Osteopathy is a balanced and open-spirited view of medicine that relies on both modern science and the wisdom of traditional methods.
Based on straightforward, humane principles, Osteopathy allows both practitioner and patient to restore essential energy and balance through work on the body and its tensions.
The principles of Osteopathy
Osteopathy, is a method using the therapist’s hands as the unique tool of treatment. It involves determining and treating problems of mobility that can affect the different structures of the human body.
One of the original aspects of Osteopathy, compared to other methods including acupuncture and homeopathy, is that there is no need for an intermediary instrument between the practitioner and the patient.
This global, therapeutic approach is based on several different medical disciplines, including anatomy, biomechanics, neurology, physiology and pathology, requiring advanced studies prior to the specific training necessary to become a Osteopath.
The therapist used his hands as instruments of exploration, diagnosis and treatment. He uses the full potential of these instruments and treatment techniques as a vector, the best means of establishing a relationship and articulating the desire to heal.
But Osteopathy goes beyond the manifestations of discomfort and disease to trace back to past traumas that in some cases were never detected. Indeed, even a very minor physical or emotional event can lead to a dysfunction that can manifest itself immediately or surface much later.
The Osteopath’s particular vision of human health and well being is radically different from the language to which we are accustomed: gastritis, tendonitis or sinus and throat infections evoke disorders affecting a specific part of the body, whereas the Osteopath considers each individual from a global, therapeutic viewpoint, where “man is an entity” well beyond the limits of a particular symptom.
“Much of today’s medicine is focused on treating symptoms and not on finding the underlying causes that bring about illness or discomfort. We practice a holistic approach to medicine and focus on preventive health care. My underlying belief is that the body can, when given a chance, heal itself, and that the role of the physician is to help the patient’s body do just that.”
A visit to the Osteopath
The Osteopath begins a consultation by exploring the patient’s background and conducting a thorough investigation of his or her medical history, consulting X-rays and medical records.
Through a series of specific palpations, the therapist determines the areas of the body that lack mobility and affect the patient’s general health.
This initial check-up allows the practitioner to establish a detailed diagnosis.
The therapist gears the bodywork sessions to locating and restoring balance to the impaired or damaged structures.
The Osteopath’s gestures are gentle and painless, and are designed to stimulate the body’s own mobility.
The Osteopath selects the technique that is the most comfortable, and best suited to each individual, according to his age and build. (For example, both the knee and the stomach can lose their mobility, but since they are made up of very different types of tissue, different treatment techniques are required for each.)
The practitioner then works with his hands to stimulate the body’s physiological systems, and can apply a variety of techniques to the following areas:
The articular system: bones, ligaments, tendons, for example the ankle, the sacroiliac, the skull bones.
The digestive system: the liver, the stomach, the bladder and the intestines.
The vascular, respiratory, nervous and muscular systems; the fascia.
The duration of a session will vary according to the complaint. For acute pain, two or three sessions may be sufficient. For chronic conditions, treatment may be longer, and it is a common error to believe that the absence of pain signifies the condition has been cured.
Scope of intervention
The Osteopath treats the causes of functional disorders
The scope of dysfunctions that Osteopaths treat includes but is not limited to the following areas:
Orthopedics and problems of mobility
Head – ear nose and throat infections
Genital and urinary systems
The neuro-vegetative system
In general, trauma related syndromes
Osteopaths recognize the limits to their scope of action. They do not claim to treat all ailments, for example degenerative diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis; genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis and myopathy and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, Aids and tetanus.
Examples of problems that can be effectively treated by a Osteopath:
Preventive medicine, to maintain good health.
This list is not exhaustive.
Disorders occurring following a fall, a bump or an accident with injury, even if there is no apparent connection between the event and the subsequent problem
Persistent symptoms that have not been diagnosed by the medical practitioner
Stress, fatigue or simply a desire to get in touch with one’s own body
Re-establishing balance and inner harmony following long medical treatments for severe illness
Chronic back pain
Rheumatism, arthritis, lower back pains
Neuralgia, sciatica, migraine headaches
by Romain Vallon
More information at www.hands-on-london.com