Osteopathy is a therapeutic system of diagnosis and treatment that uses precise manual techniques to restore disordered body framework to optimal mechanical and structural ease. Osteopathic treatment enhances overall bodily movement, the function of the nervous and circulatory systems and improves nutrition and drainage to tissues, thus assisting the body’s inherent healing processes.
Osteopaths treat people for a wide range of conditions, including pain and stiffness in any area of the body, from head to toes. They use a variety of hands on techniques, and are noted for their sensitive and finely tuned sense of touch (palpation).
Osteopaths are trained in diagnosis and take a full case history, perform conventional medical testing procedures and use their skill of palpation and motion testing to additionally diagnose a patient’s condition. Restrictions in joint movements, areas of tension and tightness in the muscles and problems in the connective tissues under the skin are diagnosed. These are treated using a wide range of techniques. Osteopaths make their choice of treatment depending upon the patient and the condition, and may give advice on posture, exercise, lifting procedures, nutrition etc.
The profession of Osteopathy was founded by an American pioneer doctor, Dr Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917) in 1874. It began as a reform school of medicine which re-introduced the concept of the importance of the musculoskeletal system in the maintenance of health. This is summarised by the following tenets of Osteopathy:
• The body is a unit.
• The body has self healing and self regulating mechanisms.
• Structure and function are interrelated.
• Rational osteopathic treatment applies these first three tenets to the care of individual patients