Osteopathy – 5 Common Questions
Well that depends on who you ask.
An Osteopathic Practitioner could spend hours explaining the principles and concepts how anatomy and physiology interact to create health or disease and how your posture affects your overall well being.
But if you ask a patient, they might tell you it’s a relaxing session that feels kind of like a chiropractic massage where they might mobilize your spine or joints, treat your abdominal organs (visceral mobilization) or hold your head (cranio-sacral).
Regardless who you ask, the goal is to create health.
Osteopathy is a holistic manual therapy to improve your posture, increase range of motion of your spine and limbs and to improve your asymmetries to allow your body to self heal and regulate.
It looks at all your body systems and how they interact to maintain a pain and disease free environment.
By improving your physical body, your nerve, artery, vein and lymphatic systems will function optimally to improve your symptoms and heal your injuries.
Osteopathy treats a wide range of physical symptoms that range from low back, neck, and joint pain. The pain you may be experiencing can be acute, an injury that just happened, or a chronic dysfunction that you have been dealing with for years.
Osteopathy can also treat symptoms like headaches, migraines, fatigue and other health related dysfunctions.
Ultimately, Osteopathic Practitioners look at the body as a whole and treat it as such, to improve your posture and alignment. This will improve circulation of the blood and lymph so the proper nutrients can get the unhealthy tissue to help heal them and flush out waste and toxins accumulating in areas of stagnation.
Even though you may be coming to see your Osteopathic Practitioner for a specific symptom or pain, they will likely treat your whole body as everything is connected. The painful area may only be treated slightly.
Many people describe Osteopathy as a chiropractic massage, blending soft tissue techniques like myofascial release with joint mobilizations. The goal is to influence or guide the body into a more structurally sound posture.
Joint mobilizations, articulations or oscillations improve your mobility of the spine and limb joints. Typically they are repetitive motions that push the barrier of the joint capsule but they can also be held as a sustained stretch. The oscillations are performed in a circular pattern to increase the range of motion in all directions.
Other professions simply treating the spinal joints alone wand they will not a have as good of an effect in correcting posture as treating the myofascial system as well.
The fascia, a saran wrap like connective tissue, surrounds muscles and organs and forms conduits for nerves and blood vessels to travel. It is continuous throughout the body and a fascial restriction, say around your hip, can influence another are farther away like your shoulder.
Osteopathic Practitioners use fascial techniques to length the tissue to make a lasting change. The technique uses sustained pressure over an area for up to several minutes. It feels different than a typical massage which uses repetitive motions over the same area. This technique can be very relaxing.
Other techniques Osteopathic Practitioners use include visceral mobilizations to increase the circulation around organs. Blood and lymph can become stagnant around the organs which lead to a toxic environment. Mobilizing and massaging the abdominal organs improves the flow of fluids to and from the organs to stimulate healing and regulate bodily processes. Pumping techniques that involve quick repetitive compression and release to the organs or ribs also improves circulation.
The main goal of an Osteopathic treatment is to improve your overall posture and movement by relieving restrictions in the body.
Freeing the body of restrictions has many benefits to your overall health and wellbeing. When you stand, sit, walk and exercise with better posture and movement, the motions act on your body as a pump, circulating fluids feely.
When you have optimal circulation, your body can bring the proper nutrients to damaged tissue to heal, provide your organs with the proper nutrition and other substances like hormones in order for it to self regulate and oxygenated all your cells.
In addition, improved circulation allows your body to drain the fluid your cells and organs live in. When an area is stagnant (poor drainage), the venous and lymphatic system can’t clear to accumulation of waste products and carbon dioxide that build up from bodily processes. Ultimately, Osteopathy improves how your body functions at a cellular level to improve health, healing, homeostasis and well being.
But the only way for you to find out is to follow through with a treatment plan yourself!
These days many therapists, even within their own profession, treat differently.
The beauty of Osteopathy is that every Osteopathic Practitioner sees the body differently and thus treats differently.
However, Osteopathy generally looks at the body as a whole compared to other professions that might only do specific treatment on the area of complaint.
An Osteopathic Practitioner may treat your ankle, hip and pelvis to influence a shoulder or neck problem. This is because your pelvis and legs are the foundation of your structure and if they are unbalanced, then the pull through the soft tissue and the forces of gravity will act on other areas of the body differently causing pain somewhere else.
Another difference that Osteopathy considers is that the body has to heal from within. The treatments are not forceful in terms of putting things back into place. Rather, restrictions are freed to allow the nerve, artery, vein and lymphatic to flow freely to allow the body to heal from within.
If you are looking to improve your pain, work on your posture, feel young and more energized or get back to an active and healthy lifestyle, then Osteopathy is right for you. We encourage you to browse through our website and other blogs to learn more. Or, feel free to book online with our Osteopath or email us with any questions! We’re here to help!
July 29, 2021
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