Osteopathy is manual treatment that focuses on the body as an integrated and interrelated system. When one of the body's systems in not working correctly, we suffer through pain, dysfunction, and dis-ease. Treatment concentrates not only on the problem area, but uses manual techniques to balance all the body systems, and to provide overall good health and well-being.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners work to identify the root cause of symptoms and dysfunctions. Then, by removing restrictions at the root cause and restoring the body's natural balance, the body is able to function more normally, inducing healing itself.
Because osteopathy is based on specific mechanical and biological principles, treatment is not limited to any one approach or technique. The following is not a complete list of all osteoapthic techniques but should highlight the varied approach available to the trained Osteopathic Manual Practitioner:
Joint mobillization techniques
Various soft tissue techniques including myofascial release
A brief history of osteopathy: Osteopathy was developed by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, a physician and surgeon practicing in Missouri in1874.
Dr. Still founded the first osteopathic school, the American School of Osteopathy, in Kirksville in 1892 with teachings based on the belief that the removal of mechanical blockages to the free flow of circulation (vascular, lymphatic, neural) was key to freeing up the body's inherent self-healing mechanisms. His techniques focused on restoring the “position” of the bones in relation to one another and in restoring the “place” of the organs in relation to the major vessels and neural centres of the body's cavities.
Osteopathy was greatly enhanced by the further discoveries and techniques of one his students, Dr. William Garner Sutherland, who developed cranial osteopathy, and by others including but not limited to Dr. Martin Littlejohn, Dr. Fred Mitchell, Dr. Viola Frymann, and Dr. Jean-Pierre Barral.
Osteopathy went on to have a very different path in the United States, versus that of Europe and Canada. In the United States osteopathy gradually became more and more aligned with orthodox medicine such that, by mid-twentieth century, the status of the osteopathic physician was that of a ''regular" medical physician with prescription and surgical rights in addition to some osteopathic practice. In Europe and Canada, however, osteopathy curricula maintain a focus on the manual application of traditional osteopathic philosophy and principles. The Canadian College of Osteopathy in particular has had faculty that were students of Dr. William Garner Sutherland, who himself was a student of Dr. Still.
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