What is Osteopathy?
Osteopaths are interested in freedom of movement throughout the human body.
But osteopathy is more than just a set of techniques to ease your pain and help you move better.
It is a way of understanding how the body functions as a whole, and seeing how pain in one area may be due to problems elsewhere, and working with the body to allow healing to happen.
Osteopathy was the first “alternative” therapy to receive Statutory Regulation (in 1997).
Training takes 4-5 years and osteopaths are required to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date with regular CPD activities.
Osteopathy is increasingly gaining recognition as an effective, evidence-based therapy, while retaining its distinctive approach to holistic healthcare.
What makes a good osteopath?
Listening Patients must have the opportunity to explain everything that’s going on. Knowing how to ask the right questions and when to listen is a skill that osteopaths practice. My initial appointments are 1 hour long, which gives us ample time to discuss your case, so I can really understand what’s happened in the past, what you are feeling now, and what you are hoping to achieve in the future.
Knowledge Osteopathy is a 4 year course. The first two years of training cover anatomy, physiology and pathology, to a level equivalent to that of medicine students. In years 3 and 4 osteopathic training focuses on how the body and mind respond to pain and injury, and a range of approaches to deal with this clinically. The subjects are complex, and osteopaths are constantly learning throughout their career.
Palpation An osteopath will have “good hands”, based on years of training and experience in examining patients.
By carefully moving the joints around, an osteopath can feel areas of resistance or weakness, whether they have a nice elastic springiness, or a solid rigidity, a protective gripping or a weak instability. All of this helps build an impression of how healthy the tissues are and where the problems lie, and provides crucial information when coming to a diagnosis.
Technique Treating a patient involves choosing from a range of techniques and applying them skilfully. For a slow, holding technique, you have to feel how a person’s body responds to treatment, knowing when to wait and when to move, choosing the right level of pressure or direction of movement.
For a manipulation, you have to adjust the angle of thrust to fit the specific shape of that person’s joints and choose the right speed to fit their tissue texture. Judging when it’s time to stop and leave something alone is also an important part of technique.