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Thread: What exactly is an Osteopath???

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Just Coasting

    Default What exactly is an Osteopath???

    Hi, does anyone know what exactly an osteopath is?
    From what I gather it kind of sounds like a cross between a chiro and a physio?
    Do people usually require an extensive course of treatment with an osteo for things like aligning the spine and pelvis in pregnancy or do a few treatments usually do?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    I could be totally off here, but when I was working on my essay and interview for entry to Chiro this is what I learnt.

    Essentially, Chiropractors & Osteopaths do a lot of the same physical adjustments. Their philosophies are different - in what they believe is the main "control" of the body (so to speak). Physiotherapists are all about Musculo-skeletal MANIPULATION whereas chiropractors & osteopaths are about ADJUSTMENT. Not sure about osteopaths, but chiropractors are supposedly very against the practises of physotherapy.

    Chiropractic is based in the nervous system being the key control of the body's health and well being. Whereas Osteopathy focus on an unimpeded Circulatory system for the health of the nervous system, and in turn the human body. IYKWIM?

    Chiros and Osteos can both be used for maitenance and repair. So if you were wanting alignment to prevent discomfort or SPD etcetera, I would suggest a weekly or fortnightly session, but best to be discussed with the practitioner you choose.


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia


    So What Exactly is Osteopathy?

    The philosophy of Osteopathy is the underlying basis when an Osteopath treats a patient.

    The human body operates in much the same way as a machine, with all parts interrelated, and with structure being closely related to function. Further to this and extending the machine analogy further, damage to one part can have adverse effects on other systems or organs.

    Underlying this theory is our belief that the human body has all of the necessary elements to attain, and maintain, optimal health, and an in-built repair system that enables us to recover from injury and disease.

    As with any system in the body, this in-built repair system functions best when the machine is functionally sound. By using clinically developed techniques, that promote sufficient blood flow, osteopaths help maintain optimal function of the internal organs, which in turn promotes and maintains the body’s balanced production of natural chemicals.

    The principal technique that we employ is ‘Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy’ or OMT for short.

    Examples of OMT are:

    * Soft Tissue Massage
    * Muscle Stretching
    * Passive Range of Motion
    * Gentle Joint Manipulation

    Specially developed ‘slow release techniques’ are commonly used in the elderly and the very young, to ensure that the treatment is both safe and comfortable.

    As part of the holistic, or ‘whole person’, approach to optimal health, osteopaths also consider the roles of appropriate exercise programs, a healthy diet and nutrition, and emotional well being (through techniques such as stress reduction exercises and strategies) as important factors in your treatment.

    In a nutshell, the aim of osteopathy is to restore the individual’s natural abilities to heal, by using a combination of biomechanics, lifestyle improvements, and healthy nutrition.

    In Australia, Osteopathy has been practiced since 1909 and, as well as the United States, is widely practiced throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and New Zealand.

    About Pregnancy

    Pregnancy can be remembered as a joyful and exciting time, but for some women, pain, discomfort or illness can darken this picture. Osteopaths can assess and treat many of these complaints which are associated with pregnancy.

    What are the most common complaints associated with pregnancy?

    . lower back pain
    . sciatica (leg pain)
    . neck, shoulder, middle back pain

    Early stages of pregnancy are often associated with symptoms such as nausea, morning sickness, headache, fatigue and dizziness. As the pregnancy progresses, the extra weight creates a shift in the body centre of gravity, combined with softening of muscles and supporting ligaments. This added mechanical stress can cause symptoms such as generalised back pain, sciatica from nerve pressure, pubic symphysis or sacro-iliac joint pain from instability, scoliosis and accentuation of the normal back curves.

    Where does osteopathy fit in the picture?

    The philosophy of Osteopathy teaches that the body structure and its function are closely related and interdependent. This distinctive way of thinking applies to treatment of almost any injury, condition or change in state of health. Pregnancy is no exception. To accommodate for the growing foetus, the body undergoes tremendous changes. Some are visually obvious; others are subtler as hormonal releases affect the anatomy, physiology and biology of most systems. The goal of osteopathic treatment is to assist this natural process, maximising the body's ability to adjust and to compensate for the changes as efficiently as possible in support of mother and baby with a minimum of pain and discomfort.

    Is it safe to have osteopathic treatment during pregnancy?

    Osteopathy has one of the best safety records of any medically related profession. The techniques used during pregnancy are carefully selected in order to minimise the risk. These techniques are gentle and the comfort of the mother is always assured.

    Can osteopathy influence the birth of my baby?

    The descent of the baby through the pelvis is determined by factors such as ligament laxity, hormonal control, uterine contraction, gravity and position of the baby. If the mother's pelvis is mechanically unstable or is lacking mobility, it may interfere with the baby's passage through the birth canal.
    Osteopathic treatment helps to restore balance and improve quality of movements of the whole pelvic girdle, promoting hormonal and neurological feedback, which in turn allows stimulation of the uterine contraction.

    Should I still see an osteopath after the birth of my baby?

    Yes, for a whole range of reasons. Some start to experience constant back problems or period pain only after the birth. This can be caused by weakened ligaments and lack of muscle strength, thereby weakening the whole structure.
    Whilst mothers are breast-feeding, it can be common for them to experience postural strain and pain in the mid to upper spine. Osteopathic treatment to this region can help ease this discomfort as well as promote better blood flow and lymphatic drainage to the breast area.
    Your Osteopath can also provide you with advice on posture for breast feeding position, sleep and daily activities, and also exercises to strengthen abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor.

    Osteopathic treatment after delivery provides restoration of the normal mechanics of the back and pelvis optimising the body for an active life.

    Kelly xx

    Creator of, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children

    BellyBelly Birth & Early Parenting Immersion - Find out how to have a BETTER, more confident birth experience... guaranteed!
    Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Just Coasting


    Thankyou Cookiemonster & Kelly for your replies. I think I shall definately employ the services of an osteo during my next pregnancy..

    Thanks again

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