What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Treatment by an osteopath affects the structure and function of the body. The principles behind osteopathy believe that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.
To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.
Osteopathy is a primary health care system, complementary to other medical practices. It is suitable for almost anyone and can contribute to the treatment and management of a wide range of conditions. Osteopaths primarily work through the neuro-musculo-skeletal system, mostly on muscles and joints, using holistic and patient-centred approaches.
A core principle behind osteopathy is the idea that the body is an integrated and indivisible whole, and contains self-healing mechanisms that can be utilised as part of the treatment. No part of the body works, or can be considered, in isolation. Relevant psychological and social factors also form part of the process of patient diagnosis.
The key tools for osteopathic diagnosis include listening to the patient’s history, examining muscles and joints and observing movements. X -rays, scans and other clinical investigations are also used if required. A wide range of gentle, non-invasive manual techniques such as deep tissue massage, joint articulation and manipulation are applied therapeutically
Osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council in order to practice. Patients may be referred by their doctor, or may opt to see an osteopath independently.