What is Osteopathy:

Osteopathy is a holistic form of manual therapy which facilitates healing by focusing on how the whole body functions as a unit, including the bones, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissues and internal organs. Osteopathic techniques are effective in treating both acute and chronic pain conditions and improving mobility, health, and general wellbeing.

Osteopathic practitioners seek the cause of pain and dysfunction by taking a comprehensive case history and physical assessment to look at the interaction of multiple systems in the body (digestive, neurological, cardiorespiratory, and musculoskeletal).

Lifestyle factors are also discussed as potential contributors, including diet, exercise, stress, occupation, and sleeping issues. Osteopathic practitioners are trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and a whole range of hands-on techniques to provide a multi-system approach.

Osteopathic practitioners typically use the sensitive palpation of their hands to assess restrictions and strains and provide manual treatment in order to decrease pain and improve function.

Techniques aim to address the cause of dysfunction and facilitate the body to integrate changes.

Click the link for a short 1 min video explaining osteopathy: What is Osteopathy?

What does Osteopathy treat?

Osteopathic treatments can be carried out using a number of techniques, depending on the needs and conditions of different patients. This versatility makes osteopathic treatments fit for the whole family.

 What to expect during an osteopathic treatment?

The Osteopath will carry out an initial consultation with you which will last approximately 45 minutes and subsequent treatments will take approximately 20 -30 minutes.

A full medical case history and a physical examination will take place. This will involve assessing your posture and a range of certain movements to find the root cause of the problem. After this, you will then be provided with treatment based on what has been found. Treatment will be aimed to restore function and encourage vitality. The overall aim of the treatment is to prevent the problem from recurring.

What should I wear to my appointment?

The perfect clothing is to come wearing what you would normally wear to the gym or for working out. You will never be asked to undress. We may ask for some part of clothing to be removed for treatment purposes (ie. a sock, if treating foot).

How many visits will I need?

Some patients have instant relief. Others discover it can take more time. Many factors can affect your recovery such as your age, how long you’ve had the problem, severity, your daily demands and general condition of your body.

Every patient reacts differently, and your osteopathic practitioner will be able to advise you on your likely recovery time. In most cases you will feel a definite change for the better early on in your treatment. Most patients do express significant improvement after just one or two treatments, but in general, the longer you’ve had it, the longer it will take to recover.

Is Osteopathy covered under OHIP?

No, osteopathy is not covered under OHIP but is covered under most private health care benefit plans. Please check with your benefit provider for coverage details

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

No, you do not require a referral from your doctor to see an osteopathic practitioner and most private health care benefit providers do not require a referral.

What is the difference between Osteopathic Practitioners and Chiropractors?

Originally Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, an American medical doctor. One of Dr Still’s students was Daniel David Palmer who founded Chiropractic in 1895. The association between Dr Still and Palmer is not usually mentioned in accounts of the history of Chiropractic. Despite these early links, Osteopathy & Chiropractic are now quite different.

A shared philosophy for osteopathy and chiropractic is the importance of the integrity of the spine in ensuring good health. The primary objective of both osteopathy and chiropractic is to remove bodily aches and pains, and both are able to make a diagnosis by history, clinical tests and examination.

Chiropractors tend to use x-rays for diagnosis. However, Osteopaths focus on history, clinical tests and palpation for diagnosis, and do not order x-rays unless they are clinically indicated. This minimizes a person’s exposure to radiation.

Chiropractor tend to be very focused on a range of techniques for manipulation of the spine. Where as, Osteopathic practitioners make use of a wider range of techniques for the whole body, such as; stretches, myofascial release and muscle energy techniques.

Generally, Osteopaths allow a longer treatment time with each patient and require less frequent treatments. Treatments tend to be spaced out over a longer period, rather than once or twice weekly.

The Benefits of Osteopathy on the Immune System:

One of the major holistic benefits of osteopathy is the overall positive effects it has on the immune system. Osteopathic treatment works from the belief that the structure and function of the body are inter-connected. It therefore holds that osteopathy can help boost immunity. There are several ways it can do this:

Osteopathic manual therapy can help to improve thoracic mobility and increase lymphatic drainage. Techniques such as this can help to, among other things, boost the lymphatic system, which in turn helps to better regulate the body’s organ functions and its overall immunity.

Osteopathic therapy can help with our mental health and plays a part in promoting a feeling of overall well being. For instance, regular massage treatments can help to better regulate what is known as the sympathetic nervous system, which essentially controls the body’s “fight/flight” reflexes. If our body is placed under stress, then the sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive. This leads to adrenal stress, which in turn can have a negative effect on the other organs of the body.

Overall, osteopathy can help to rebalance the body’s nervous system, and restore motion and mobility to the joints. This in turn helps to boost the body’s overall immunity.

Can I see an Osteopath during pregnancy?

Osteopathy is a safe form of physical therapy through all stages of pregnancy. Your practitioner will only use techniques and forms of treatment that will enhance your health and well-being. Osteopathic treatment is helpful in assisting the body to adapt to the postural changes and makes the pregnancy much more comfortable. An important part of preparation for childbirth is to ensure that the mother’s pelvis is structurally balanced and able to allow the passage of the baby down the birth canal.

Osteopathy during pregnancy typically helps with:

  • The alleviation of pelvic pain, back, neck, and shoulder pain

  • A sharp reduction in reports of heartburn, nausea and vomiting

  • Maintaining optimal breathing patterns

  • Regulation of the body’s digestive system

  • After pregnancy, osteopathic treatment can also play a role in helping the body return to normal. Including:

  • Helping to restore pelvic alignment and posture

  • Assisting with any aches or pains which may arise from poor breast-feeding posture, lifting and carrying, or repetitive strain

  • Helping to alleviate back pain

  • Aiding recovery in the aftermath of C-sections

  • Osteopathy’s holistic benefits mean it can it help with bladder or incontinence problems in the aftermath of pregnancy 

Osteopathy for Babies and Children:

Osteopathy for babies & children is a gentle and non-invasive technique whereby the practitioner aids the body’s natural self-correcting mechanism to relieve trauma that may have occurred during birth.

The movement of the baby through the cervix in labour obliges the head to move in several specific directions whilst undergoing the powerful pressure of the contractions, this naturally causes some overlapping of the skull and compression. Some compressions may be relieved spontaneously after birth as the baby cries or suckles; however, this un-moulding process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult. Babies who have experienced forceps delivery, a long labour or caesarean birth may develop cranial compression issues resulting in:

  • Colic or Excessive Crying

  • Regurgitation

  • Sinus problems

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Suckling/Feeding difficulties

  • Unsettled restless babies

  • Discomfort while lying on his/her back

  • Postural problems

  • Aches and pains associated with growing

  • Headaches

Reactions to treatment are variable, often the baby or child is very relaxed afterwards and sleeps well. Others have a burst of energy after treatment, usually followed by a good night sleep. Occasionally the child may seem unsettled and this is merely because treatment may take a few hours or days to complete.