Osteopathy is the science of the musculoskeletal system which involves manual external manipulation of the skeletal system and muscles to treat the patient. The central belief of this manual medicine is that a healthy body relies on a structurally sound musculoskeletal system.
Only when the bones, joints and muscles are working smoothly and in sequence can the other systems of the body function at their best.The body is believed incredibly capable of healing itself – and maintaining a healthy state – if barriers, such as structural problems and poor posture, are removed. Osteopathy was developed by a physician in the late 1800’s and has since gained world-wide recognition as a valuable and effective healing system.
Central to osteopathy is the study of ‘biomechanics’ – how each part of the musculoskeletal system interacts with and influences every other part. Any joint or muscle injury must therefore be treated in the context of the whole body, since other parts of the musculoskeletal system will also be affected. For instance, an ankle injury may mean that the patient limps and favours the other foot. Over time, this imbalance can lead to secondary injuries, such as soreness in the other ankle, knee or hip, or perhaps back pain.
The osteopath will devise a strategy of treatment that takes into account the entire musculoskeletal system. Attention is given to other systems of the body – such as the circulatory, nervous and lymphatic systems – since these all play significant roles in the healing process.