Osteopathy Manual Therapy
Osteopathy is a gentle hands-on treatment that focuses on removing restrictions and the restoration of movement and function to the entire body in order to restore the body’s natural balance, optimal function, and healing ability. It is unique, in that the practitioners have a deep understanding of the anatomical and physiological relationships of the body.
It considers the whole person: body, mind, and spirit with treatment individualized to determine the underlying cause of health concern, not just focusing on symptoms. Sensory palpation and a very specific and deliberate motion is applied to the intended tissue.
Osteopathy Manual Practice utilizes fine-tuning precise palpation skills to assess and treat in order to restore or maintain health. It is based on four main principles:
- Structure Governs Function- when an area of the body is not moving well it will disrupt the function of not only that local area but also may disrupt global health and function of the individual.
- The body is a functional unit- this means that one part of the body or one system (circulatory, nervous, visceral (organs), musculoskeletal, emotional) does not act in isolation. The body acts as a unit and there is constant communication between systems to maintain health. If one system or area is in dysfunction this will impact the other areas of the body. The body has an important connector called fascia that essentially unites the body.
- The movement of fluids is essential- this refers to the importance of maintaining a free pathway for all fluids of the body-lymph, arterial, venous return. If one area of the body is not mobile it can compromise the movement of this fluid flow which ultimately disrupts the health of the person.
- The inherent self-regulation property of the body-this refers to the body’s ability to constantly adapt and attempt to maintain homeostasis or balance. The body needs to be mobile to be able to carry out this function. Consideration of the structural and neurovascular pathways that disrupt homeostasis and self-regulation is a key part of treatment. Osteopathic treatment involves supporting the natural mechanisms of the body so that it can heal itself.
Some of the osteopathic treatment techniques utilized include:
- cranial sacral therapy
- muscle energy
- gentle spinal and joint mobilizations
- myofascial/soft tissue techniques
- counterstrain technique
- other techniques when appropriate
Frequently Asked Questions:
Examples of conditions (not limited to) that osteopathy assists in treating:
- Sports injuries
- Chronic pain
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Sciatica/SI joint pain
- Urinary Incontinence
- Insomnia/sleep difficulties
- TMJ/jaw pain
- Digestive problems-Irritable bowel/constipation/bloating
- Post Concussion Syndrome
What should I wear to my osteopathy appointments?
Loose, lightweight clothing is recommended during treatments. To evaluate your skin/spine a sports bra/bra/tank top is helpful for women.
What can I expect during my osteopathy initial appointment (1 hour and 15 min)?
- Health history: We will discuss your current health symptoms as well as your lifestyle and past medical history. Osteopathy is based on a philosophy that the body and mind is a functional unit. So not one system or part of the body acts in isolation. To identify the underlying cause of your health symptoms and rule out serious pathology, it is important to have a thorough understanding of your health history. The body has to adapt to physical stresses, injuries, traumas, and emotional stresses that we experience throughout our lifetime. Your current pain/discomfort may be a sign of the body’s difficult adapting further.
- Observation of Posture and Gait
- Hands-on assessment: A physical assessment will be conducted to help determine primary problem areas (somatic strains that may ultimately affecting your body’s ability to adapt). A hands on assessment through palpation and gentle mobility testing of various body structures to evaluate joint biomechanics, tissue restrictions, tone and mobility. Functional strength and range of motion testing may be used as well.
- Upon completion of the assessment, I will discuss the treatment plan with you with recommendations
- Referral to medical doctor (eg. blood work, x-rays) if there is any indication from your symptoms/assessment that further testing is needed prior to osteopathic treatment.
- Initial treatment-hands on evaluation and prioritize what areas to treatment first. Areas that get treated first may not be where you are experiencing symptoms. This is because, osteopathy works on underlying strain patterns to ultimately help your body balance itself. There is a trickle down effect as the body balances itself.
What to expect on follow up treatments (1 hour)?
Lindsay’s approach to treatment is holistic in nature. Treatment is individualized and focused on freeing up areas that lack mobility to help the body function optimally.
It is important to understand that the areas that are not mobile are not always where the symptoms are experienced. Each treatment session, Lindsay re-assesses areas and evaluates how the body has adapted to previous treatment. Lindsay incorporates osteopathic techniques and philosophy into treatment sessions. As an Athletic Therapist, Lindsay also has expertise in therapeutic exercise and functional movement. This may be incorporated into treatment when appropriate.
- Review of changes in medical history/symptoms
- Quick re-assessment active testing and hands on assessment
- Treatment including local, regional, global integration
You may be asked during treatment to focus on breathing or do active movements.
There is a “silent dialogue” between the osteopathic manual practitioners hands and patients tissues during treatment. Because of this there are times when it is best to not speak during treatment.
What to expect immediately after treatment?
24-72 hours post-treatment is the body’s integration period. During this time, it is common to feel more soreness, fatigue, muscle tension, headaches. Sometimes people experience a temporary exacerbation of symptoms. The body is integrating the treatment and changes during this time. It is important during this time to keep activity light and hydrated to help with integration.
It is also recommended you refrain from other treatment modalities during this integration period (eg. massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment)
Follow up appointments are not scheduled before 1 week following treatment to allow the body to integrate.
How many treatments do I need?
The goal of osteopathy is to help facilitate the innate healing ability of the body. Osteopathy is not symptom or condition focused rather it involves treatment of the whole person to help restore natural balance. Because of this, individuals often do not experience significant changes until after 4-5 sessions while longer standing problems often require more treatment. The longer you have been experiencing a problem, the longer it may take to resolve.
Osteopathic treatment fees are eligible for coverage under most extended health benefit plans.
My professional designation is D.O.M.P. (Diploma in Osteopathic Manual Practice) from the Canadian College of Osteopathy and I am a member in good standing of the OAO (Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners). These are the credentials required for coverage by most plans in Ontario.
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