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Osteopathy is a way of detecting and treating injured parts of the body such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. It assists the body to function again as a balanced and efficient system, just like a well tuned engine. Once balanced, the body will function with the minimum wear and tear, which enables it to have better function and more energy. Osteopathy can be beneficial for the treatment of acute pain from a current injury or disorder and for the treatment of chronic pain following past injuries or health problems.

It originates from two Greek words. The root “osteone” which means structure and “pathos” meaning pain.

Osteopathic medicine is helpful to treat the following conditions:

  • Back pain
  • Sciatica & disc problems
  • Head, neck and shoulder pain
  • Frozen shoulder, Rotator cuff problems
  • Pain in other joints and limbs
  • Tennis and golfers elbow
  • Neuralgia and sinus pain
  • Arthritis and rheumatism
  • Nerve irritation
  • Spondylosis & tension pain
  • Stress related conditions
  • Digestive and breathing problems
  • Headaches and Migraine
  • Sports injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Pregnancy and associated symptoms e.g. nausea, heartburn, backache, etc.
  • Colic and sleep problems in babies

Restriction of motion within the body is often due to traumatic or postural stress causing muscle tension and pull on fascias in the area; this affects the tissue around it. The continual movement of bodily fluids is also essential for maintaining well being. When this is not working, a state of congestion of circulation develops. This impairs the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and removal of waste products from the tissues which creates discomfort and pain. This often may be felt in an area not that closely associated to the original problem.

Osteopathic practitioners use specialized skills to identify restrictions and tensions of the tissues in your body. Their specific techniques ease those restrictions, which allows for normal physiology to continue.

The history of osteopathic medicine

In the spring of 1864, Andrew Taylor Still, a medical doctor and surgeon from Kansas, watched helplessly as the best medications then available failed to save his three children from spinal meningitis. Frustrated, Still started his search for an alternative healing practice. He eventually based his new system on the idea that manipulation of the spine could improve blood flow and thus improve health by allowing the body to heal itself.

Osteopathy was officially recognized in the United States under Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency as he had personally been successfully treated by Osteopathy. Osteopathic medicine is presently taught in fifteen universities in the United States, where graduates are granted medical degrees. In the United States the practice of Osteopathy has evolved more toward the practice of medicine and surgery, with training in traditional methods based on palpation and manual therapeutic methods, as well.

In Canada General Osteopaths practice Osteopathic Manual Medicine or Osteopathic Manual Practice.

What is Osteopathic Manual Practice (OMP)?

Osteopathic Manual Practice is a system of manual medicine based on the original discoveries and clinical experiences of its American founder, Dr Andrew Taylor Still (1828 – 1917). It is the study of the human body as it functions in health and disease. OMP uses precise manipulative and palpatory techniques to treat the restrictions in the body thereby restoring mobility to different bodily systems, (musculo-skeletal, circulatory, digestive, pulmonary and nervous systems) thus improving the regulation and interactions of these systems.

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