What is Osteopathy?
“Osteopathy is a natural medicine which restores function to the organism by treating the causes of pain and imbalance. To achieve this goal, an osteopath uses the quality and finesse of his or her palpation skills to determine the position, mobility and quality of the tissues.” Philippe Druelle D.O.
The word osteopathy is derived from the latin words ‘osteome’ and ‘pathos’. Osteome is all the structures of living matter, which include, but are not limited to, the musculoskeletal, visceral, and fluidic systems. Pathos is a profound emotion which needs to be expressed. Together they encompass the whole person, their individual interactions with themselves, as well as with their environment.
What do osteopaths do?
Osteopaths look at the body as a whole, rather than looking at separate systems working independently from each other.
The principle tool used in an osteopathic treatment is a fine sense of touch, feeling or sensing the state of the tissues or systems being examined. The touch is combined with clinical reasoning firmly rooted in an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology. All these together will provide a treatment that is specific to you.
Your first consultation will include a full history and body assessment to learn and examine everything that your body has been through, and what your body’s primary concern is. Osteopaths assess the whole body; and, although treatment may be directed toward several specific areas, the effect of that treatment is often felt throughout the body.
“The entire body, if adequately nourished, functions to maintain, repair and heal itself.” Magoun
What is the osteopath looking for if they are not working on solely my area of complaint?
We have life sustaining compounds within our body: hormones, enzymes, nerve impulses, nutritional elements and dissolved gases, all circulating through the fluids of the body: blood, lymph, digestive juices, cerebrospinal fluid, as well as intra and extracellular fluids. These fluids flow naturally; but, within our body we sometimes get ‘blocks’ or ‘dams’, causing the fluid to find a new path. This new direction can inhibit sufficient nutrients to the location of the dam.
These obstructions are what the osteopath is looking for. Structural and non-structural blockages include twists, curves, and/or pulls, within the bones, organs, tissues or even adaptations and emotional stressors, all affecting the fluids within that space.
Throughout our lives, our bodies adapt to small bumps, bruises, surgeries, illnesses, stresses, etc. In saying this, our body is also affected by the influence of gravity on our posture, repetitive activities, as well as age. Each of these, in their own way, can create an obstruction within the physical system, some simply go away on their own. Gradually, over time, each block in the system slows the body’s ability to efficiently self-regulate and heal itself. Therefore, unless there has been a specific trauma to an area of the body, there is a high probability that the pain your body is emitting is the last place your body is trying to adapt to an obstruction.
Written by Kierra Hautala, 3rd year osteopathy student.
You can book an osteopathy initial assessment with Kierra at Element Therapeutics.