What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a science involving diagnosis and treatment through the aid of manual therapy. In general, Osteopathy is a type of complementary medicine originating in mainstream medicine, which focuses on the factors that create pain and imbalance in our bodies. The human body can withstand the rigors of life on the condition that all systems function together harmoniously. Through proper homeostasis, the body has the ability to maintain balance and heal itself. For various reasons such as illness, accidents, or chronic problems, etc. damage may occur to the structure and function of different regions of the body. These specific problems then may radiate to nearby organs, and eventually influence the entire body.
An Osteopath has the ability to assess the source of an issue and to address the problem at its root. Wherever there may be an injury to the various systems of the body, proper mobility, and function will be effected. For example, difficulties and imbalances in the blood flow, lymph, respiration, digestion, and the secretion of hormones. Osteopathic treatment returns balance and mobility to the damaged area and thus generates a chain reaction of improving the body’s function and self healing process.
Osteopathy sees a direct connection between the body’s structure and its function.
Osteopathy is a manual therapy and the practitioner’s hands are his or her main working tools, without the use of instruments or drugs. Differential diagnosis of the problem is done through observation, testing, and palpation of the problematic tissues and organs. The palpation reveals subtle differences of stiffness and flexibility, temperature, movement, texture and moisture. The therapist will also refer to and be aided by various tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and blood tests.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use their hands to treat by pressing, gently stretching, moving and manipulating. These movements are designed to loosen rigid and stiff areas, and to return them to their proper functioning thereby stimulating recovery.
The ability of Osteopathic Practitioners stems from their high skill of being able to influence the anatomy and physiology of the human body.
Osteopathy attaches importance to a healthy lifestyle, especially one suitable for the patient’s problems. A practitioner will explain to patients how to keep a proper diet, do adequate exercise, and instruct them how to optimally carry out daily activities at home and at work. Osteopathic Manual Treatment is safe and recommended for all ages: infants, children, adults and the elderly. Deeply examining each patient’s issues and carrying out a meticulous assessment, allows for the development of an individual treatment protocol, perfectly suited to the patient’s condition and their health needs.
Osteopathic Manual Therapy uses four approaches
Treatment of the musculoskeletal system: joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.
Treatment consisting of massage type movements, squeezing, stretching, mobilization and manipulation, improves the mobility of the spine and extremities, and restores integrity to the body’s structure and musculoskeletal system, so that blood and lymph fluids can properly flow.
The Connective tissue proper or myofascia plays a central role in the Osteopathic approach. This complex tissue wraps the entire body from head to toe and also passes through significant parts of the human body connecting everything on every level. Problematic areas going through stress and pain in various parts of the body influence the fascia and vise versa. Treating the fascia and releasing it helps reduce pain. The effected areas and the subsequent improvement in the fascial connective tissue then cause healing to take place, influencing the rest of the body, and helping its manner of functioning.
Manually treating internal organs to improve their functioning. Assessment and treatment are done by palpation and gentle mobilization of the organs in the abdomen and chest cavity using their anatomy and relationship with the autonomic nervous system. Treatment regulates motility and the internal rhythm of problematic organs, and thus reduces pain, improves the functioning of the systems, promotes the body’s self-healing, and prevents the projection of pain to other areas.
Treating the bones of the skull and face. Using gentle treatment and precision to improve the mobility of the bones of the skull, and to help regulate the rhythm of their tiny movements and fluctuations.
This process causes the release of stress in the outer layer of the brain and improves the flow of cerebrospinal spinal fluid all the way down the spinal cord to the sacrum.
This change has implications for and influences the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and the flow of fluids in the body.
Studies conducted by the founders of Osteopathy at the beginning of the 20th century showed the effectiveness of this technique, and clinical studies in the last decade have shown success in patients of all ages.