Osteopathy is a holistic healthcare system, ie we consider the body as a whole, and it focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of dysfunction in the body structure eg muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. When the body is well-balanced and efficient, just like a well-tuned engine, it will function with the minimum of wear and tear, leaving more energy for living.
A particularly well-developed skill for osteopaths is the use of touch (palpation) to evaluate the state and motion of tissues and joints, and the ability to monitor changes in these. If the body’s structure is out of balance, due to poor body use, tension, injury etc, we eventually experience symptoms such as pain and stiffness. Osteopaths work with their hands to release structural tension and help the body to rebalance so that it functions more efficiently and more comfortably. This applies to all bodies, whatever their age.
Osteopaths use a variety of manual techniques such as massage, mobilisation of joints and stretching of muscles.
Cranial Osteopaths use very gentle contact over various parts of the body to help release tension and so allow better movement of muscles and joints.
What the client can expect at the appointment
You will be asked many questions about your current problem, about your general health and medical history including previous illnesses, accidents, operations, current medication and so on.
You will be asked to undress to your underwear so that the osteopath can look at the balance of the whole body and the problem area in relation to the rest of the body. (Please bring a pair of shorts to wear if you are concerned about this). You will be asked to perform various movements and the osteopath will feel the relevant muscles and joints.
The findings will be explained to you and some manual treatment may be carried out immediately. You may be given advice on how to move, exercise, rest, sit etc. (If the osteopath believes that she cannot help you she will say so and may refer you on.)
You will be asked to be careful not to strain yourself, particularly in the next day or so following treatment, as your body will be trying to change and unwind itself which can make it a little more vulnerable until it has adjusted to the changes.
What will happen in a follow-up session
You will be asked how you have been since the last visit and your comments will be noted. You will usually be asked to undress to underwear, perform certain movements and the osteopath will feel the relevant areas again. Further manual treatment will usually be carried out; this is generally relaxing. Further advice may be given.
How many sessions should the client need before they see a result
This varies from person to person. Very occasionally people feel fine after only one session, but usually it can take 3-4 sessions to experience significant and lasting improvement – it can depend on how long you’ve had the problem. The osteopath can often give you a better idea of how long it might take after they have taken your history and examined you.
Some people find that after a course of treatment they feel much better, but in order to maintain that level of improvement and wellbeing, they need to have a ‘top-up’ from time to time.
What can the therapy help
Osteopathy treats people, not diseases nor just symptoms; we aim to help the body as a whole.
Using Osteopathy we have helped people with many symptoms including:
Pain and stiffness throughout the body:
- Stiff shoulders
- Arm pain
- Neck pain
- Arthritic pain
- Hip, thigh, knee, ankle & foot problems
- Shoulder, elbow, wrist & hand problems
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle tension
- Joint pains
Our patients have reported that cranial osteopathy has helped their babies with many symptoms including those associated with crying, unsettled babies.
Who would benefit from this type of therapy
Osteopathy is suitable for people of all ages from newborn to the elderly.