Osteopathy is a primary health care system, complementary to other medical practices. It is suitable for almost anyone and can contribute to the treatment and management of a wide range of conditions. Osteopaths primarily work through the neuro-musculo-skeletal system, mostly on muscles and joints, using holistic and patient centered approaches.
A core principle behind osteopathy is the idea that the body is an integrated and indivisible whole, and contains self-healing mechanisms that can be utilized as part of the treatment. No part of the body works, or can be considered, in isolation. Relevant psychological and social factors also form part of the process of patient diagnosis.
Osteopathy is based on the following concepts:
• The body is one functioning unit, with inter-related areas (bones, joints, ligaments, discs, muscles, tendons and nerves)
• The body has the inherent capacity to defend, repair and remodel itself
• Structure and function are reciprocally inter-related
• Rational therapy is based on consideration of the above principles
Using these concepts, an osteopath is able to manipulate bones, joints and soft tissue in order to restore your body’s normal working patterns, and thus alleviate the discomfort you may be suffering.
The key tools for osteopathic diagnosis include listening to the patient’s history, examining muscles and joints and observing movements. X -rays, scans and other clinical investigations are also used if required. A wide range of gentle, non-invasive manual techniques such as deep tissue massage, joint articulation and manipulation are applied therapeutically.
Osteopaths must be registered in order to practice. Patients may be referred by their doctor, or may opt to see an osteopath independently.
What are the benefits of osteopathic treatment?
Most people associate osteopathy with back pain; however, this treatment is much more versatile than people think and can actually be used to treat a broad range of health conditions. Osteopathy is founded on the belief that a healthy musculoskeletal system is a strong foundation for a healthy body, so a range of different illnesses can benefit from treatment. Some of the benefits include:
Removes the underlying cause of pain:
- Reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints
- Increases range of motions in the joints
- Treats spinal problems resulting from poor posture or spinal disk injuries
Relieves chronic pain through non-invasive treatment:
- Decreases the stress on the joints
- Reduces tension in the body
- Relieves tension headaches and migraine headaches
- Helps the body to adapt to hormonal and structural changes during pregnancy
- Reduces scars and adhesions
- Treats trauma resulting from accidents (Sport injuries, Motor vehicle injuries)
Encourages the body to heal itself:
- Increase circulation
- Reduces blood pressure
Who Can Benefit From Osteopathic Treatments?
Osteopathy is effective for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. It offers an approach with gentle non-invasive techniques. An osteopathic assessment is so refined that the osteopathic manual practitioner can detect dysfunction without necessarily even having the benefit of a specific complaint, often difficult to obtain from young children.
Osteopathy is equally beneficial to athletes (whether professional or amateur), individuals with problems stemming from a sedentary job or life style, those exposed to occupational hazards, and to people suffering from a wide range of traumas.
Osteopathy can be a complement to medical care for women throughout their pregnancy and to mothers immediately after the delivery. In fact, osteopathy can be very effective in assisting the mother’s body to restore and resume function in the post-partum period.
Osteopathy assists patients to “manage” their own health so that “good health” is restored and maintained whenever possible. The philosophy of osteopathy promotes ‘health’ as opposed to ‘illness’, teaches people to learn to appreciate a quality of life and encourages opportunities to live it to the fullest.
Osteopathy customizes treatments for each individual according to his or her age, physical characteristics and specific reactions to treatments.