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14. What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy which use a variety of hands on treatment techniques to help restore movement, reduce pain and improve function of the body. Osteopathic techniques may include soft tissue treatment, stretching, muscle energy technique, cranial therapy and joint manipulation.

Osteopathic treatment is based on the principles of osteopathy:

The body is a unit
Although our body is made up of many different parts, the function of any one of these components relies on the function of all of the others. This means that your injury/condition and its impact on you will be considered in the context of the impact it may be having on your whole body.

The body has its own self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms
For a person with optimum health, their body has the ability to look after itself: it can fight disease and cope with injuries and pain. If your body can’t look after itself, in the case of body pain, the osteopath’s aim is to assist your body to recover from, or cope with, the injury or condition which is causing pain. We do this by using manual treatment which aims to remove any restrictions or obstacles to the healing process. This allows your body to work as well as it can and promotes recovery from injury.

Structure and function are inter-related
This means that a change in the structure of a joint or body part (through injury or pathology like arthritis) will cause a change in the way that the body part will function, and vice versa – that is, if the function of a joint is altered via poor posture for example, it may lead to a change in the structure through wear and tear.

Where possible, an osteopath seeks to remove any restriction or impairment in the body structures (muscles, joints or connective tissues) to allow optimal function to occur. In the case of permanent changes to the body’s structure through injury or pathology, osteopathy aims to promote the very best function that is available.