What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a holistic manual system of health care that was founded and developed in the late 1800's by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, MD, who developed this system to provide an improved method of diagnosis and treatment.
Osteopathy is a non-medical manual treatment grounded on the deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and neurology. Practitioners of Osteopathic manipulative medicine follow the theory that imbalances in the human structure contribute to, or are directly related to, the development and / or maintenance of disease.
Osteopathic practitioners recognize the fact that the human body is self-regulating and self-healing and will strive for health if given the chance. The role of the Osteopathic manipulative practitioner is to encourage this self-healing capacity through manual treatment - to convert the physical into the physiological.
Osteopathy's main contribution to the medical sciences is this unique view point and understanding the relationships of disease and dysfunction.
Osteopathy is founded on the safe and effective application of the following principles:
- A person acts as a complete dynamic unit of function including the concept of unity mind-body-spirit.
- The body possesses self-healing, regulating and defense mechanisms.
- Structure and function are interrelated at all levels.
- Rational treatment is based on understanding and using the three previous principles.
"Total Body Adjustment" osteopathic treatment
An osteopathic treatment starts with a confidential medical history, followed by a thorough full body evaluation and precise assessment. You will be evaluated both actively and passively, and precise attention will be paid to your structure and form.
During the evaluation, the osteopathic practitioner will use his hands to find somatic dysfunctions. A somatic dysfunction is present when there is asymmetry, restriction or alteration of motion, tissue texture changes or symptoms such as pain, numbness, burning, tingling or itching. The somatic dysfunction is an indication to the osteopathic practitioner in the presence of postural imbalances, mechanical strains, injuries, infections, visceral diseases, as well as many other pathologies.
You may be asked to perform certain movements or to make certain efforts during the treatment, or to rest passively. There are many different hands-on approaches to restore proper movement and functioning to the body specific to your needs at that particular moment in time, and these include:
- soft tissue techniques
- articulatory techniques
- cranial osteopathy, and
- visceral release
An osteopathic practitioner does not only treat symptoms, but also examines the entire body to address the underlying causes of the problem.
Osteopathy treats of a wide variety of musculo-skeletal problems, but it also has a role to play in the management of a number of other conditions. The most common complaints for which patients consult Osteopathic Manual Practitioners include:
• Back pain
• Neck pain
• Pains in peripheral joints such as shoulders, knees and ankles, tendinitis and muscle strainsWork-related and repetitive strain injuries
• Sports-related injuries
However, Osteopathy can also play a significant role in pain management or when used in conjunction with medical treatment.
HISTORY OF OSTEOPATHY
The profession of Osteopathy was founded single-handedly in 1874 by an American physician, with a mechanical background, named Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917). Still was the third son of a pioneer doctor, under whom he apprenticed at the close of the Jacksonian era (1829-1837). It was a time that encouraged independent thought and the development of new disciplines to improve the lot of mankind. Following Still's participation in the American Civil War, he began an empirical study of the human body under the premise that by studying “God's work” he would have a greater understanding of his “Creator.”
Andrew Taylor Still
Still disdained the common practices of physicians in the 1800s, such as venesection, emesis, and sedation with narcotics. He believed, instead, that everything necessary to sustain human life was already present within the human body. Still sought to find non-medicinal and non-surgical avenues to enhance the body's innate ability to heal itself.
Still focused on mechanical removal of the impediments to the free circulation of fluids and the elements carried within those fluids. He believed that once these “mechanical blockages” to the free flow of fluids were removed, the free circulation of all the fluids of the body would naturally return. The free flow of fluids was Still's key to the self-regulation and self-healing processes of the body. Still's application of this philosophy and methodology proved successful in treating musculoskeletal problems, as well as the major diseases of his era, such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, dysentery, and typhoid fever.
Still's work was transmitted through writings that were primarily philosophical in nature. However, he also described two main practical techniques. One focused on restoring the “position” of the bones in relation to one another. The other restored the “place” of the organs in relation to the major vessels and neural centres of the body's cavities. These two systems are now known as osteo-articular adjustments and visceral normalization.
The first school of osteopathy was opened by Still in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892. Several of his original students later enhanced the profession through the introduction of other manual techniques, such as cranial-sacral therapy and fascial release.
By 1910, it was recommended, through sponsored reports, that osteopathic colleges within the United States adopt a system of higher education, licensing, and regulation. By 1930, through a staggered transition, the American osteopathic profession adopted a medical model of osteopathic education that incorporated all conventional diagnostic and therapeutic practices of medicine, including pharmacology, surgery, and obstetrics. For this reason, all graduates from osteopathic colleges and universities in the United States are fully licensed medical physicians and are recognized internationally as Osteopathic Physicians.
The rest of the world-including Europe, Asia, Canada, and the countries of the Southern Hemisphere-has not adopted this medical model of Osteopathy. Instead, their curricula focus primarily on the manual application of traditional osteopathic philosophy and principles.
