Osteopathy is a form of drug-free non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body's nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.
This therapy is a unique holistic (whole body) approach to health care. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing.
Dr. Andrew Taylor Still established the practice of Osteopathy in the late 1800s in the United States of America, with the aim of using manual 'hands on' techniques to improve circulation and correct altered biomechanics, without the use of drugs.
How is it different to other medical disciplines?
The philosophy of Osteopathy is what sets it apart from other medical disciplines. The key principles are based on all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted, then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate for this, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness and other health conditions. When the body is free of restrictions in movement, Osteopathic treatment assists the body with pain minimisation, reduced stress and greater mobility providing the body with the opportunity to heal itself.
Osteopaths use a broad range of gentle hands-on techniques including soft tissue stretching, deep tactile pressure, and mobilisation or manipulation of joints.
In some cases, Osteopaths can complement the advice given by GPs. For example, people who suffer from arthritis are often prescribed medication by their GP. In addition to that, Osteopaths can ease the pain caused by joint and muscle stiffness, by improving joint mobility and the flow of blood to the joints, and show arthritis sufferers how to prevent causing injury to themselves.
Osteopaths treat neck, back, shoulder, elbow, wrist, pelvic, hip, knee, ankle and foot pain. They also treat headaches, sport injuries and some internal organ dysfunctions, such as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Some osteopaths use acupuncture as an additional tool for relieving pain.