Everything You Need To Know About Osteopathy

By Andrew Chan, Manual Osteopath

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of healthcare based on the belief that disease is the direct result of the relationship between physiological function and anatomical structure. In osteopathy, function and structure are interrelated. A healthy body plays a pivotal role in recovery and disease prevention. ‘Structure governs function’ – this is one of the main beliefs in osteopathy. By structure, this means muscles, ligaments, bones, organs, and fascia.

The credit for initiating this system of healing is given to Doctor Andrew Taylor Still, who started this treatment at the end of the American Civil War. According to Still, disease happens when the bones are out of place thus disrupting the flow of the blood or hampering the flow of nervous impulses. He, therefore, concluded that diseases can be cured by manipulating the bones, which in turn, helps to restore the flow.

Osteopathy is a complementary treatment.

It is used together with standard therapy to improve health and wellness. Nonetheless, osteopathic doctors (DO) are likewise qualified as clinical doctors (MDs) and Osteopathic Manipulative Therapist (OMTh or DOMP in Canadian equivalent), and they have much more training than various other complementary therapists.

What do they really do?

Doctors and Manipulative Therapist who practice Osteopathy know how important it is to have a proper and correct understanding of the exact position and correct function of each of the structure in the body. Those who practice Osteopathy look for abnormalities in the working relationship within and between the various structures. According to the principals, the physical integrity of the entire musculoskeletal system is one of the most important factors that contribute to good health.

Osteopathy has a lot in common with mainstream medicine as well. However, Osteopathic doctors are not merely bone-specialists. Instead, they are grandmasters in the ‘biomechanics of the human machine’. The way in which they approach to disease and carry out treatment is therefore completely different from mainstream medicine.

The holistic approach to healing aims to take advantage of the body’s ability to heal itself. Osteopathy believes that health, not disease, is the natural heritage of every living thing. They focus all their attention on tracing any changes in function that have taken place within the structures. Within certain limits, the human body, like every other organism, has the ability to repair and correct itself. If given enough ‘support’, it can create its own remedies. Osteopathy ‘ support’ to be provided consists of but not restricted to:

  • A balanced diet
  • Good circulation
  • Positive attitude
  • A pollution free environment

This self-healing is the backbone and sustaining principle behind all the applications of Osteopathy. According to these principles, disease basically originates from within the individual himself. So, their main focus is the patient and not the micro-organism that invades his body. If the disease has reached a stage where the micro-organism has changed the structure beyond the point of no return.

Osteopathy is very different from other health professions

Osteopathy uses gentle hands-on techniques during a treatment session to help the muscles retain the memory of the manipulation done to the bones and hence restore the flow of nerve impulses through the body to promote healing. It depends on various manual techniques that are combined with postural, dietary as well as work suggestions. Counseling patients who are recovering from illness and injury and those who are under excruciating pain is also a very useful part of this healing technique. Osteopathy also allows the use of invasive therapies when all else fails.

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