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The Science of Osteopathy

Osteopathy is both a natural medicine and treatment philosophy, employing manual therapeutic techniques to achieve the following:

1)  To restore mobility and proper biomechanics to all areas of the body – this includes joints, muscles, the vascular and nervous systems, and fascia;

2)  To restore optimal vitality and function to all the systems of the body – including the digestive, circulatory, immune and nervous systems.   Osteopaths use a gentle “hands-on” or “manual” approach to detect areas of restricted movement throughout the body. Local concerns are viewed from multiple perspectives, to identify the causative factors behind the presenting problems. Osteopaths are trained to treat the cause, not the symptom.

Osteopathy was first introduced Andrew Taylor Still in 1874. Still, a frontiersman and physician was frustrated by conventional medicine of the time. He understood the concepts of cause and effect, the relationship of structure and function, the holistic nature of individuals and the interrelatedness of parts. Doctor Still believed that the human body should be studied as a whole, and that all elements of a person’s body, mind and spirit had to be incorporated into the total care of that person. He believed that the body had self-regulatory and self-healing powers, that the body contained within it all the substances necessary for maintaining health. When the body was properly stimulated, Still believed that these substances would also assist in recovering from illness. He did not view disease as an outside agent somehow inflicting itself on the body. Rather, disease was the result of alterations in the structural relationships of the body parts that led to an inability of the body to resist or recover from illness.

Manual osteopathy is based on 4 basic principles:

  • Each structure in the body supports the body’s functions. If a structure is damaged, out of place, or otherwise not working properly, the body will not function at its best.
  • The natural flow of the body’s fluids – lymphatic, vascular, and neurological – must be preserved and maintained.
  • The human body is the sum of its parts. Its physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive systems don’t work independently – they work in harmony.
  • When the body has no restrictions, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.


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