Osteopathy uses hands-on techniques to restore the body to health.
Usually Osteopaths treat problems of the musculoskeletal system – pain and disability arising from the joints and muscles of the body, sometimes as the result of particular injuries or disease, but more often as the result of the day to day stress on our bodies derived from the things we do and the effects of gravity and our own postures upon us.
In fact Osteopathy was originally developed to be a complete method of medicine (see section History of Osteopathy). As modern medicine has developed, many areas, such as heart disease and many cancers, can be effectively tackled by conventional methods – but not all. How many patients are familiar with being told “there is nothing wrong with you” when they know there is something wrong, though a diagnosis has not been found. In these cases, an Osteopath can often look at a patient and suggest why the shape of their body, or the stiffness of particular joints, may lead to the problems they suffer. For example, a patient with a curved thoracic spine and immobile rib joints, could be expected to have difficulty breathing and, perhaps, recurrent chest infections.
So, Osteopaths use their hands to decrease muscle tension and, stretch out joint restrictions, so that the patient’s body moves better, their blood and other body fluids flow better, their organs function better and they feel better with less pain. Not all bodies can be made perfect, but nearly everyone gains some ease of pain and some improvement in physical ability as a result of treatment.
If you want to know more about the techniques involved, and what to expect if you come for treatment, see the section What is treatment like?