What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a type of manual therapy that works with tissue position, quality, and function to enhance the body’s ability for self-healing. It is a natural medicine, as it does not involve medications or surgery; it relies instead on palpation, a skill in detecting tissue states using the therapist’s subtle and refined touch.
In particular, osteopathic practice is concerned with the body’s ability to circulate fluids, such as blood, lymph, and cerebrospinal fluid, all of which have vital functions in self-healing, especially after injury, illness, stress, and other traumas that can impede circulation. Because osteopathy is a complete system of assessment and integration of all the body’s systems and tissues, therapists base their practice on a detailed study of human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, as well as their many years of experience.
What types of issues can osteopathy address?
Manual osteopathic practitioners do not treat symptoms of dysfunction (i.e. pain), but rather, they treat the primary source of that dysfunction. Practitioners are trained to treat all the tissues and systems of the body (for example, musculoskeletal, craniosacral, visceral, fascial, arterial, nervous).
Generally, osteopathy can treat most dysfunctions in the body, including
- Back, neck, and joint pain (musculoskeletal pain anywhere in the body)
- Cranial trauma (e.g. post-concussion syndrome)
- Migraines and tension headaches
- Jaw problems
- Sports injuries
- Whiplash and motor vehicle accidents
- Digestive problems (digestive disorders, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome)
- Breathing problems (e.g. asthma, chest pain/tension)
- Gynecological problems (e.g. painful menstruation, painful intercourse)
- Circulatory and lymphatic problems
- Bladder problems (e.g. incontinence)
- Post-surgical pain, scar adhesions
- Chronic pain, fibromyalgia
- Chronic fatigue
- Emotional distress
Men and women of all ages can benefit from osteopathy. Manual osteopathic practitioners also receive special training in obstetrics, pediatrics, and geriatrics.