Osteopathy is an alternative, holistic therapy that cares for the whole body. Everything in your body is connected, so osteopathy focuses on all your connective tissues, your bones and muscles, everything!
As it is used to heal the whole body it has proven to be effective at treating many painful conditions, such as lower back pain. It is used for both serious and non-serious complaints.
In the United States, osteopathy is a distinct medical practice and osteopathic practitioners can become fully licensed medical doctors. Therefore, if you like a holistic approach with the knowledge that your doctor may use traditional methods too, you may love this treatment option.
Osteopathy may provide several of the benefits of modern medicine, and sometimes uses technology to diagnose illnesses and evaluate injuries.
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine
Osteopathic manipulative medicine is a healing protocol which emphasizes helping each individual person achieve top levels of health and wellness, putting their focus on disease prevention and health promotion.
Osteopathic medicine was founded in the late 1800s in the United States. The phrase osteopathy was developed by Dr. Andrew Still, a physician and surgeon who specialized in this alternative medical practice.
The osteopathic physicians, referred to as doctors of osteopathy, work to establish a partnership with their patients by considering the impact their lifestyles and communities have on their health.
These doctors practice in every type of environment, including the military, and they specialize in practices such as family medicine, obstetrics (gynecology), surgery, and aerospace medicine.
The philosophy of osteopathy encourages the doctor to look at their patients as individual people, and more than just a collection of organs and organ systems. The doctor is required to receive special training on the muscoluskelatal system, which is the system that connects the body’s nerves, bones, and muscles.
This includes learning osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), a practice similar to chiropractic medicine, but specifically focusing on the muscles and joints. It uses the osteopath’s hands to diagnose illness and injury in the patient and also to treat existing conditions, and prevent them from developing.
This practice strengthens your immune system, which is the natural way your body resists disease and illness. The osteopath moves the muscles and joints by stretching them and applying gentle pressure and slight resistance.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment – Treats Many Health Conditions
While osteopathic manipulative treatments are most commonly used to treat muscle pain, it is also prescribed for asthma, sinus disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and menstrual pain.
OMT can complement or replace drugs and surgery, when the doctor feels it is safe to avoid those traditional treatment methods.
Another skill that the practitioner learns is called palpation (also referred to as “listening” in osteopathic medicine), where the practitioner feels or senses the state of the tissues and/or systems that are being examined.
This technique encompasses the entire sense of touch, and includes the ability to detect moisture, texture, a difference in temperature, and small movements within the body. Palpation is not a gift, but a skill that takes several years to perfect and is an integral part of an osteopathy practice.