What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a natural medicine which aims to restore function in the body by treating the causes of pain and imbalance. To achieve this goal, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner relies on the quality and finesse of his/her palpation and works with the position, mobility, and quality of the tissues.
Osteopathic manual practitioners can work on the body’s systems, one at a time, and then integrate the changes into the entire body to allow for better health and energy levels. Osteopathy embraces the philosophy that the body has an innate or natural ability to self-regulate and to heal itself. The key factor that permits this process to proceed unimpeded is the ability of the body to circulate all of its fluids, including blood, lymph, synovial fluid, digestive juices, cerebrospinal fluid, axoplasm, and all the other intra- and extracellular fluids of the body.
Any obstruction that impedes the circulation of fluids within the body is the focus of osteopathic treatment. These impediments may take the form of structural or non-structural blockages. Structural or physical impediments include generalized twists, curves or pulls within the body as well as specific organs or tissues that are misaligned. These faults may either affect the control of a system that regulates fluid circulation, or affect the circulation of fluids along with the life sustaining and regulatory products that they carry.
Non-structural impediments may include emotional patterns that are responsible for maintaining the body in a certain adaptation of defence, such as a predisposition to holding one’s breath. These adaptations are quite often responses to stressful incidents of the past or present, or are of a repetitive nature, such as raising the shoulders in times of stress or cold temperatures.
Over time, the body gradually loses its ability to efficiently self-regulate and to self-heal. Some of this loss may be due in part to the aging process, the prolonged influence of gravity on posture, trauma, accidents, illness, surgical scarring, childbirth, repetitive activity, or the cumulative effects of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual stress. In most cases, the patient has had some combination of the above experiences.
An osteopathic assessment consists of:
- Interview of the patient
- Performing a complete osteopathic assessment
- Assessing the position, mobility, and quality of certain tissues, fluids, and rhythms of the body.
Once the nature of the patient’s condition is determined, treatment is directed towards helping the body regain its individual and optimal ability to circulate fluids, unimpeded and in sufficient quantity. Through extensive training and experience, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner understands that the site of the patient’s complaints may not correspond to the site of the cause of causes of these complaints. In addition, many people have had overlapping injuries and conditions. In response to these conditions, the practitioner assesses and treats the whole patient, recognizing that each individual may have physical, emotional and mental factors into their conditions.
Osteopathic treatment includes combination of four main types of sub disciplines:
- Fascial release
- Cranial-Sacral application
- Osteo-articular adjustments
- Visceral normalization