Osteopathy - What is it?

"To find health should be the objective of any doctor.  Anyone can find disease."

The Principles of Osteopathy, As Espoused by Andrew Taylor Still

People frequently say: “Osteopathy? You treat backs, don't you?” Osteopathy is a hands-on approach to healthcare, recognising the important link between the structures of your body & the way it functions. An osteopath uses anatomical and physiological knowledge, along with skilled clinical evaluation to assess and diagnose the source of pain. They look at the whole body for the causes of injury, as well as barriers to recovery. Osteopaths use a wide range of techniques to improve the relationship between joints, muscles, nerves and circulation to restore full function to the body.

AT Still said, “We say 'disease' when we should say 'effect'; for disease is the effect of a change in different parts of the physical body. Disease in an abnormal body is just as natural as is health when all parts are in place.”

With all this, Andrew Taylor Still believed the body had an inherent healing ability, and that an uninterrupted nerve and blood supply to all tissues of the body was essential to their normal function. Thus, if any structural problem (e.g. muscle spasm, chronic tissue tension or curvature of the spine etc.) interfered with normal blood and nerve supply, the self-healing power would also be interfered with and disease would be the result.

The principles of osteopathy, as espoused by Andrew Taylor Still:

1. The body is a unit - every part of the body is interrelated.
2. The body has the ability to heal itself. The body has its own mechanisms for healing. Osteopaths can help the patient with this process.
3. Structure and function are related. This means that the structure of the body effects the way the body functions.
4. The body has an ability to defend itself.
5. The freedom of body fluids and nerve impulses to move unimpeded is essential for health.
6. The vital force controls the working of the body and expresses itself as health when all its parts are in order.
7. Nature heals while osteopathy assists. Osteopaths are committed to doing no harm.
8. Osteopaths treat patients who have a condition of health. They do not treat conditions in isolation.
9. Osteopathy builds health - by treating within the vital health of the patient.

What is an 'osteopathic lesion'?

Howard Beardmore DO – ‘The osteopathic lesion is not ‘a bone out of place’ but any obstruction to physiological processes or irritation, deficiency or excess that may, if left unaddressed, lead to a state of unhealth. This can include: diet, lifestyle, posture, mental or physical trauma and poisoning; any method that is only directed at only managing the symptomatic picture, acts by palliating symptoms and suppressing nature’s attempt to clean’. 

With all this, Andrew Taylor Still believed the body had an inherent healing ability, and that an uninterrupted nerve and blood supply to all tissues of the body was essential to their normal function. Thus if any structural problem (e.g. muscle spasm, chronic tissue tension or curvature of the spine etc.) interfered with normal blood and nerve supply, the self-healing power would also be interfered with and disease would be the result.

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