In 1917, Osteopathy took root in Europe thanks to Martin Littlejohn, DO, a student of Dr. Still and a professor at the Kirksville osteopathic school. Littlejohn founded the British School of Osteopathy, which remains active today. In France, the origin of Osteopathy has been traced to Major Stirling in 1913.
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Massage therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body and improves health and well-being by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Massage can help alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with everyday stress, muscular overuse and many chronic pain syndromes. If employed early enough after accidents involving trauma and injury, massage therapy can greatly reduce the development of painful muscular patterning.
A wide range of techniques are used during massage. These techniques stretch and loosen connective tissues and muscles, affect movements that assist the action of the joints, and combine to increase function and range of motion thereby reducing muscle tension. Your treatment may involve a few of the following techniques:
|Trigger point therapy|
|Hydrotherapy (the use of heat and cold)|
|Myofascial therapy (connective tissue work)|
|Deep tissue massage|
|Manual lymphatic drainage|
A massage therapist is a regulated health professional who has received two or three years of comprehensive training before completing written and clinical licensing examinations, and registering with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario. Through the College, all massage therapists participate in a quality assurance program that ensure high professional standards and quality client care.
Massage on normal tissue is almost always a pleasant sensation. Massage in the area of an injury or chronic pain may at first cause some discomfort which usually lessens noticeably in the first few minutes. Massage therapists know ways to minimize pain, and will work carefully within what feels right for your treatment needs. Always tell your massage therapist if you feel any discomfort so they can make adjustments.
There are some conditions for which massage is not appropriate. Always tell your massage therapist if you have any concerns regarding medical conditions, even a minor one.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage can be used in the treatment of the acute and chronic stages of specific conditions. Treatment also enhances an individual's overall sense of emotional and physical well-being and quality of life.
Massage therapy can help with a range of conditions, including:
|Muscle tension and spasm||Headaches|
|Tingling in your arms or legs||Fibromyalgia|
|Sciatica||Chronic fatigue syndrome|
|Fractures and edema||Stress|
|Inflammatory conditions (arthritis, bursitis)||Whiplash|
|Carpal tunnel syndrome||Post-surgical rehabilitation|
|Repetitive strain injuries||Pregnancy|
Therapeutic massage is an important part of your health maintenance plan, by: reducing or eliminating pain, improving joint mobility, improving circulation, improving immune system functioning, reducing depression and anxiety, and reducing tension within muscles. Massage can relieve many types of muscle tightness, from a short-term muscle cramp to a habitually clenched jaw or tight shoulders. Some massage techniques release tension directly by stretching and kneading your muscles and their connective tissue coverings (called fascia). Other techniques work less directly, but quite powerfully, by stimulating your nervous system to allow your muscles to relax. Massage can also relieve secondary pain that outlasts its original cause. Some examples are headaches from eyestrain, low back ache during pregnancy, or the protective tensing of healthy muscles around an injury.
Massage is also successful in helping your body cope with stress. Your body's natural response to stress is to prepare for an emergency. This causes your nervous system to release hormones such as adrenaline. With this response, most individuals will experience an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Muscles will also tense up, and digestive systems can slow down. Much of life's stress is ambiguous and ongoing, therefore your brain doesn't receive a signal that it's ok to rest and recuperate. Massage will help to trigger your nervous system to end this emergency response. Your body can then relax, and feel more rejuvenated.
Massage therapy benefits people of all ages. While it benefits the injured, the ill and the stressed, the real strength of massage therapy lies in prevention.
Your greatest benefit from massage could be learning ways to release tension or help heal injuries outside of your massage sessions. Massage therapist can show you gentle exercise to increase flexibility and teach your muscles more efficient movements.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique which originated in China thousands of years ago. The theory upon which acupuncture is based, acknowledges the balance of yin and yang energy within the body. Just as Western Medicine has mapped out how the nerves and blood flow throughout the body, Traditional Chinese Medicine has mapped out how energy, or chi, flows throughout the body through specific channels called meridians. Dysfunctions or disease result when there is an excess of chi, a deficiency of chi or an actual blockage of chi. Treatment of this imbalance of energy, or chi, can be done by accessing the chi, in these meridians, at specific points, known as acupuncture points. Needles, which are sterilized and used only once, are inserted at designated acupuncture points in order to normalize the flow of chi in that meridian with the result in an improvement in symptoms.hough acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of diseases, in North America much success has been achieved by using acupuncture for the treatment of numerous pain syndromes. Conditions such as back pain,sciatica, frozen shoulder syndrome, whiplash, headaches, TMJ problems, neck pain, all joint pains and arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. will often respond favourably to acupuncture.
What Acupuncture Treats
Twelve Main Meridians
Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture pain management brings both physical and emotional relief to those suffering from both acute and chronic discomfort as it is best know for controlling pain. It has also been helpful for those in drug rehab facilities, bulimia centers, anorexia treatment facilities and for those seeking help with various psychological disorders. Mental clarity is another benefit of acupuncture. This is because acupuncture helps to balance the body's natural flow of energy.
Can acupuncture benefit healthy people? Many people use acupuncture in order to prevent illness. It is also used as a way of keeping the immune system healthy.
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