Osteopathy definition: osteopathy applies the knowledge of the structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) of the body, to all diseases, disorders and dysfunctions. The tools osteopaths use are their hands. Osteopathic manual practitioners use a gentle manual or hands on approach to identify the causative factor of the problem and restore order to all of the systems: musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, reproductive, nervous system etc.
Why Choose Osteopathy?
Osteopaths assess and treat your body as a whole, as symptoms sometimes show up in a different part of your body from where the problem actually is and there may be several factors contributing to the symptoms you experience. Practitioners go through many years of training to develop their highly refined palpatory skills and knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics.
What is Cranial Osteopathy?
Cranial Osteopathy is a specialist area of osteopathy that concentrates on restoring the fine movements of the bones of the head (the cranial bones) and releasing tension in the fascia that surrounds the brain and nervous system (the dura). The brain is immersed in a fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid that bathes and protects the tissues in and around the brain. Cranial osteopathic techniques can encourage and improve the circulation of cerebro-spinal fluid, helping the body restore itself to health.
Cranial osteopathy was developed by the American osteopath William G Sutherland in the 1930s. Contrary to popular belief, Sutherland found the cranial bones were not actually fused but were capable of minute movements. By experimenting on his own head using gentle compression he showed that he could detect and help many problems. He developed refined and subtle techniques using gentle pressure to encourage the release of tension and strains in the cranium and the dura surrounding the head and nervous system and throughout the body. Later in life Dr. Sutherland not only talked about bones and membranes but the subtle fluctuations of fluid within the whole.
Osteopathy was first introduced by Andrew Taylor Still in 1874
. Still, a frontiersman and physician was frustrated by conventional medicine of the time. He understood the concepts of cause and effect, the relationship of structure and function, the holistic nature of individuals and the interrelatedness of parts. He believed that the body had self-regulatory and self-healing powers, that the body contained within it all the substances necessary for maintaining health. When the body was properly stimulated, Still believed that these substances would also assist in recovering from illness. He did not view disease as an outside agent somehow inflicting itself on the body. Rather, disease was the result of alterations in the structural relationships of the body parts.
What is the difference between an Osteopath and an Osteopathic Physician?
Osteopathic physicians have a medical degree from a college approved by the American Osteopathic Association. They are licensed physicians who also have osteopathic manual training. This training is not available in Canada. They are eligible to become licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of NS after completing exams and full residency requirements.
In Europe and Canada, Osteopaths limit their practice to manual therapy and work with other health care providers including physicians, but do not practice medicine, prescribe medications or perform surgery. In England and throughout Europe it is normally a 4-year degree. In Canada the profession is a five-year part-time program with a thesis for existing health care professionals (athletic therapists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors) and meet s WOHO (world osteopathic health association) standards.