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What Is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is often referred to as holistic medicine, because each treatment considers the “whole body”. The focus is on restoring and maintaining the physical well being of the whole patient. Through the use of manual hands-on techniques, osteopathic treatments aim to support and nourish the nervous, visceral organs, circulatory, lymphatic, musculo-skeletal systems to promote restoration of the body to its proper functioning. Once the body's functioning is restored, it can then begin to heal itself naturally. Osteopathy has a gentle hands-on approach to treatment to addressing many painful and unexplained maladies people suffer from. 

Osteopathy's roots are in the USA, which was started by an American Medical Doctor by the name of Andrew Tailor Still in the late 1800's. Still understood that the body required natural therapy to activate the body's innate healing abilities. Osteopaths have highly trained hands which can tune into the subtle mechanics of the patient's body to help them with a range of maladies.

Osteopathy is divided into 3 main disciplines:

  • The musculo-skeletal system (the spine and limbs).

  • The scull and facial bones being cranio-sacral.

  • The visceral-organs system of the body.

After an osteopathic treatment aligns all 3 of these bodily systems, many patients report a feeling of relief and generally feel better.


Why Is Osteopathy A Good Choice?

Osteopathic practitioners treat the person as a whole. Treatment focuses on finding the source of the problem and not just chasing the symptoms. Major contributing factors that initially created the dysfunction, or are maintaining it are identified and released. Osteopathic practitioners spend quality time with their patients, using a global “full body” approach, ensuring the therapeutic changes that have been achieved are integrated properly into the body’s homeostatic balance.


How Does The Body Heal Itself?

It starts with the knowledge that the body is on its own healing agenda. Your body is in charge of your present physical experience, functioning as one unit together at once. If one body system is sluggish, then all the other systems will be limited by the weakest link (as in a metal chain). The organs sub-serves the body, therefore the visceral organs are important to consider with every treatment the body receives. Osteopathy aims to bring about balance, peace and harmony within the body's complex systems. Once homeostatic balance is initiated throughout the body, it can then again use its natural healing tools to foster health and healing.


What Is The Initial Osteopathic Appointment Like?

To begin with, a complete health history is taken and the reason or reasons for your visit will be discussed. After we have talked for awhile, the 15 Step Screening Examination can begin. What that accomplishes is gaining insight to assess what initial areas need treatment and to create a plan of action for the subsequent visits.


Will My Health Insurance Cover Osteopathy?

Most insurance companies are now covering osteopathic treatments, as most all insurance plans do in eastern Canada. If you are unsure about your plan's coverage, contact your insurance provider and inquire about the matter.


Do I Need A Referral From My Doctor?

Some insurance companies may require you to have a doctor’s referral to be covered. Check with your insurance provider's policy for details about your coverage for Osteopathy and Registered Massage Therapy.


What Do I Wear?

Yoga and sportswear are good, as are shorts and a t-shirt.

For female clients, a bra strap which opens at the back is helpful in facilitating any hands-on techniques which may be required between the shoulder blades. Proper clothing is important since osteopathic treatments generally do not require the patient to disrobe, but at the same time overly restricted by clothing can limit some needed osteopathic treatment techniques.


What Will I Feel Like After?

Following your subsequent osteopathy treatment, your body will be in a process of readjustment for the next 3 - 4 days. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid any overly intense activities during this period. Everybody is genetically different and because of this, there are variations in the way each patient heals. Therefore, each patient will have a different experience with the healing phenomena. Some patients may feel the benefits of an osteopathic treatment immediately, while others may notice that they feel a positive difference in their well being within a few days following. Generally, you can expect to be somewhat sleepy a few hours before your regular bedtime, as your body is in a healing-restorative mode. You will likely have a deeper sleep than usual and wake up feeling more refreshed and recharged, but this is all very subjective to each person. Remember, in some cases it has taken years for the body to come out of balance, and it may take just as long to reclaim health and vitality. One must have patience with their body, combined with self-love and respect if healing is going to be maximized, especially if long-suffering is involved. 


Can Young Children Be Treated With Osteopathy?

Yes absolutely. Some of the best outcomes are with infants and young children, since they cannot or have difficulty in telling us where it hurts or is uncomfortable. Allopathic (the standard medical system) test are important in hopes to acquire a diagnosis; and with that diagnosis or not, a pair of highly trained osteopathic hands with sensitive palpatory skills fills any missed gaps to complete the examination. In the USA, many hospitals have on staff osteopathic physicians who assist in the treatment and recovery of young persons. Everyone from newborns to their grandparents can receive osteopathy treatments safely with the assurance of quality care.


What Is A Somatic Dysfunction?

Somatic dysfunction definition: “impaired or altered function of related components of the somatic (body framework) system: skeletal, arthrodial (joints), and myofascial structures (muscles and fascia), and related vascular, lymphatic, and neural elements”. The way in which an osteopath can tell if there is a somatic dysfunction present, is by paying close attention to 4 main diagnostic factors, as remembered by the mnemonic T. A. R. T. These 4 factors are:

  • Tissue texture changes (warmness, coolness, dryness, moistness). 

  • Asymmetry of structure (postural deviations/changes, one leg shorter than the other).

  • Restriction of motion (spinal, extremities, cranial bones, viscera).

  • Tenderness to palpation (active trigger points, tender Fibromyalgia spots, viscera, along the sutures uniting the scull bones, Chapman's Reflexes).


Are There Any Side Effects?

Sometimes the patient may have the experience that their symptoms may feel worse and/or experience more symptoms or new ones within the 3-4 days of their recovery and healing process. This process usually indicates that the patient has a long-standing, has many concentrated tensions and toxins present within. After 5 days, the symptoms should become less intense as your body begins to heal and recalibrate itself. If however, the intensity of the symptoms persists after 10 days, the patient will need to contact Josh, since their body needs help with an additional treatment to assist the healing process. Osteopathy treatments are not going to harm anyone, since they are gentle in nature and augment the body's own healing abilities, also, the techniques used have been tested over time as being safe and effective. It is also possible that the patient feels as if nothing has changed at all. When the patient feels this way, it is usually because there is a misconception about healing. Healing changes are usually small and incremental, and even come in what are called, “healing waves”. The body is on its own healing schedule. Also, osteopathy has a limited ability help non-somatic dysfunctions, such as: an acute fracture, osteoarthritis, stage 4 cancer, many autoimmune system diseases, advanced organ diseases, microbial systemic invasions.


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