Osteopathic Healing

Principles

The Osteopathic approach to healing – treatment but also prevention.

The aim of Osteopathy is to optimize the functioning of the body and to preserve health. Osteopaths consider that the human body is a single entity, which should not just be reduced down into its constituent parts (for example, ‘an ankle’, ‘a neck’ or ‘a shoulder’) for treatment purposes when a disorder is identified. The Osteopath considers that the body is a single unit and that the area of the body where symptoms appear is not necessarily the area where the source of the problem is to be found. This can be explained as follows: all the tissues which make up the body are linked to each other and there is a balance of tensions which are placed upon the body. Hence, if there is an area which has an abnormal level of tissue tension, this tension has to be transmitted to other, connected tissues. The site of symptoms/pain is simply the weak link in the chain of the tissues of the individual concerned. The Osteopath believes that the body is capable of bearing up to the strains of daily life as long as there are no barriers to mobility (which can be found in joints, muscles, ligaments, organs, arteries, veins, lymphatic fluid or in nerve pathways).

For whom?

Everyone can benefit from Osteopathic treatment; babies , children, adults (including pregnant women) and seniors. Sportspeople often use Osteopaths to stay in top form.

Diagnosis

An Osteopathic diagnosis is made considering the information obtained from the following: The description you provide of your pain or complaint; when it occurred and how (if you are able to pinpoint this), as well as any history of any similar complaints, your medical history, your occupation, lifestyle and interests. All these elements paint a picture of the stresses and strains to which your body has been subjected. Osteopathic and possibly medical tests (carried out during your consultation). Palpation of the painful areas and those which may be relevant to them. Palpation is the supreme tool of the Osteopath, enabling her to identify dysfunctional areas by touch. REMINDER the aim of the Osteopath is to resolve dysfunctions of the body and to prevent their recurrence .

TREATMENT

Osteopathic treatment mobilizes the body’s natural defenses. Osteopaths use a variety of direct and indirect manipulative techniques on soft-tissues and joints. The techniques are accurate and precise, and are in no way forced. Some techniques, including cranial osteopathy, can be deceptively gentle but are nonetheless very powerful. The choice of techniques used is tailored to each patient, depending upon their individual diagnosis and techniques are modified to take into account of the patient’s age and their morphology. This means that two people, who seemingly suffer from the same type of complaint, may well have two entirely different treatments, once their medical and personal histories have been taken into consideration. Successful osteopathic treatment can help diminish and sometimes eliminate the need for medication and can also help postpone the need for surgery. Osteopaths prefer to use the body’s natural defenses.

HOW MANY VISITS?

The number of treatments needed depends entirely upon your presenting symptoms, how long you have had them, your lifestyle and your medical history. Your Osteopath will discuss this with you at your first appointment. As a rule of thumb, 1-3 treatments may suffice for a new or recent complaint for a generally healthy individual. However, long-standing conditions may require more treatments or it may even be preferable for you to see the Osteopath on a regular basis (every 1-3 months) to minimize your symptoms, if these are a result of irreversible conditions.

HISTORY

Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, an American medical doctor, who was not convinced by the medical practices of his era. Notably, Andrew Taylor Still believed that the body just requires a helping hand on occasion to heal itself of many ills, rather than medication (especially that available in his lifetime). Osteopathy first came to Europe (England) in 1917. John Martin Littlejohn, one of Still’s first pupils in the United States of America, came to London and created the British School of Osteopathy. Dr Robert Lavezarri, a pupil of Dr Florence Gair, who studied directly under Still, is considered to be the first to draw attention to Osteopathy in France. He published a book in 1949 entitled ‘A new clinical and therapeutic method: Osteopathy’.

LEGAL STATUS

The law regulating Osteopathy in France is the décret n°2007-435 which came into effect on the 25th of March in 2007. Osteopathy has been regulated in the United Kingdom since 1993, with the passing of ‘The Osteopaths Act’, which led to the creation of the regulatory body, the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Each British Osteopath must figure upon the national register, which is managed by GOsC.