How it's performed
“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.” (Canadian College of Osteopathy)
Osteopathy is based on the principle that the wellbeing of an individual depends on their bones, muscles, ligaments, connective tissue (fascia) and internal organs functioning smoothly together.
The ability to detect minute modifications in the quality of the tissues is the assessment skill that allows the Osteopath to prioritize a patient's course of treatment. These tissue qualities include congestion, dehydration, scarring, stiffness, density, and loss of resilience, as well as motility, which is an infinitesimal movement inherent to all living tissues. It is this sensing of the quality of the tissue—in combination with the position, mobility, and vitality of the tissue—that allows the Osteopath to determine the tissues or systems that need immediate attention.
This form of manual treatment was developed by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917) in Kirksville, Missouri, in1874.
For further Information please follow this link: Osteopathy explained
During your first osteopathy session, you will be asked about your symptoms, general health and any other medical care you're receiving before carrying out a physical examination.
With your consent, you'll probably need to remove some clothing from the area being examined, and you may be asked to perform simple movements.
Depending on the findings a treatment regimen will be proposed and discussed.
Osteopaths are trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a GP or needs further tests, such as MRI scans or blood tests, to help diagnose the problem.
An osteopath aims to restore the normal function and stability of the tissues to help the body heal itself. Manual treatment of your body is used in a variety of ways, with a mixture of gentle and forceful techniques. These include:
- soft tissue techniques – to release and relax muscles
- cranio-sacral techniques – to balance spine and cranial tensions
- muscle-energy techniques – to sooth painful compressions
- articulation – where your joints are moved through their natural range of motion
- high-velocity thrusts – short, sharp movements to the spine, which normally produce a clicking noise similar to cracking your knuckles
These techniques aim to reduce pain, improve movement and encourage blood flow.
Osteopathy isn't usually painful, although it's not unusual to feel sore or stiff in the first few days after treatment. The likelihood of having any reactions will be explained.
You may be given advice on self-help and exercise to aid your recovery and prevent symptoms returning or getting worse.
In general, the first appointment can last up to an hour or longer. Further treatments last around 30-40 minutes. Your course of treatment will depend on your symptoms.