What is osteopathy ?


What is osteopathy ?

Osteopathy is a holistic form of manual therapy which facilitates healing by focusing on how the whole body functions as a unit, including the bones, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissues and internal organs. Osteopathic techniques are effective in treating both acute and chronic pain conditions and improving mobility, health, and general wellbeing.

Osteopathic principles recognize the body has the potential to heal itself and provide a unique approach to treating the whole body; not only the area of pain, but also the underlying cause of the problem. Osteopathic practitioners seek the cause of pain and dysfunction by taking a comprehensive case history and physical assessment to look at the interaction of multiple systems in the body (digestive, neurological, cardiorespiratory, and musculoskeletal). Lifestyle factors are also discussed as potential contributors, including diet, exercise, stress, occupation, and sleeping issues. Osteopathic practitioners are trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and a whole range of hands-on techniques to provide a multi-system approach.

Osteopaths typically use the sensitive palpation of their hands to assess restrictions and strains, and provide manual treatment in order to decrease pain and improve function. Treatment utilizes both direct and indirect manual techniques such as soft tissue mobilization (stretching, trigger point), myofascial release, muscle energy, positional release, joint mobilization, visceral release, and cranial osteopathy. Techniques aim to address the cause of dysfunction and facilitate the body to integrate changes. With osteopathic treatment there is no single protocol that is applied to all patients and conditions. A patient-centred approach is taken that emphasizes collaboration between patient and practitioner; treatment plans are discussed then individualized and may include exercises, stretches postural correction and other advice.

Osteopathy treats more than you think !

Which conditions does osteopathy treat ?

Osteopathy is safe for people of all ages, from babies to the elderly. Osteopathy is recommended for any discomfort linked or caused by mechanical imbalances.

Osteopathic techniques

Osteopaths use a wide range of techniques to work at different levels of the body according to each patient’s condition and treatment plan. To make it simple, there are three main categories of techniques.

Musculoskeletal techniques

People usually assimilate musculoskeletal techniques to structural techniques, as they are the ones that can make that “cracking” sound. But musculoskeletal techniques also consist in functional, myotensive, and myofascial techniques. The osteopath will manipulate joints, muscles, tissues to find greater mobility, always in the physiological limits of the articulation.

Visceral Techniques

Visceral techniques focus on the functioning of the internal organs. Organs communicate between each other and the rest of the body through many elements such as veins, arteries, ligaments, canals, and other tissues. If one of them has lost some mobility following a surgery, an infection, it can have consequences on other parts of the body.

Cranio-sacral Techniques

Focusing on gentle hand pressure to manipulate the skeleton and connective tissues at the skull and sacrum levels.

A properly trained osteopath knows how to use all techniques, and will adapt to each patient’s condition, age, preferences. Osteopathy is not about a cookbook of techniques. The osteopath will assess the body globally, and combine the techniques to what seems the most appropriate for each person. Whatever the techniques used, it requires a total relaxation from the patient. That is why the trust relationship with your osteopath is so important.