What is Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a way of detecting and treating injured parts of the body such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. It assists the body to function again as a balanced and efficient system, just like a well tuned engine. Once balanced, the body will function with the minimum wear and tear, which enables it to have better function and more energy.

How does Osteopathy work?

Restriction of motion within the body is often due to traumatic or postural stress causing muscle tension and pull on fascias in the area; this affects the tissue around it.
The continual movement of bodily fluids is also essential for maintaining well being. When this is not working, a state of congestion of circulation develops. This impairs the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and removal of waste products from the tissues which creates discomfort and pain. This often may be felt in an area not that closely associated to the original problem. Osteopathic practitioners use specialized skills to identify restrictions and tensions of the tissues in your body. Their specific techniques ease those restrictions, which allows for normal physiology to continue.

How does Osteopathy help the body to heal itself?

The body is often able to take care of itself, to compensate for injury. However, in some instances, the injury is greater than the body’s ability to adapt or heal. In other instances the body is not currently capable to regroup to be able to heal itself. This inability may be created by a number of reasons, and the injuries, sometimes even minor ones, start to create a problem.
In those cases, treatment is necessary to restore the balance within your body and assist your body to be able to use it natural reserves and strengths to heal itself.

Osteopathic treatments are based on enabling your body to function properly. Basic principles of Osteopathy are:

• That all body parts are interconnected
• That the function of one part of the body is dependant on the normal functioning of the other parts
• Good circulation is essential in order for the body to get proper nutrients, and for the removal of waste products. Example: What happens to the water in a pool when you leave it for too long, without movement (e.g. if the water pump is broken). The water becomes cloudy, begins to smell bad and algae start appearing.
The same thing happens in your body if the normal movement of certain part is restricted. The movement may get restricted due to distortion of the tissue after an injury or due to the pull from some other tight structure that did not heal properly after an old injury. As explained, lack of movement leads to the development of stasis, congestion of bodily fluids and pain and other problems appear.
• If allowed the body is able to heal itself. Here is a simple example: When you cut yourself, the cut heals on its own, without any action on your part, i.e. you do not have to use any medication or cream for minor cuts. But sometimes, as the cut, or an injury heals, it may create a scar that may pull on the surrounding tissue. Osteopathy then assists your body, by applying very precise techniques to remove tensions created by an old (that you might have forgotten you had.) or new injury. By removing the tension, the body regains its natural ability to function on its own and the tissue, by getting enough oxygen and nutrients, restarts the process of healing itself.

Another simple example how a minor injury may create a much bigger problem is if you walk in shoes that are too small. First, you are going to feel some slight discomfort, after 2-3 hours, you might start to limp, after 4-5 hours you might start experiencing back pain, and at the end of the day you would most likely feel exhausted, frustrated or irritable. And, it all started with shoes that were just slightly tight. Your family and friends probably would not notice your tight shoes but they would notice the way you walk and your facial expression.

In this case, it is very simple to remove the problem, as the pain will most likely disappear as you take your shoes off, but if you continue wearing them for a few days or months, some of the changes in your walking and posture and spine will start to set in, and it will be harder for the pain to disappear as you take your shoes off.

Osteopathy can be beneficial for the treatment of acute pain from a current injury or disorder and for the treatment of chronic pain following past injuries or health problems.

What does the word ‘Osteopathy’ mean?

It originates from two Greek words. The root “osteone” which means structure and “pathos” meaning pain.

How did Osteopathy begin?

In the spring of 1864, Andrew Taylor Still a medical doctor and surgeon from Kansas, watched helplessly as the best medications then available failed to save his three children from spinal meningitis. Frustrated, Still started his search for an alternative healing practice. He eventually based his new system on the idea that manipulation of the spine could improve blood flow and thus improve health by allowing the body to heal itself.
Osteopathy was officially recognized in the United States under Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency as he had personally been successfully treated by Osteopathy. Osteopathic medicine is presently taught in fifteen universities in the United States, where graduates are granted medical degrees. In the United States the practice of Osteopathy has evolved more toward the practice of medicine and surgery, with training in traditional methods based on palpation and manual therapeutic methods, as well.

The World Health Organization recognizes the Osteopathic concept of somatic dysfunction as being scientifically proven, and the British Medical Association recognizes Osteopathy as a medical discipline. In Australia, Osteopaths are statutorily registered practitioners.

Osteopathy in Canada

In 1981, Philippe Druelle, D.O., founded the first osteopathic school in Canada, in Montreal. The Toronto school was established in 1991. The Canadian College of Osteopathy teaches a comprehensive five years program in Traditional Osteopathy. This is followed by an additional year of independent study that is strictly devoted to a research thesis.

The Canadian College of Osteopathy’s program is European in origin and is based on manual therapy techniques. Throughout the studying, emphasis is given on the anatomical, physiological and biomechanical principles of the functioning of the body and development of precise osteopathic palpation and its application to therapeutic techniques. Comprehensive exams are given to ensure students conception of material.
For more details on the training of Canadian College of Osteopathy see link http://www.osteopathiecollege.com/home.htm


The aim of the World Osteopathic Health Organization (WOHO) is to promote, develop, protect and establish throughout the world the study, philosophy, science, and practice of osteopathy in both its application and research for the benefit of the people of all nations. In addition WOHO seeks integration of Osteopathy into existing health services in different countries

WOHO is in the process of developing world standards for Osteopathic practitioners. These standards will be adopted by The Ontario Association of Osteopathy (OAO) and all members of the OAO will be required to meet and follow these standards.

Currently in Ontario there are no government regulations regarding Osteopathy.
To ensure the best possible care and standardized training, the Ontario Association of Osteopathy (OAO) is lobbying the provincial government to create province wide regulations.

In Ontario there are two categories of Osteopathic practitioners:

• Osteopaths who have extensive training in manual osteopathic practice. They treat patients using manual techniques only. They do not use drugs, medication, surgery or other medical procedures. The training needed to become an osteopath is available in Canada, as well as in the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, Germany and many other countries in Europe.
• Osteopathic physicians also practice in Ontario. These practitioners get their training in the United States. They are licensed physicians who also have osteopathic manual training.


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