What is Osteopathy?
Manual osteopathy is a holistic treatment approach which uses manual palpation and mobilization of body structures. When combined with therapeutic exercises, biomechanics, orthopaedic and neurological assessment, it can prove to be a very effective treatment solution for many chronic and acute conditions.
One of the basic premises of manual osteopathy is based on the concept that the body has the ability to heal itself. Any loss in function, whether from natural or traumatic causes, disturbs the body’s fluid movements, which in turn brings about dysfunctions.
Manual osteopathy is a philosophy, a method of treatment, not simply a collection of techniques. Manual osteopaths combine this method with the most current scientific evidence-based medical knowledge to ensure successful outcomes. It is a patient focused approach, rather than disease based. By improving the body’s structural balance, manual osteopathy can deeply improve the body’s physiological functions.
At its core, manual osteopathy has 8 governing principles which form the foundation of this treatment approach:
- The body is a unit. Rather than treat simply the affected structure, manual osteopaths will look at the entire body, and restore it to its optimal level.
- Structure and function are reciprocally inter-related. ‘Structure defines function’ is an important principle for rehabilitation and training. By restoring optimal posture and body alignment, clients will optimize their ability to harness their body’s functional performance.
- The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms. The human body is one of the most complex and fascinating structures in nature. It has the amazing ability to keep all of its systems in balance.
- The body has the inherent capacity to defend and repair itself. It follows a 3 step healing process:
- When the normal adaptability is disrupted, or when environmental changes overcome the body’s capacity for self maintenance, disease may ensue. Thus optimization of structural balance is important to allow the body’s physiology to perform optimally.
- The movement of body fluids is essential to the maintenance of health. By restoring the movement of body fluids, it improves removal of toxins, and the transport of nutrients to the body’s structures.
- The nerves play a crucial part in controlling the fluids of the body. Manual osteopathy techniques can affect the function of the nervous system, in turn optimizing the movement of body fluids.
- There are somatic components to disease that are not only manifestations of disease, but also are factors that contribute to maintenance of the disease state. By treating these somatic components, manual osteopathy can assist the body return to a more natural, balanced and healthy state.
To sum it up, manual osteopathy can be described as a holistic approach to health.