Fact: Many GPs and consultants regularly visit osteopaths
Founded By: Dr. Andrew Still, in the late 1874
Origin: United States
Therapy Type: Bodywork
WHAT EXACTLY IS OSTEOPATHY?
Osteopathy, also known as osteopathic manipulative medicine, is a non-invasive hands-on medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the joints, muscles and spine. Osteopaths practice a "whole person" approach to health care meaning they use techniques that balance all systems of the body in order to provide overall health and wellbeing.
Practitioners place special attention on the musculoskeletal system, as they believe, that the root of pain, discomfort and other disorders, is the misalignment of, nerves, bones and muscles. To support and restore equilibrium and stability, therapists manipulate areas of the body with their hands, which subsequently assists the body’s self-healing abilities.
Osteopathic treatment in itself is not a preventative measure though it is used to treat a wide range of ailments. The therapy is considered particularly useful for musculoskeletal disorders such as back and neck pain, muscle and joint pain, sports injuries, sciatica, headaches and postural problems. The ‘holistic’ techniques used by osteopaths promote relaxation, ease physical stress, supports the nervous system and encourages improved blood circulation. Early intervention by an Osteopath means you can be aware of potential sources of referred pain and make changes to your lifestyle now to avoid the pain later on.
Osteopathy is often used in conjunction with a GP, dentist, podiatrist or other holistic health professionals.
IS OSTEOPATHY THE RIGHT THERAPY FOR YOU?
Osteopathy may benefit the following physical and mental conditions:
Your initial consultation may last between 45 to 60 minutes. Follow up sessions are shorter and are generally 20 to 30 minutes in duration. The osteopath will ask you about any previous injuries, accidents or traumas along with other relevant health and lifestyle details. A physical test that examines your posture, movement, balance and reflexes will also be carried out. In addition, laboratory tests and x-rays may be arranged depending on the nature of your condition. From the examination feedback your therapist can then offer a diagnosis and discuss a treatment program specific to your needs.
Osteopaths are skilled manually in establishing areas of strain and disparity within the body. The practitioner will assess your spine, joints, muscles and tendons using a finely tuned sense of touch or palpation and various osteopathic manipulation techniques. These stroke patterns include soft tissue stretching, thrust technique and muscle energy technique. Soft tissue stretching is commonly applied to the musculature surrounding the spine and consists of a rhythmic stretching, deep pressure and traction. Its purpose is to move tissue fluids (edema) and to relax overworked muscles. Osteopaths use the thrust technique by applying a high velocity low amplitude force to a joint to help it regain a normal range of motion. Muscle energy technique aims to release tightness within the muscle by alternatively stretching it and making it work against resistance applied by the practitioner.
Side effects of the therapy can include a slight soreness in the affected joint or a headache and feeling of tiredness. This should pass after a day or so but should it persist consult your osteopath. After your session, the osteopath may give you exercises to do at home as well as dietary or lifestyle advice.
Osteopathy has been acknowledged as a safe therapy, which is widely utilized by the young and old. The benefits of osteopathy have been widely established within the healthcare arena. Although it is wise to carry out some research and select a therapist who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as The Osteopathic Society of New Zealand (OSNZ). Osteopaths are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
The Wellness Directory provides a ready-made referral list of certified Osteopathic Practitioners within your region. We fully encourage you to do some independent research by checking out individual credentials, i.e. experience, training, qualifications, relevant client feedback and so forth.
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