Osteopathy originated in the US in the late 1800s. Dr Andrew Taylor Still devised a system of manipulation techniques known as osteopathy (osteo means 'bone' and pathos means 'disease') to rebalance the framework of the body, improve joint mobility and allow proper function of the internal organs.
According to osteopathic theory, the body's structure and function are closely interconnected. This means that spinal imbalance or restriction of movement not only can cause pain and discomfort but may also interfere with internal organ function. Correcting underlying imbalances and improving the range of movement can therefore both ease pain and improve organ function.
The techniques used in osteopathy release muscle tension, reduce joint stiffness and improve circulation. The techniques may also alter the sensory input to the brain, changing the sensations and perception of pain.
Osteopathic medicine is dedicated to treating and healing the entire patient as a whole, rather than focusing on one system or body part. An osteopath will often use a treatment method called manipulation, which is a hands-on approach to assure that the body is moving freely. This free motion ensures that all of your body's natural healing systems are free to work unhindered.
Osteopaths believe that a patient's history of illness and physical trauma can be retained in the body's structure. The osteopath's highly developed sense of touch allows the physician to assess and rebalance the flow of fluids, the motion and texture of tissues, and structural integrity. The osteopath's job is to create the conditions which allow the body to heal itself. To do this, the Osteopath gently applies a precise amount of force to promote healthy movement of tissues, eliminate abnormal movements, and release compressed bones and joints.
Benefits of Osteopathy
Osteopathy supports both those seeking immediate care and those wishing to invest in long-term health solutions. Sessions meet the needs of the individual, regardless of age or condition. Osteopaths treat patients using a holistic approach, which may include structural, visceral and cranial osteopathy, naturopathy and medical acupuncture.
Osteopathy is generally regarded as a therapy for treating musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck pain, sciatic and shoulder pain. However, Osteopathic treatment can be helpful for problems associated with all areas of the body, including:
- neck and back pain
- disc injuries
- postural strains
- repetitive strain injuries
- ‘trapped’ nerves
- sports injuries
- joint problems
- structural problems in pregnancy
- problems of childhood and infancy
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Karen Willis, Islington Osteopathy Clinic, Colebrooke House, 10-12 Gaskin Street, Islington, London, N1 2RY
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