated approach, centring on the treatment and education of our patients not only in terms of their particular problem, but also in the wider context of their lifestyle and its effect on them.

Men, women and children of all ages come to BCOM Clinics for treatment of a wide variety of conditions. Patients are assured of the highest standards of care, with all treatments carried out by clinical students under strict supervision of qualified and experienced osteopaths.

Since its formation in 1936, the British College of Osteopathic Medicine has achieved an international reputation for the professional excellence of its teaching and qualifications. In 2008, BCOM launched its undergraduate Masters in Osteopathy, providing public funding to eligible students.

British College of Osteopathic Medicine