What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of healthcare grounded in human anatomy and physiology. It is bound by the principles of natural science, of how the body functions and its interaction with the natural world. It is the science, philosophy and principles that define Osteopathy, rather than any particular form of diagnosis or treatment.
Osteopathy was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still and emerged in America towards the end of the 19th century. Dr. Still was a Medical Physician who was disillusioned with the medical practice of his time. Through the dedicated study of anatomy and physiology over many years he developed a system that enhanced the body to return to and maintain health. Dr. Still called this system Osteopathy because he realized that dis-ease often begins with a disturbance in the functioning of the body framework. He founded the first osteopathic school in Kirksville, USA in 1894. Like many clinical investigators of his time, Dr Still considered the patient to be his field of study and spoke of Osteopathy as: a Science, a Philosophy, and an Art. The following principles guide the practice of Osteopathy.
The body is a unit and the person is a unit of body, mind and spirit.
The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance.
Structure and function are interdependent: This concept avoids the artificial separation of physiology, anatomy and biochemical and electrical fields.
Rational diagnosis and treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation and the inter-relationship of structure and function.
Principles in Practice:
As the osteopath takes the case history, examines, diagnoses and treats the patient, they are using these principles to develop an understanding of the person. They consider the nature of the problem, how it relates to its surrounding structures, what the vitality of the body system is like, and how the person’s body is functioning as a whole. All of these factors have a bearing on the diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
It is the philosophy and principles of osteopathy that render it unique and different to comparable modes of physical therapy, such as chiropractic and physiotherapy. Osteopathy is a safe, gentle and effective form of diagnosis and treatment for people of all ages.