Written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) ~ Medical Herbalist
Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Dr Andrew Still, a doctor whose life was dedicated to better understanding anatomy and its impact on body functioning. Despite being a medical doctor and surgeon himself, his 3 young children tragically died of meningitis; consequently Dr Still began looking for safe, non invasive and drug free ways to enhance the bodies self healing mechanisms. He was devoted to understanding health in terms of anatomy and physiology and held the belief that body structure influenced body function. His years of research led him to found a discipline that he titled Osteopathy.
Classical Osteopathy, or Manual Osteopathy is a very gentle non invasive, hands-on form of manual therapy that focuses on supporting the bodies self healing mechanisms to restore and promote optimal health – while seeking to address the physical structure and resolve underlying imbalances, not only treat symptoms of dis-ease. Manual Osteopathy does not involve pharmaceutical medications or surgery but instead focuses on removing restrictions to physical structure to assist the bodies self regulation abilities functioning within set homeostatic principles.
“To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.” – Andrew Taylor Still MD, DO. Osteopathy Research and Practice
Dr Still maintained several foundational beliefs which osteopathic manual therapy is based on including:
- The body is self-healing and self-regulating and operates as one complete unit. If one area is not functioning optimally, then other areas of the body will attempt to compensate to maintain the highest state of health possible at all times.
- The human body is comprised of distinct parts, the physical, emotional and spiritual – all levels interrelated in harmony.
- Body structure influences the body function. If any structure is out of place, injured or otherwise not working properly, the body will not perform at its best.
- The body’s fluids must be allowed to flow without restriction in order to thrive. Thus unobstructed blood flow, circulation, lymphatic drainage and neurological impulses must be maintained. The arteries are involved in sending nutrients, carrying white blood cells and immune modulators to fight infection, and transport needed oxygen to local cells and tissues. The veins and lymph facilitate removal of waste material from a cell. The nerves are involved in message relay from cell to cell and whole body communication.
Utilizing the patient’s case history, physical assessment and orthopedic tests along with the use of palpation skills for detecting areas of diminished mobility; classical osteopathy techniques focus on finding the underlying cause of the symptoms, whether near to or distant from the person’s area of complaint. The gentle, hands on treatment is focused on assisting the body to normalize any areas of dysfunction. Modern manual osteopathy incorporates lifestyle modifications, exercise, stretching and supplements as part of a wholistic treatment protocol.
Osteopathy is used to address a variety of health issues. Find out if Osteopathic manual therapy is right for you. Email us today. Vancouver Manual Osteopathy Therapy: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group.
Read about future blog postings on “Manual Osteopathic Techniques” and “Why I Chose Manual Osteopathy as an adjunct profession” upcoming.