What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy offers healing thorough non-invasive manipulation of the muscle tissues, the skeleton and other tissues and organs. Under US law as well as in other Western countries osteopaths are fully qualified physicians along with mainstream doctors. Osteopaths emphasize that overall health depends on proper natural alignment of the parts of the body against each other. These parts may come out of alignment due to trauma, physical and emotional stress.
This can cause problems all across the body. For example, an old incompletely healed trauma of the coccyx may become the cause of chronic headaches. Osteopaths express this by saying that structure (muscles and the skeleton) effects function (internal organs) and vice versa. Therefore, disruption in either will negatively affect the other and, conversely, correction of either will help heal the other. This is one of the main principles of osteopathy.
A visit to an Osteopath normally consists of four phases: interview, examination, diagnosis, and treatment. At the interview, the practitioner will discuss the patient’s medical history and may inquire about such things as work and family life. The practitioner will then fully examine the patient. He will check posture, spine, and balance; palpate the patients back, hands and feet, study muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments. If necessary, the Osteopath will order tests. Based on the interview and the examination the Osteopath will explain to the patient the cause of imbalance and proceed to treatment. He will most of the time perform a hands-on osteopathic manipulation of muscles and joints. However, he may also prescribe drugs and surgery
Andrew Taylor Still, an American doctor, founded osteopathic medicine in 1874. The motivation behind his work on osteopathy was the disillusionment with the medical science of his time. Early on in his medical career Dr. Still began to doubt the adequacy of the crude medical techniques used by conventional medicine in the 19th century. He received further motivation to develop an alternative, more civilized system of healthcare after witnessing the helplessness of conventional medicine during his service as a military doctor during the Civil war and learning of the death of his first wife and six children. Dr. Still declared the birth of his system in 1874, and in 1891 he opened the first college of osteopathy. However, it was not until the Vietnam War, that osteopathy was acknowledged as a medical discipline in its own right.
As with many other non-customary treatment methods, people go to see an osteopath when conventional medicine has failed to diagnose or treat their problems to their satisfaction. Some also feel, that they have not been given personal attention and although the greater part of their symptoms have been successfully treated some persist, causing discomfort and pain.
Osteopathy is widely used to treat disorders associated with the bones and muscles. Many people have found it to be very effective for sports injuries and for other types of post-traumatic treatment. It has also been found by some effective against asthma, migraines, sinus disorder, and many other conditions in order to promote healing, decrease pain and increase mobility.
In summary, osteopathy is a medical practice, which benefits patient by treating their bodies holistically and adding a new dimension of diagnosis and treatment, which goes beyond the more common drugs and surgery approach to offer a more personalized and hands-on form of care.