What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a gentle, hands-on treatment that helps to reduce pain, improve mobility, and stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Treatment is focused on addressing abnormal tensions in the body’s tissues in order to support free movement and improved functioning.
How does it differ from other disciplines?
Treatment is not only limited to the muscles, fascia, joints, and ligaments, but also extends to the gentle manipulation of the head and internal organs to optimize health. The focus of osteopathy is on promoting balance in the body’s musculoskeletal system, as well as balancing the central nervous system.
The individual being treated is viewed as a whole unit, not just as the symptoms that are presenting at the time. This means that treatment for a specific complaint will often involve treatment in other areas of the body which are affected by association. Osteopathy does not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but, instead, uses manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, in order to achieve overall health and wellbeing.
What techniques do osteopaths use?
Gentle soft-tissue techniques: These are used to free up restrictions in the musculoskeletal system (muscles, fascia, joints, ligaments) to improve range of motion and reduce pain.
Visceral manipulation: This technique involves gentle mobilizations of the viscera, or internal organs, to treat a variety of conditions from low-back pain, to constipation, acid reflux (heartburn), and insomnia, just to name a few. Very little pressure is used with visceral manipulation, and the objective is to free up local restrictions which may, ultimately, be causing issues in other areas of the body.
Craniosacral techniques: With very gentle pressure, osteopaths are trained to seek out subtle movement patterns within the individual bones of the skull and throughout the body. The goal of this technique is to locate areas of restricted movement and direct gentle treatment to those areas, freeing up restrictions. In addition to treatment of the skull, craniosacral treatment also involves the neck and spine, specifically the sacrum (a triangular bone at the lowest part of the back, which sits between your hip bones).
Craniosacral treatment has a direct and positive effect on the central nervous system, which controls all our bodily functions – from sleep to digestion, mood, and pain perception. This type of treatment is used to treat a variety of conditions including: concussions, migraines, anxiety, and chronic lower back issues, among others.
What conditions does osteopathy treat?
- Headaches & migraines
- TMJ dysfunction
- Joint and muscular pain
- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
- Discomfort associated with pregnancy
- Constipation and digestive issues
- Postural issues
- Sports injuries
Cebi Ndlangamandla, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, Adelaide Clinic