Osteopathy is a therapeutic system of diagnosis and treatment which addresses structural and mechanical dysfunctions of the body. It is both a science and a healing art.
How do Osteopaths treat?
Osteopaths have a highly developed sense of touch or palpation. They have an extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology and can detect very subtle physical imbalances in the body.
Osteopaths use a very wide range of manual treatment approaches, many of them very gentle and subtle to ease out areas of tension and restricted mobility, help improve local circulation and help the body to return to a better state of balance and health.
Different Approaches to Osteopathic Treatment
Osteopaths may have different specialities including minor sportsinjuries, paediatrics, visceral (related to the internal organs of the body) or Cranial Osteopathy. Cranial Osteopathy is known for its very subtle and gentle techniques applied throughout the body using osteopathic principles, and this is what I specialise in.
By very gently meeting the body in a way that allows it to come to a point of balance or neutral, Cranial Osteopaths allow taught and restricted areas back into normal healthy movement and function. A little bit like taking a coat off a coat hook; The restriction is disengaged and allowed to move more freely again.
Osteopaths treat all the family
Osteopaths are true family practitioners, and can gently and safely help people of every age from newborn babies to the elderly.
Good circulation is essential for health
Another fundamental principle of osteopathy is that mechanical imbalance in the musculoskeletal framework of the back and spine can disturb related blood circulation or nerves. Osteopaths find that restricted blood flow into or out of any area of the body, or restricted lymphatic drainage will compromise the health and healing ability of that area.
For example our priority in treating areas of inflammation is to help restore good circulation to clear the build up of chemicals and waste products, and allow the body to heal.
Osteopathy recognises that the body is an intrinsically self-healing and self-regulating organism. Osteopaths believe that physical imbalances and strains can impair the ability of the body to maintain itself in a state of health.
Osteopaths consider that health is not simply the absence of disease or pain. It is a state of balance and harmony between the body, mind and spirit of a person. In health a person’s body should be able to deal with health challenges, trauma or stressful situations and restore itself to optimum health afterwards.
Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the anatomical area of the body which is producing symptoms but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to restore health and well-being.
Accumulation of stress in the body
Most of us have been exposed to stressful physical or emotional events at some stage in our life, and the effects of these events can accumulate. Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope, and symptoms may develop. This is often the point where patients come in to see an Osteopath and say that they feel as though their body has ‘got stuck’ and is unable to work properly.
–Adapted from the Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy; What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathic Training & Standards
Osteopathy is taught as a 4 year full time BSc Honours degree. This involves a sound understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, clinical testing, as well as a firm foundation in osteopathic principles and practice. Osteopathy is based on a western understanding of how the human body functions, similar to that of a medical doctor. Osteopaths use this information and apply it according to Osteopathic principles.
Osteopathy became the first major complementary health care profession to be accorded statutory recognition under the 1993 Osteopaths Act. All Osteopaths, irrespective of the approach they use, have the same training and are required by law to be registered with the General Osteopathic Council.