What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a holistic manual system of health care that was founded and developed in the late 1800's by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, MD, who developed this system to provide an improved method of diagnosis and treatment.
Osteopathy is a non-medical manual treatment grounded on the deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and neurology. Practitioners of Osteopathic manipulative medicine follow the theory that imbalances in the human structure contribute to, or are directly related to, the development and / or maintenance of disease.
Osteopathic practitioners recognize the fact that the human body is self-regulating and self-healing and will strive for health if given the chance. The role of the Osteopathic manipulative practitioner is to encourage this self-healing capacity through manual treatment - to convert the physical into the physiological.
Osteopathy's main contribution to the medical sciences is this unique view point and understanding the relationships of disease and dysfunction.
Osteopathy is founded on the safe and effective application of the following principles:
- A person acts as a complete dynamic unit of function including the concept of unity mind-body-spirit.
- The body possesses self-healing, regulating and defense mechanisms.
- Structure and function are interrelated at all levels.
- Rational treatment is based on understanding and using the three previous principles.
"Total Body Adjustment" osteopathic treatment
An osteopathic treatment starts with a confidential medical history, followed by a thorough full body evaluation and precise assessment. You will be evaluated both actively and passively, and precise attention will be paid to your structure and form.
During the evaluation, the osteopathic practitioner will use his hands to find somatic dysfunctions. A somatic dysfunction is present when there is asymmetry, restriction or alteration of motion, tissue texture changes or symptoms such as pain, numbness, burning, tingling or itching. The somatic dysfunction is an indication to the osteopathic practitioner in the presence of postural imbalances, mechanical strains, injuries, infections, visceral diseases, as well as many other pathologies.
You may be asked to perform certain movements or to make certain efforts during the treatment, or to rest passively. There are many different hands-on approaches to restore proper movement and functioning to the body specific to your needs at that particular moment in time, and these include:
- soft tissue techniques
- articulatory techniques
- cranial osteopathy, and
- visceral release
An osteopathic practitioner does not only treat symptoms, but also examines the entire body to address the underlying causes of the problem.