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What is Osteopathy

Osteopathy is a gentle and effective hands-on approach to healthcare, based on the principle that the way your body moves influences how it functions. Osteopaths are highly competent healthcare professionals, recognised by the NHS as fully qualified to diagnose and treat independently.

Over 30,000 people every day visit an osteopath suffering from a variety of conditions including neck or back pain, joint or muscular pain, sports injuries, recurring headaches and more. Many patients are pregnant women and children, those suffering with work strain, or pain and stiffness related to advancing years.

Osteopathy is a system of holistic medicine that focuses primarily on the musculoskeletal system and its interconnections with the organs and the nervous system. Using some of the diagnostic approaches applied in conventional medicine – as well as a trained eye and sense of touch – osteopaths try to establish the structural cause of physical symptoms and use techniques to restore the optimal function of the body without the use of drugs or surgery.

Osteopathic evaluation involves observation and testing according to biomechanical principles – looking at the inter-relationship between all the different parts of the body to understand the patient’s unique physical make-up. Osteopathic diagnosis considers whether any medical conditions, previous injuries, surgery or ergonomic factors could be causing physical symptoms. Osteopathic treatment aims to relieve pain, improve function and promote healing, as well as reducing the likelihood of problems recurring.

Osteopaths work according to the principle that there may be a range of contributing factors to the symptoms and therefore evaluate not only the area that is producing the symptoms, but also associated areas that may be contributing to the issue, including past trauma, environmental factors and the family’s health history.

Osteopathic practice is a healthcare approach that provides a package of care that can include health information, self-management advice and support, exercise therapy and manual therapy, including:

• Soft-tissue massage
• Joint mobilisation
• Subtle connective-tissue and fluid balancing techniques
• Cranial osteopathic techniques
• Postural and breathing exercises
• Lymphatic drainage
• Stretching