What is Osteopathy?
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is an alternative health profession. Osteopaths use a hands-on approach to examine, diagnose, and treat the body to support the body’s own self-healing abilities. Osteopathy can treat, manage, and prevent a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, new or old. This can be achieved by stretching, massage of deep tissues, manipulation of joints and muscles to help relieve pain and improve function.
Osteopathy doesn't just focus on the body, it's holistic. Learning about our patients’ lifestyles, jobs, and day to day activities allows us to envision the stresses and strains on the body so that we can provide a treatment plan specific to the individual.
There are numerous techniques and approaches used in osteopathic treatment some are direct….
Structural Osteopathy uses techniques such as spinal manipulation to physically free up joint restrictions and bring about movement; articulation to improve joint mobility and increase blood flow to the joint and to push out the toxins that have built up; soft/ deep tissue massage to break down muscular adhesions and to increase blood flow for tissue repair and stretching to increase muscle length and decrease muscle tone. Structural Osteopathy is commonly used for back pain, neck pain, muscle pain, shoulder pain and many more.
…others are less direct approaches such as Cranial Osteopathy, Visceral Osteopathy, and Fascial unwinding.
Cranial Osteopathy is a gentle approach that mostly works with the bones in the midline of the body, including the head, spine and pelvis. Cranial osteopathy requires an increase sensitivity of touch, which allows for practitioners to engage with the deeper tissues of the body.
Cranial can be used to treat people of all ages and is known to be helpful with migraines and headaches. It's the treatment of choice for babies and it’s a good alternative treatment option for those who are not fond of spinal manipulations and pregnant and post-natal women.
Visceral Osteopathy focuses on the organs in the abdomen, as treating these organs can help with digestive problems and back and neck pain. Due to the nerve supply to these organs, when they are irritated or not optimally functioning, they send signals to the spinal cord at the spinal level of their neural supply. Often if the organ is left untreated the repeated signals to the spine will cause a neural load, this will cause the muscles at that spinal level to get tight and start to ache and cause pain. The pain felt in the back, in this circumstance, will be due to the increased neural load coming from the organ, and not the back itself, if you treat the organ then the back pain will subside.
Fascial unwinding. Fascia is a connective tissue that encapsulated all the muscles, blood vessels, organs and bones in the body. Fascia can be likened to that of a wetsuit, if you injure your shoulder, the fascia in that area will tighten up as a natural response to injury. Now, because that fascia has tightened up, you can imagine how it’ll pull and affect the rest of the body (wetsuit), causing tension everywhere else. This tension could be enough to cause pain and reduce joint function away from the site of injury, and instead of a person coming in to complain of their shoulder, they’re complaining of their right hip. Treating the cause, the shoulder, and not the compensation, the hip, will stop the pain in the hip, and restore function to the shoulder thus bringing about harmony in the body.