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Osteopathic Manual Manipulation

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What is Osteopathy? | Benefits | Principles | How does Osteopathy work? | Treatment

What is Osteopathy?

A form of non-invasive manual medicine focusing on total health of the body by strengthening and treating the musculoskeletal framework. This includes the muscles, joints and spine. Osteopathy is a holistic form of health care.

oakville chiropracticThis form of treatment was established in the late 1800's in the United States. The 'idea' was to use a manual approach or 'hands-on' technique to improve circulation and restore altered biomechanics without the use of drugs.

Osteopathy is based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integral manner. Not only can Osteopathy successfully treat problems with any joint in the body, it can help to rebalance any stresses or strains which can benefit the entire body. Whether it is sports injuries, aging, illness, disease or poor posture, Osteopathy can help the body to begin to heal itself.

The practice of Osteopathy includes, but is not limited to: Manual Therapy; Craniosacral Therapy; Lymphatic Drainage; Myofascial Release; Muscle Energy Technique and Nutrition.

Benefits of Osteopathy

Osteopathic treatments are safe and effective for almost everyone. Osteopathy provides highly effective therapy for:

  • regular aches and pains of everyday living
  • chronic back pain
  • headaches, migraines, TMJ dysfunction and repetitive strain injury
  • sciatica, golfers' elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other neuropathies

Because Osteopaths recognize that functions of the body are linked and can affect each other - the Osteopath also works with the body's structure to help enhance and/or improve some of the following issues:

  • asthma
  • constipation
  • edema
  • hypertension
  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • gastric reflux
  • infertility for women and men
  • irregular or painful menstrual cycles

Osteopahtic Principles

There are four main principles of Osteopathy. These were created back in the late 1800's by the founder of this practice, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. These principles are the basis for the Osteopathic approach and directly influence treatment plans.

  1. The body is a unit.
    - the body is considered as a whole, each part affecting every other part and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  2. Structure governs function.
    - if the structure of the body is compromised by injury, overuse, strain etc, then it is likely to have an adverse effect on its function by way of pain, stiffness or instability.
  3. The body is it's own medicine chest.
    - people have their own healing mechanism within that can be stimulated and supported by removing restrictive barriers to the body and is usually able to resolve all but the most serious of conditions.
  4. The rule of 'The Artery is Supreme.'
    - for healing to occur, the body needs a good supply of blood to provide the area with the necessary immune cells and nutrients.

How does Osteopathy work?

Based on the first principle, Osteopaths look at the body as a whole when treating their patients. In doing so, they will look for the source of the problems in your frame – your muscles, joints and skeleton. As an example, lower back pain may be the result of an imbalance in the pelvis after falling. In the same frame of thinking of the body as a whole unit, stiffness in the shoulders and ribs from poor posture or injury could make breathing even more difficult for someone with asthma.

Tension and inflammation in the spine can affect the whole nervous system. Osteopaths will often focus on posture and flexibility of the spine to overcome such problems. If the body's framework of muscles, joints and bones are aligned and in full working order, then the tissues of the body which includes the nerves and brain will not be under undue pressure. This can also benefit the digestive, circulation, lymph and other systems.

What does an Osteopathic Treatment involve?

In order for the Osteopath to understand the needs of the patient, they will first ask for a detailed history of symptoms, medical history and perhaps lifestyle. Once this information is recorded, they will look at the patient's posture and the mobility of their joints. They may test reflexes and/or take their blood pressure, depending on the symptoms.

After getting an overall personal perspective they will focus on more specific areas of the neck, spine and other joints for particular problems. What they are looking for are misaligned joints which are points of inflammation that can cause painful pressure on nerves, stiffness and immobility.

The Osteopath may relax and loosen muscles and free up stiff joints, including joints in the spine, by means of massage, muscle stretching and/or mobilization of the joints.

As with most forms of medicine, problems can require several sessions to alleviate symptoms. And while Osteopathy is not necessarily a 'cure', it can help to promote a healthier lifestyle, better posture and daily habits at work and home. The overall goal is to prevent the problem from recurring and to assist the body to heal itself.




For more information and to book an appointment, please call 905.465.4595.


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