What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is an extremely gentle form of treatment that is suitable for everyone including infants and elderly.
In Canada, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners complete a rigorous 5-year program of clinical and academic study in osteopathic manipulation. They treat patients using manual techniques only. They do not use drugs, medication, surgery or other medical procedures.
Life is movement
Where there is restriction of movement, there is pain and disease. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of Osteopathy in 1892 used to say “Find it, fix it, leave it alone”. With years of practice, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner posses a highly developed touch and can feel the slightest movements (around 15 microns) and appreciate the texture of the tissue that can reveal a lack of vascularisation or joint restrictions.
In practice, after the observation of the posture, the palpation of the body and the processing of orthopedic, neurological and osteopathic tests, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner will base the treatment on the following four principles:
1.The body is a functional unit. An integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit (“Man is Triune” – A.T. Still). Current engineers would talk of a tensegrity model (Buckminster Fuller). It means, for example, that the spine must not be considered as a pile of vertebra, but as the mast of a sailing boat held by the ropes i.e. ligaments, tendons, muscles and fascia. More recent discoveries show that the fascia web integrates and harmonizes the behaviour of the various components throughout the human body.
2. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. For example, when you have a lot of muscle (the structure), you can lift big weights (the function), but if you keep lifting weight (the function), you gain muscles and change your body structure.
3. The law of the artery is supreme. As A. T. Still said: Life is movement. Therefore arteries, veins and nerves must be kept free from restrictions to relieve the body from pain. It will also ensure optimal functioning of the muscles, organs and viscera.
4. The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, having the inherent capacity to defend, repair, and remodel itself. So if we work using the first three rules, the body will cure itself from diseases like viral and bacterial attacks. (However we will never prevent you from taking medication).
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use their hands to provide a gentle and specific application of highly developed touch. Some people see them as a combination of an Acupuncturist, a Chiropractor, a Physiotherapist and a Massage Therapist.