Osteopathy is a unique healthcare that believes in “whole body” healing through manual therapy that is based upon the biomechanical principals and a wide range of manual manipulations that treat musculo-skeletal issues and other medical functional disorders of the human body.
The World Health Organization recognizes Osteopathy as a medical discipline. Osteopathy is practiced all over the world.
Doctors of Osteopathy can treat anything from back, foot, and neck pain to pains experienced in peripheral joints including the ankles, knees, muscle strains, and tendonitis. They also treat work-related injuries such as repetitive strain injuries, improper posture injuries and also sports-related injuries.
Who Can Benefit
Those who suffer from the pain of arthritis can find relief using osteopathic techniques. Other medical conditions have also found relief in osteopathy including asthma, chronic fatigue, and gynecological dysfunction. Many pregnancy-related aches and pains can be relieved using an osteopath.
Osteopathy was one of the first medical professions to include biomechanical analysis when accessing how injuries occur and what secondary effects may exist.
Osteopaths treat patients using massage and stretching techniques, and also articulation techniques, which are all apart of manual therapy. Articulation techniques are those in which joints are mobilized by passive range of motion. Muscle energy techniques use contraction of muscles and alternately stretching of muscles to work against resistance.
Manual Techniques Used
Counter strain techniques release restriction by placing the joint or muscle in a position of comfort, and applying a counter stretch in order to antagonists of the tight muscles. Functional techniques involve gentle mobilization of joints to discover barriers to normal movement.
Manipulation is used when it is appropriate and safe to do so, and is only a part of what osteopathic treatments are about. The manipulations are done with a minimum of force.
A gentle release technique called, “Osteopathy in the Cranial field” is used on the physically frail and with very young children.
Visceral techniques are used for internal organs and are a gentle rhythmical stretching of visceral areas.
Osteopaths encourage patients to take responsibility for their health by identifying issues in the workplace that may contribute to pain or discomfort and to reduce or eliminate them by making the workplace more ergonomically pleasing, and by teaching patients about proper posture, and how to put less strain on their bodies at home, and also by teaching relaxation techniques to reduce stress that can contribute to disease, and by assisting patients to work with dieticians, occupational therapist and other healthcare workers where needed.
Osteopaths believe that the patient and doctor work together towards the goal of good health. The body can heal itself if given the opportunity through patient education, a healthy diet, and a healthcare practice that believes in whole-body health approach.