Osteopathy is a branch of medicine which treats people as a functional whole. This manually applied science enables the osteopath to restore normal function to diseased tissues by treating the cause of dysfunction rather than the symptom. The osteopath relies on careful history taking, global, regional and local orthopedic and osteopathic testing, sensory tests, and active induction tests to determine the exact nature of any imbalance. Gentle, effective techniques are then used to resolve the problem. Early detection and treatment of existing problems may help to prevent chronic problems from developing.
Osteopathy is concerned with motion. Each tissue of the body moves in a very specific way. If any part of the body becomes altered by surgery, birth, infection, pathology, physical or emotional trauma, or some other type of trauma, it will compensate by changing its motion. These new motions may then become patterns which can cause pain and dysfunction which in turn may interfere with our activities of daily living.
The practice of osteopathy is analogous to the utilization of the many different tools within a tool box. The practitioner can use the osteopathic tools or techniques to assess and treat a particular problem to facilitate a movement towards health. It is up to the osteopath to choose the best 'tool' for the problem at hand. The variety of tools or techniques available to the osteopath include myofascial, osteo-articular, lymphatic, visceral, cranial and fluidic or biodynamic approaches. Stretching and stengthening exercises to consolidate and integrate the treatments are recommended to follow each session.
“An osteopath might be likened to an engineer, a watchsmith of the organism, who not only evaluates and treats the causes of dysfunction, but also verifies preventively all the necessary mechanisms and systems of our physiology, which rule the balance and health of a Human Being.” Philippe Druelle, D.O.
People often ask ‘What do you do as an osteopath?” The answer is not easy. Each patient is an individual and is treated in the most efficient way possible during each visit. An analysis of the specific problem will determine the number and type of treatment required. Many patients get immediate relief after just a few sessions.
After listening to the patient complaint and examining the complementary finding, (X-rays, Scans, lab reports etc.) an extensive history will be taken by the osteopath. She or he will then;
- inform the patient of what is being done and why
- evaluate the patient’s vertical posture, weight bearing, typology, tissue tensions, contractures, skin quality, and tone
- complete global, regional and local testing which may be passive, active, or assisted depending on the nature of the evaluation
- palpate different tissues to evaluate physiological rhythms to ascertain the severity of the restriction and its impact on the body
- synthesize the findings to determine the order and type of treatment techniques to use
- to treat the person according to his complaints and wishes (pain, funtional restrictions, somatic disorders, etc.)
- to treat the cause of these dysfunctions
- to restore movement to the different mechanisms and systems of the organism which preserve and maintain equilibrium and health
- to integrate the treatment with the rest of the structures to ensure unity of function and maximize the ability of the body to accept and maintain the positive changes
- to inform the patient what they can do to become self-sufficient and responsible for their own well-being
Andrew Taylor Still is considered to be the great grandfather of Osteopathy. He stated the method and application of Osteopathy in 1874 and was the first to treat his patients as a whole, searching for the causes of dysfunction rather than treating the symptoms. Devoted to his patients, he had great success in restoring the natural dynamic equilibrium to the organism. He created the first school of osteopathic medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. The first charter of the American School of Osteopathy was registered May 10th, 1982.
William Garner Sutherland, D.O., a student of Andrew Taylor Still, further developed the cranial concepts and the cranio-sacral functional unit. Other D.O.'s namely, Rollin Becker, Thomas Schooley, Annn Wales, Viola Frymann, Harold Magoun and James Jealous, have all advanced the evolution of the cranial concept by transmitting their knowledge of the biodynamic aspects of Osteopathy.
In the United States, the American Academy of Osteopathy is trying to preserve the philosophy of Traditional Osteopathy. Osteopathic medicine is presently taught in fifteen universities in the United States, where graduates are granted medical degrees.
In 1917, Dr. John Littlejohn, D.O., founded the British School of Osteopathy. The European School in Maidstone as well as other institutions allowed Osteopathy to flourish and play an important part in the British health care system. In 1993, “The Osteopathic Act” granted osteopaths equivalent status to doctors of medicine and dentists establishing the necessary guidlines concerning public safety.
Osteopathy really flourished in the early sixties. The first class of Osteopathy applied to the cranial field was given in Paris in 1965 with Thomas Schooley, D.O., Harold Magoun, D.O., and Viola Frymann, D.O.. Attending the course were two French Osteopaths, Francis Peyralade, D.O. and Bernard Darillon, D.O. and the English Osteopath, Denis Brooks, D.O..
In France, the origin of Osteopathy has been traced to Dr. Major Stirling in 1923. The first French Osteopathic Colleges were the founding roots for other institutions in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and Germany. French Osteopathy is well respected and renowned most notably for the visceral approaches of Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O., Jacques Weischenk, D.O., and Rene Briend, D.O..
In Canada, Philippe Druelle, D.O., founded the first osteopathic school in Montreal with the help of Jean Guy Sicotte, MD, D.O.. This institution aimed at uniting the elements of Traditional Manual Osteopathy, regrouping the different therapeutic methods and integrating a complete clinical methodology. In 1982 he created a foundation with Denyse Dufresne, D.O., Jean Guy Sicotte, D.O. and Denise Laberge, D.O. to treat young children who were physically challenged with neuromotor anomalies or dysfunctions. In 1991 he founded a College in Munich Germany, and in 1992 he founded the Canadian College of Osteopathy in Toronto. He has since founded a school in Quebec, Vancouver, and Halifax. The excellent reputation and the quality of treatment offered by Osteopathic graduates in Canada was published in “La Presse” newspaper in Quebec. The public rated Osteopathy first in the treatment satisfaction index.
- Back and Neck pain
- Pelvic pain
- Pre and Post natal pain
- Post surgical pain
- Abdominal pain
- Hiatus Hernias and reflux
- Shoulder pain and frozen shoulder
- Carpal tunnel
- Pain related to motor vehicle accidents
- TMJ and facial pain
- Birth trauma and Colic