What is Osteopathy?
It is a common question that clients usually ask, and I will try to give you a clear insight into the main similarities and differences. Although Other disciplines, such as physical therapy or chiropractic, use almost similar techniques, usually a manual osteopath applies a more hands-on approach and puts more emphasis on observation of movement and structural integration.
what is manual osteopathy? What do osteopaths do?
Osteopathy is a non-pharmacological, non-invasive manual medicine. Osteopathy is the treating of the body as a whole unit. Many times, as we specialize, we begin to separate and segment, but osteopathy brings everything back together as a whole. ..Osteopathy is treating the body as a whole system and looking at the connection between pain and dysfunction from an entire body view point. Osteopathy is a type of alternative medicine that emphasizes on physical manipulation of muscle tissue and bone. Osteopathy was founded by Andrew Taylor Still, a 19th-century American physician, Civil War surgeon, and Kansas state and territorial legislator. Osteopathic practitioners use a wide variety of therapeutic manual techniques to improve physiological function and help restore the homeostasis altered by any somatic (body framework) dysfunction . In Canada, the majority of practitioners are referred to as “manual osteopaths”. The manual osteopath relies on their sense of palpation (touch) to evaluate dysfunctions in the body.
what is the Philosophy of osteopathy
- The body is a unit or whole: the body is an integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit
- Structure and function are interrelated or in better words “structure governs function”
- The body is self-regulating:
- The body is designed to defend and to heal itself. The body follows and set path in the healing process and that is:
Step 1: Stabilization
Step 2: Detoxification
Step 3: Fortification
- When the body’s ability to adapt is disrupted, the integrity of the internal environment is lost, and self-maintenance disintegrates.
- Rational treatment is based on these principles
The two essential components of Osteopathy are 1) the structural assessment and 2) all the different techniques for the treatment. The aim of the structural assessment is to identify specific somatic dysfunctions. Diagnostic criteria for somatic dysfunctions focus on the tone and possible abnormalities of tissue texture. Areas of asymmetry and misalignment of bony landmarks are also evaluated, along with the quality of motion, balance, and organization. The term Osteopathy currently includes >20 types of manual treatments administered by osteopaths .
- Back pain, lower back pain, and neck pain
- Getting older ( Anti-aging Osteopathy )
- Walking issues
- Work-related issues
- Joint pains
- Jaw issues and TMJ pain
- Foot, ankle, hip, and knee pain
- Structural Re-Integration
- Sports injuries
- Hand, shoulder, and elbow pain
- Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow
- Postural problems due to pregnancy, sports, driving or work strain
- Whiplash injuries, and concussions
How MAnual osteopathy helps patients?
1. Muscle energy techniques in manual osteopathy
One cause of somatic dysfunction is postulated to derive from chronically contracted restrictor muscles affecting the body’s normal range of movement . Muscle energy is a direct, active treatment with broad applications to any part of the body restricted in motion. In treatment, the physician engages the restrictive barrier and asks the patient to voluntarily move from a precisely controlled position . Muscle energy increases the length of hypertonic restrictor muscles and allows for the restoration of normal physiological motion . The mechanism of action of muscle energy is thought to be related to the reciprocal inhibition of agonist/antagonist muscles and the Golgi tendon reflex [17,18]. When a stretch reflex engages an agonist muscle, its antagonist relaxes via reciprocal inhibition. Similarly, as sufficient tension is placed on the Golgi tendon organ of a muscle, reflex relaxation occurs in the previously hypertonic muscle. Muscle energy is contraindicated in patients with low vitality, fractures, unstable joints, and recent surgery .
2.Counterstrain techniques in manual osteopathy
Treatment using counterstrain is directed at discrete areas of tender tissue called tender points. Tender points are painful to the touch and occur in predictable locations throughout the musculature of the body. They are theorized to arise from an antagonist muscle in a state of “panic,” lengthening in response to a strained and painful agonist . Counterstrain is an indirect, passive technique in which the patient is positioned away from a restrictive barrier of motion. Counterstrain is an indirect, passive technique in which the patient is positioned away from a restrictive barrier of motion. The physician monitors the tender point in one hand and holds the patient in a position of ease . Tender points can be found in acute and chronic conditions and maybe the primary indicator of somatic dysfunction or appear secondary to another medical cause .
3.Myofascial release techniques in manual osteopathy
Myofascial release (MFR) is a technique that focuses on fascia and the surrounding muscles . Having found an area of myofascial strain, the physician applies compression or distraction forces to the somatic dysfunction using palpatory feedback to guide the strain to resolution . MFR techniques either directly or indirectly engage restrictive barriers depending on the physician’s perceived response of the fascia to palpation. The effectiveness of myofascial techniques is explained via the concept of tensegrity . A tensegrity structure consists of multiple, non-touching rods balanced by a continuous tension system. If one component fails, so does the entire structure. Applying this concept to the human body suggests that bones are the rods and the continuous tension system is the myofascial and ligamentous tissues of the body. Therefore, myofascial strain theoretically has influences across the entire body and resolution allows the return of a more balanced homeostatic equilibrium. The use of MFR depends on the safe introduction of motion upon dysfunctional tissue .
4.Craniosacral Therapy in manual osteopathy
Osteopathy in the cranial field or craniosacral therapy was pioneered by a student of A.T. Still’s named William Sutherland, DO, (1873–1954) . Central to the cranial technique is the concept of the primary respiratory mechanism, which consists of the inherent rhythmic motion of the brain and spinal cord, fluctuation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), mobility of intracranial and intraspinal membranes, the articular mobility of cranial bones, and the involuntary mobility of the sacrum between ilia . The goals of various treatment modalities are to normalize nerve function, eliminate circulatory stasis, normalize CSF fluctuation, release membranous tension, correct cranial articular strains, and modify gross structural patterns . It is important to note that many treatment modalities across the spectrum of Osteopathy are applied to the cranium in addition to those affecting the primary respiratory mechanism. The cranial technique requires special training and should be performed only by certified practitioners.
5.Lymphatic techniques in manual osteopathy
Most Osteopathic treatments have an effect on lymphatic circulation . As somatic dysfunction resolves, the body’s natural homeostatic mechanisms are normalized and lymphatic drainage is naturally enhanced. However, lymphatic treatments remove impediments to lymphatic flow and augment the clearance of lymph and other immune elements from specific congested tissues. All lymphatic techniques begin with the treatment of somatic dysfunction in areas known as “chokepoints.” The three chokepoints—the thoracic inlet, respiratory diaphragm, and pelvic diaphragm—are areas that can impede lymph between body compartments when dysfunctional . Chokepoints are treated with MFR assisted by respiration. Once the obstruction is reduced, lymphatic treatments employ pumping, soft tissue, and manual drainage techniques to promote fluid movement. Lymphatic techniques are contraindicated in the presence of metastatic cancer, certain infections (e.g., tuberculosis), and hyper-coagulable states 
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