“Osteopathy is the knowledge of the structure, relation and function of each part of the human body applied to the correction of whatever interferes with its harmonious operation.”
– George V. Webster, D.O., 1921
Osteopathy is based on 4 basic principles:
- Each structure in the body supports the body’s functions. If a structure is damaged, out of place, or otherwise not working properly, the body will not function at its best.
- The natural flow of the body’s fluids – lymphatic, vascular and neurological – must be preserved and maintained.
- The human body is the sum of its parts. Its physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive systems don’t work independently -they work in harmony.
- When the body has no restrictions, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners recognize that a patient is an integrated whole. When all of the body’s components are in balance, a person is complete and in total health.
In Ontario, practitioners of osteopathy are called ‘Osteopathic Manual Practitioners’ by the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners maintain, improve or restore the normal physiological function of interrelated body structures and systems, and, enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself. They use various manual assessment and treatment techniques and modalities to help people of all ages and backgrounds, who suffer injury, pain or other health concerns, by easing pain, reducing swelling, improving tissue mobility and promoting efficient healing.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners seek to identify and then gently ease the restrictions or constrictions so the body can function normally again.
Different techniques can be applied in different ways. Although manual techniques are used by various different manual therapy professions, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use and integrate the techniques in a unique way. It is the duration, frequency and choice of technique that make the practice of osteopathy distinctive.
This is the most gentle osteopathic technique, and it requires the most experience to use effectively. To learn this technique, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners undergo years of intensive training. Through this training, their hands become sensitive to the cranial mobility and develop great precision in utilizing cranial technique.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use this gentle technique to assess and treat the mobility of the skull and its contents. They may also use it to assess and treat the spine, the sacrum, and other parts of the body.
The goal of this technique is to adjust the body’s physiology by restoring balance to the circulation of the blood and other body fluids. Practitioners do this by treating the body’s inherent biorhythm. Practitioners trained in this technique can feel this rhythm in the patient’s head, spinal cord, and in the sacrum and the rest of the body. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use the biorhythm to assess the patient’s condition, and they may modify it during treatment.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use visceral manipulation to treat organs and viscera of the body, where the clients may feel pain in any one of their organs, or the viscera may be less pliable than it should be. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners gently move the structures themselves and the fascia (connective tissue) that surrounds them to restore full movement.
Most patients treated with visceral manipulation feel only gentle pressure of the osteopathic manual practitioner’s hand. But the corrections are powerful enough to improve the mobility of an organ, improve blood flow, and help the organ function more effectively.
The above (and many other) osteopathic techniques and approaches are used in a coordinated and rational fashion to slowly adjust the patients anatomy and physiology towards normal, so that the client’s body can heal itself. For more information, Contact Us at Kitchener, Waterloo & Elmira, ON Centers.