What is Osteopathy?
By Rebecca Wangi
Osteopathy is a complimentary therapy based on the premise that if the body has good circulation, drainage and neurological supply to a problematic area then the body’s inbuilt defenses will bring about healing. Osteopathy is concerned not only with the physical body but the influence of the mind and emotions in influencing a person’s health. In practice Osteopathy is concerned with removing tensions and restrictions that prevent that healing taking place through a variety of manual techniques: massage, manipulation, stretching etc.
Osteopathy is best known for relieving back pain but is suitable for a number of ailments ranging from heartburn to arthritis, headaches and jaw problems to sprained ankles. It is a gentle and safe therapy suitable for pregnant women and all ages from newborn right through to old age.
How safe is it?
UK Osteopaths undergo four years of rigorous training before being able to register with the General Osteopathic Council, the regulatory body of Great Britain, which ensures Osteopaths follow a strict code of ethics and maintains high standards of practice. Osteopaths are also required to complete a large number of CPD (Continued Professional Development) hours each year in order to maintain their high standards of practice and their registration.
Osteopathy uses manual techniques in line with the body’s requirements making it a very safe therapy for people of all ages and in all states of health, including pregnant women, newborn babies and people with disability or chronic illnesses.
What can I expect at the first appointment?
A thorough case history will be taken covering medical history, current health and social factors. This is important for the Osteopath to be certain they can give safe and appropriate treatment and to be aware of the influence a person’s daily activities have on the presenting problem.
The Osteopath will ask you to undress to some extent or put on a gown in order to make a postural assessment. You may be asked to do some easy movements and perhaps some simple tests e.g. muscle strength or reflexes. The Osteopath will also palpate appropriate areas to make a hands-on assessment.
At this point an individual treatment plan will be devised and the Osteopath will discuss your options and expectations with you before seeking consent to progress to treatment, if appropriate.
Treatment involves hands on manipulation and movement of the body to release tensions and strains. This is rarely painful and usually a very pleasant experience. There are no medications, injections or machinery involved. The Osteopath may offer some advice on stretches or lifestyle changes which may also help to improve the complaint.
How many times will I need to come?
The number of treatments is very dependent on the particular condition and the general health of the person in question. Arthritic complaints, for example, often benefit from maintenance treatment on a regular basis whereas acute back pain may resolve in a couple of sessions. On average a patient may be seen four times.
For more information on Osteopathy, please contact: