Published in City Times
Holistic Healing with Osteopathy
Osteopathy, (derived from Greek: osteon meaning bones and pathos meaning suffering) was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, M.D in 1874. The system involves finding the root cause of the problem leading to illness and weeding it out, instead of treating the symptoms alone. It is a holistic method of treatment that focuses on all aspects of an individual’s wellbeing: mind, body and spirit, explains Tim Mills, UK registered Osteopath at Orthosports Medical Centre, Jumeirah.
The emphasis of Osteopathy is on the structural and functional integrity of the body. Hence, Osteopaths diagnose and treat individuals to restore health by correcting mechanical imbalances within and between bodily structures including the muscles, bones, ligaments, organs and fascia or the thin tissue underneath the skin. This is achieved by improving, restoring and maintaining the harmonious functioning of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems of the body.
And this may be done with the help of all medical means including medication with drugs, patient education and manual body therapy and surgery as well. Though most of the manipulation techniques of osteopathy are unique, some of these massage movements are also used by physiotherapists, chiropractors and massage therapists.
Conditions commonly treated by Osteopaths are associated with various pains, strains, and injuries, especially related to sports. Besides, Osteopathy has been found to be very effective in the treatment of asthma, migraine, arthritis, tendonitis, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), digestive disturbances, ear infections, sinusitis, knee and joint pains, dizziness, back and neck pains, whiplash and postural problems. The basic idea is to bring to equilibrium, all system of the body. Because the form of treatment is gentle, the system benefits people of all ages. It can be safely practiced on children and babies with colic, insomnia and glue ear.
On the first visit, the Osteopath will first take a complete case history followed by a clinical example of the patient. The Osteopath will perform a series of movements and with his keenly developed sense of touch, palpates various areas of the body to identify points of weakness or excess strain. Further investigations like X-Ray, blood test, et al may be necessary in certain instances to confirm diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment. For 24 hours following treatment, it is advised not to indulge in heavy exercise so as to allow the tissues time to heal and settle to balance. Osteopathy is, however, not necessarily a cure-all: while some conditions in some individuals may be cured, in other instances, conditions are partially relieved or maintained in balance.
The treatment by osteopathy includes hundred different techniques encompassing soft tissue techniques, rhythmic passive joint mobilization and high velocity thrust techniques to enhance mobility and the range of movements of joints. For children and old people, gentle release techniques are adopted to enable the body to return to efficient normal function.
While chiropractic therapists manipulate an affected joint beyond its physiological and anatomical range of motion, Osteopaths look for restrictions in joint movement that occur within the normal range of motions and try to rectify them but do not manipulate them beyond their physiological or anatomical range of motion. This perhaps is the reason why adverse effects from therapy are barely evident. The true contra-indication to Osteopathy relates to medical emergencies and urgencies when it is not used. Also, it is not used on cancer patients and those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, says Mills.
In fact, Osteopathy can be safely practiced during the entire period of pregnancy without causing any untoward effect on the mother or child. It can be undertaken for easing the physical discomforts associated with pregnancy, to help reduce nausea, breathlessness and heart burn, prepare the mother for demands of labor and help her post-delivery recovery. It is claimed that even miscarriages can be averted in a small number of cases and the pregnancy stabilized to proceed to full term.
An integral part of the treatment plan involves home exercises and lifestyle modifications which complement the Osteopath’s treatment intended to promote the body’s self-healing mechanism to get re-activated or re-energized.
In most instances, considerable improvement from treatment is visible between two to six sessions of theray. A single session may be all that is required in some instances, though.