Osteopathy is a form of natural complementary healthcare that works following the principle that there is a strong relationship between structure and function of the body. As the body possesses its own self-healing mechanisms; manual osteopathy aids these mechanisms by using techniques to restore the body to harmony with the aim of relieving pain and improving mobility, thus returning the body to health and vitality.
Once an osteopathic manual practitioner has taken a full medical case history, they will examine you performing dynamic and passive movements, as well as a standing postural and often gait analysis. They will also palpate your tissues, a skill which takes osteopaths years of study to develop. This will aid them to making an informed diagnosis. Manual osteopathy often involves osteopathic techniques such as soft and deep tissue massage, visceral technique, cranial technique, inhibition, fascial release technique and many more.
As osteopathic manual practitioners we often say that we do not treat conditions, we treat people. Whilst adhering to modern principles of anatomy and physiology, Osteopathy is fundamentally a holistic healthcare system. Osteopathy looks at the person in a global way, where some therapies may look at a problem in a more isolated way. For example, a patient may present with a painful back, but this may be a symptom of a larger picture. What If the patient had a problem with their foot which affects how they walk? What if the patient has dietary issues which are stopping their back pain improving? Perhaps the osteopathic manual practitioner finds a restriction in another part of the spine, which is making the painful area become overworked? By treating the body as a whole in addition to focusing on just the symptomatic areas, Osteopathy can work on factors which can lead to dysfunction, and help to make the whole body function as the best version of itself.
Osteopathy is a complimentary therapy that works well in conjunction with medical treatments, and can be a great way to maintain or improve function and reduce pain before things like surgery. Because it is a non-invasive therapy it will rarely be contraindicated entirely, and because its goal is to make your own body work in its most efficient way, it can work well alongside most other therapies.
In the province of BC there are over 100 osteopathic manual practitioners registered with Osteopathy BC, formerly known as the Society for the Promotion of Manual Practice Osteopathy (SPMPO). Many of whom trained in Europe at universities such as The British School of Osteopathy (BSO) or here in Canada at the Canadian College of Osteopathy (CCO).