History of Osteopathy

Osteopathy was founded in the 19th century as the very first manual therapy. The founder, Andrew Taylor Still was a practicing Physician and licensed MD. Still was unsatisfied with the medical practices of the day and endeavored to change the mainstream medical approach. Still devoted the next 10 years to thoroughly studying human anatomy and developing a better way to treat disease.

After years of research and clinical observations, he came to the conclusion the musculoskeletal system had a strong influence over health and disease. He also acknowledged the body had all the tools it needed to maintain good health if encouraged correctly. These realisations led Still to develop a system of manual techniques based on correcting physical problems of the musculoskeletal system allowing the body to restore its health and balance and function more efficiently. He named the system developed Osteopathy or Osteopathic medicine.

Still emphasized the importance of treating the patient as a ‘whole’. No one system or part should be considered in isolation of the rest of the body. From these observations AT Still taught the philosophy of Osteopathy.


Principles of Osteopathy

An Osteopath approaches the treatment of every client guided by the following principles


Structure and function is related
The structure of the body (joints, muscles, tendons etc) affect how well the body is able to function (movement, digestion, breathing, mood). This is true in reverse too. The function of the body affects its structure. Ie. you sit at a desk all day (function) and this in return can result in shorter, tight muscles (structure).


The body has a self healing and self regulating mechanism
The body has a tendency toward health and homeostasis, the role of an Osteopath is to remove any physical restrictions that may be hindering this natural healing process. Be that a tight muscle or restricted joint or an overactive nervous system Osteopaths have the manual therapy tools to address such restrictions and restore better health and balance.


The body is a whole
To treat effectively and efficiently the body should be considered one unit. Osteopaths recognise one part of the body can have vast effects on other parts. Effective treatment relies on this realization as this often provides the key to addressing the underlying problems.

You may feel pain in your low back but an experienced Osteopath will look far broader than just where the symptoms are directly felt. With a true understanding of biomechanics and anatomy, the Osteopath will know that it could be due to abnormal pressures transmitted up through the leg straining the posterior pelvis and low back all caused from poor movement in the bones of the ankle as a result of an old injury.

All rational treatment is based on consideration of all these principles
Osteopaths base all examination, diagnosis and treatment on the above principles.



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