Don't worry. If you're thinking "WHAT???" you aren't the only one! Before I went to osteopathy school, I also had no idea what it was! My friends and family had never heard of it, and my mom had a hard time even pronouncing it! And can you believe osteopathy has been around for nearly 150 years?! It was founded back in 1874. That's 21 years BEFORE chiropractic therapy!!
But since going to school, graduating, and working as a manual osteopath, I've come to learn that osteopathy is the world's best kept secret!
Some clients tend to describe their treatments "like a mix of massage and chiropractic. My muscles and joints get worked, but there's no deep tissue work and no fast manipulations." I agree with this, however I do like to add that osteopathy is in a category of its own. It's a hands-on manual therapy that searches for the cause(es) of the issue(s) versus only treating the symptom. One of the main principles of osteopathy is "function governs structure, and structure governs function." Simply put, if the body is not functioning as it should, it will not be structurally correct, and vice versa.
As a manual osteopath, we take in to account the entire body during assessment and treatment. For instance, if you come with shoulder pain, we're not only going to check the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles, but also the neck, shoulder blade, collar bones, the entire spine, the cranium, jaw, hips and the pelvis. And depending on our findings, we may check out other areas as well like the lower limbs, the feet, and even the organs. This type of practice ensures that the body is functioning at its most optimal level. When the body is performing at top-notch, it has the innate ability to heal itself - another of the osteopathic principles.
You may be wondering "how in the world does this connect to that?!" Well, the founder of osteopathy, Dr Andrew Taylor Still, viewed the body like a machine - a machine that would function at its optimum level only when all its parts were in proper relationship to one another. Think of a car. Now think about when that pesky 'check-engine' light comes on. Some of us may get it checked out right away, and some of us may ignore it for quite some time. Nonetheless, the light is on and something isn't operating correctly. If we don't get it serviced, it may lead to more problems with the car, and so on and so forth. In this analogy, the body is the car and the check-engine light is pain. And yep, you guessed it! This is the third osteopathic principle - the body is one unit.
So, in a nutshell, osteopathy is a hands-on therapy that takes in to account the entire body. It works with the musculoskeletal system (including muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and fascia), the craniosacral system (which includes the cranium and the tailbone, and the layer that connects to each and protects the spinal cord, having a great impact on the nervous system) as well as the visceral system (includes the organs and their surrounding tissues).
If you think osteopathy may be right for you, please get in contact! Would love to chat more with you about its benefits and how it can help.