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Osteopathy

What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
Side Effects/Cautions
Recommended Books


What Is It?

Osteopathy is a method of diagnosis and treatment that focuses on the functioning and proper alignment of the skeletal structure. Osteopaths believe that misalignment of bones, muscles and nerves can cause pain, discomfort, and a variety of ailments. They use their hands to manipulate parts of the body to rebalance and realign.

Osteopathy was developed in the late 1800s by an American doctor, Andrew Still, who became disillusioned with the consistent failure of conventional medical treatments after three of his children died of spinal meningitis. Still became convinced that the proper alignment and functioning of the body’s muscle and skeletal systems was the basis of good health, and developed a system of manipulative techniques which realign any structural abnormalities and assist the body’s self-healing abilities.

How Does It Work?
Osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) is believed to improve the circulatory, immune and nervous systems by removing obstructions that hinder the flow of blood, lymph and nerve impulses. This allows the increased movement of nutrients, oxygen and the body’s natural antibodies, which assist the body to heal itself.

Diet and lifestyle changes that may also be suggested by osteopaths are designed to promote general wellbeing.

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What Happens During Treatment?
During your initial visit, your osteopath will take a complete medical history, including information about your diet and lifestyle. A physical exam will often be performed, with the practitioner examining your spine, joints, muscles, tendons, posture, movement, balance and reflexes. Laboratory tests and x-rays will be arranged if necessary.

Your osteopath will take a note of any abnormalities and devise a treatment plan that may include osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT), prescription medication, or changes to your diet or lifestyle. Osteopathic manipulation therapy mostly involves gentle manipulation of the soft tissues and joints, with occasional, painless high velocity thrusts to mobilise stubborn joints.

Your first session with an osteopath will take 30-60 minutes, with subsequent visits lasting 20-30 minutes. The number of visits required will depend on your condition, and treatments can be weekly, bi-monthly or monthly.

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What Is It Used For?
Osteopathy is used to treat a wide range of ailments, but is considered particularly useful for musculoskeletal disorders such as back and neck pain, muscle and joint pain, sports injuries, sciatica, headaches, and postural problems. The techniques used by osteopaths can also reduce physical stress, promote relaxation, improve blood circulation and stimulate the nervous system.

Side Effects/Cautions
People with bone cancer, broken bones, joint infections, prolapsed disk, spinal fusion or osteoporosis should avoid this treatment.

You may experience temporary soreness for a day or two after therapy.

References

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Recommended Books

Prices are in US Dollars

 

Healing Through Cranial Osteopathy
Tajinder Deoora

What is cranial osteopathy and how can it help you? In this accessible and authoritative book, Tajinder Deoora explains the physiological basis of this increasingly popular therapy, which addresses the relationship between the bones and related structures in the head, face, spine, and pelvis and how this affects our well-being. Using case studies and diagrams, the author describes what happens in a consultation, and how the osteopath diagnoses and treats a wide variety of conditions, including injuries, pain, stress and emotional distress, in adults and in children.

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Muscle Energy Techniques (with CD-ROM)
Leon Chaitow

Describes the basis and practice of muscle energy techniques (MET). This is now a widely recognised approach to the treatment of musculoskeletal dysfunction. It fuses methods used in physical therapy, osteopathy and manual medicine. The text provides a comprehensive and up-to-date presentation of the techniques. The CD-ROM includes video clips to demonstrate the application of the techniques and so supports and supplements the text.

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Osteopathy: Research and Practice
A.T. Still

This influential book is the last work of A.T. Still, the founder of osteopathy, whose ideas have greatly influenced the practice of all forms of manual medicine during this century. The book was first published in 1910 but was long out of print. In this final summation of the fundamentals of osteopathy, Dr. Still expresses his vision of health and disease, and what it means to be an osteopath. He then looks at each region of the body and describes in detail his approach to the diagnosis and treatment of specific disorders.
A new introduction by Harold Goodman, D.O. provides historical background and sets this book in the context of the 'Old Doctor's' other writings. This new cloth edition of Osteopathy Research and Practice should be required reading for all practitioners of manual medicine.

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More Osteopathy Books

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