Osteopathy is a form of drug-free, non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating the neuromusculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine.
Its aim to positively affect the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems. It recognises the important link between the structure of the body and the way it functions.
Osteopathy is a unique holistic approach to health care. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the area of concern, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing.
structure & function are interrelated
From the largest bone to the smallest cell, all anatomy is in constant dynamic motion. The heart beats, blood flows, lymphatic system drains and the rib cage expands and contracts with every breath.
When this inherent intimate relationship between form and function is disrupted, ill health may follow. For example, in a machine when the parts are not precisely aligned it results in at best added wear or at worst complete failure. This will inadvertently hinder the machine's ability to function. The entirety of the human body exists the way it does because every part of its anatomy fulfils a specific function.
Form governs function, function governs form. Health is uncovered when form and function are perfectly expressed.
The body has the ability to heal itself
The body is always working to maintain homeostasis. This is a complex task requiring constant feedback and self-correction.
As Osteopaths, we look to facilitate this process by removing any blockages that may hinder this process.
The body is
The circulatory system and the nervous system exist throughout the entire body. Another significant system comprises of connective tissue called fascia, which wraps and envelops all the systems of the body. This organises the body into a unified continuous whole.
No single part exists independently of the whole. When even a small part of the body is blocked, the entire organism is affected.
The importance of fluid dynamics
The human body is made of 70% fluid. It is contained within blood and lymphatic vessels and intra and extra cellular fluid. This fluid needs to be in continuous flow.
With the occurrence of trauma, even on a cellular level, the tissue will twist, contract and compress causing an obstruction in this fluid flow. Stagnation can lead to poor nutrition and build-up of waste products.
This unhealthy state of fluid motion can lead to disease. Osteopathic manipulation restores freedom in the tissue, normalises fluid flow and thus promotes normal physiological function.
Osteopaths work as primary health care practitioners, you do not need a referral to see an Osteopath.
The osteopath will ask the patient about the problem, the symptoms and their medical history. They will then examine the patient. The examination usually involves feeling muscle tone and tension, and assessing joint mobility. A range of neurological and orthopedic test may also be done. The Osteopath will look at any medical reports or test results that the patient brings with them. After reaching a diagnosis the Osteopath will talk through a treatment plan and discuss the expected outcome.
An osteopathic treatment may include massage, stretching, joint mobilization and manipulation. Most osteopathic treatment is gentle and should not cause undue discomfort. Some people experience mild soreness for a day or two after treatment. As Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treatment, you should expect your practitioner to treat various parts of your body not only the area causing the initial discomfort.