What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a health care system that lays emphasis on the structural and mechanical elements of the body. The bones, muscles and joints are collectively known as the musculo-skeletal system, and osteopaths are primarily concerned with how this system can function at an optimal and pain-free level. When the structure of a body is functioning correctly, there should be a minimal amount of wear and stress on these tissues.
Our bodies are subject to many kinds of stress (for example: physical or emotional) every minute of the day. We are designed to combat these assaults through tissue repair; a healthy immune system; enough sleep and optimal nutrition. It is only when the stress is excessive or when the body's normal defence or repair mechanisms are impaired that symptoms and disease occur. This is when treatment becomes necessary.
By taking a full and comprehensive case history and examining the body's structure and function, the Osteopath first seeks to establish the source of the symptoms. However, treatment will not only be directed at the symptomatic area, but will also aim to address the factors that may have pre-disposed the mechanical dysfunction. The body can then continue its job of self-healing and tissue repair.
Treatment is usually gentle and should not be painful. Most osteopaths use a combination of soft-tissue massage type techniques; gentle joint articulation and mobilisation, and, if indicated, joint manipulation. Advice on life-style, activities and exercise are also given.