Your Questions Answered: What is Osteopathy?

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What is Osteopathy?

I get asked this often by new clients, friends and family. Most people have heard of Osteopathy and have been recommended to try it but most people don’t know what it is.


Here is a brief description of Osteopathy and how I was influenced to study it in order to better help my clients:

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a gentle manual therapy. It is a holistic treatment that addresses the entire body – joints, bones, soft tissues, organs, fluids and body systems. Osteopathic philosophy is based on the following 4 principles*:

  1. Each structure in the body supports the body’s functions. If a structure is damaged, out of place, or otherwise not working properly, the body will not function at its best.
  2. The natural flow of the body’s fluids – lymphatic, vascular and neurological – must be preserved and maintained.
  3. The human body is the sum of its parts. Its physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive systems don’t work independently -they work in harmony.
  4. When the body has no restrictions, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.
    (*according osteopathyontario.org)

The goal of Osteopathic treatment is to locate and release restrictions to restore the body’s normal function. Practitioners use palpation (feeling with hands or fingers) as a tool for physical assessment, which is a skill that is developed through years of practice and study.

They use various manual techniques to address the imbalances in the body. Some of the techniques used are as follows:

  • Mobilization
  • Muscle Energy Techniques
  • Soft Tissue Techniques
  • Strain/Counter Strain
  • Facilitated Positional Release Technique
  • Cranial Osteopathy
  • Still Technique
  • Visceral Manipulation
  • Balanced Ligamentous Tension Technique

Why did you choose it as a profession?

I was first helped by Osteopathy when I was experiencing jaw pain from grinding my teeth at night and was amazed at how effective it was. The techniques were gentle yet powerful in its effects. I felt immensely relaxed after each treatment. More recently, it helped ease back pain that I was experiencing during pregnancy and prepared my body for labour.

I currently practice Acupuncture and I wanted to add a manual therapy component to my practice in order to better serve my clients. I noticed that there was a shortage of Osteopaths and demands for their services are on the rise. I saw the opportunity to help a greater number of people and the rest was history.

I was drawn to one of the guiding principles of Osteopathy, that the body is a whole system that is interconnected and that our body have the innate ability to heal when the restrictions are corrected. This principle also holds true in Chinese Medicine Acupuncture theory.

It was the greatest decision I ever made and my studies at National Academy of Osteopathy (NAO) have really elevated my ability to help people live a pain free and harmonious life. NAO also taught me numerous skills that helped ensure my success as a practitioner, a business owner and as an individual. I feel that my learning journey in Osteopathy has really helped me as a practitioner and improve my life as a person outside of the clinic.

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