What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is based on in human physiology, anatomy, embryology and other biomedical sciences. It is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by assisting the body’s natural ability to self heal. Osteopaths use techniques such as joint manipulation, stretching and massage in order to:
- Relieve muscle tension
- Increase mobility of the joints
- Enhance blood supply to tissues
In Osteopathy, the human being is seen as a whole where all parts affect each other. If a part of the body has impaired function, eg a joint, the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, which can cause overload, inflammation and pain in other parts. For this reason the Osteopath will assess the function and mobility of the entire body before treating any specific areas of complaint and determine the best course of treatment for each patient on an individual basis.
When appropriate osteopathic treatment can complement and even replace drugs or surgery. In this way it contributes significantly to standard health care.
What to expect from an Osteopathic treatment?
The aim of Osteopathy is to improve and support all aspects of health and healthy development. Osteopathic treatment may be preventive, or curative and focuses more on the desired result of relieving pain than on the cause of it. Osteopaths analyse and evaluate the structural and functional integrity of the body using critical reasoning of osteopathic principles to inform individual diagnosis and treatment of the patient.
Using Osteopathic Manual Treatment (OMT), the osteopathic physician (DO) focuses on the whole body, including the spine and nervous system as well as the soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments and tendons and may use a variety of different hands-on methods, including:
- Spinal manipulation
- Soft tissue massage techniques
- Articulation – gentle rhythmic joint movements
- Stretching muscles and joint capsules
- Muscle energy techniques – encouraging muscles to work against resistance
Osteopaths use manual contact to identify and evaluate movement in all structural and functional aspects of the patient, first identifying and then addressing alterations of function and movement that impede health.