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What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a form of homeopathic medicine which treats the bodyís musculoskeletal system by treating not just the symptoms of the patient, but looking for the root cause of their medical problems. It promotes complete body health by diagnosing and treating the muscles, tendons and joints with the goal of improving the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems. The therapy is a distinctive whole body approach that balances all of the bodyís systems to provide overall positive health. It utilises nutrition and lifestyle modifications rather than medications and surgeries to effect changes in a personís health. Many osteopaths have specialties in paediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine or gynaecology. The holistic approach of osteopathy is well recognised and accepted world wide. The philosophy of osteopathy is based, in part, on the belief that the body has a built-in self-regulatory system and is able to repair itself. Osteopaths are of the opinion that the movement of body fluids is critical to health maintenance and that nerves play and important part in this body fluid movement. Another principle of osteopaths is that the body will adapt to injury or disease and it is possible to direct that adaptability to promote healing. Osteopaths also believe that the body functions as an entire unit together and therefore treatment for a condition should take a look at the whole person.

The objective of osteopathy is to utilize manual hands on techniques to improve circulation and biomechanics without the use of medications. Its main doctrine is based on the concept that all body parts operate together in an integrated manner. If a single body part is restricted due to illness or injury, other body systems will adjust their operation to compensate for this. This could lead to pain, stiffness or inflammation in these other body systems. Osteopathy helps to decrease stress and minimise pain through manipulation and mobilisation of joints, providing deep tactile pressure and stretching of the soft tissues in the affected areas.

Patients who suffer from back or neck pain, arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, depression, menstrual pain, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could benefit from the services of an osteopath. Craniosacral therapy is an osteopathic technique which involves a gentle manipulation of the skull bones. This re-establishes equilibrium throughout the whole body.

Conditions that should not be treated by an osteopath are broken bones, bone cancer, osteoporosis, bone or joint infections, dislocated bones, rheumatoid arthritis of the neck, or damaged ligaments.