With all the medical services available today, it’s hard to keep up with what each one offers, and which ones would be most beneficial to you, your body and your needs. From acupuncture and physiotherapy, to immunotherapy and phototherapy, the list goes on and on. A form of therapy that we hear quite frequently is osteopathy, but what is it exactly? What are the benefits, and when should an individual consider making an appointment for a session? Continue reading to find out! Always consult a health professional before trying any new forms of therapy.
Osteopathic medicine was founded by Andrew Taylor Still over 140 years ago. If you look up the definition and history of “osteopathy”, you will find “disease of the bones”. However, in the Autobiography of Andrew T. Still, it states, “You wonder what osteopathy is; you look in the medical dictionary and find as its definition ‘bone disease’. That is a grave mistake. It is compounded of two words, osteon, meaning bone, pathos, pathine, to suffer. Greek lexicographers say it is a proper name for a science founded on knowledge of bones. So instead of ‘bone disease’ it really means usage.”
According to Medical News Today, osteopathy is a non-invasive therapy that focuses on the joints, muscles, and spine. Osteopaths use their hands to focus not only on the problem areas, but to also use drug-free, manual techniques to improve circulation, and overall well-being. These techniques include applying gentle pressure, stretching and resistance.
Many people think that osteopathy is the same thing as chiropractic care. However, there are many differences that can make one a better option depending on your needs. Be sure to speak to your physician to assess which form of therapy is better suited for you!
Some individuals would say that OMT, also known as osteopathic manipulative therapy, is comparable to a “healing touch.” Those who turn to this form of therapy are usually looking for a more holistic approach to not only addressing medical conditions they already suffer from, but also attempting to prevent them.
OMT can help with preventing the recurrence of injuries and addressing digestive issues, chronic muscular pains, headaches/migraines, insomnia, carpal tunnel syndrome, problems with motor control, kidney disease and many other ailments. Depending on the illness, osteopathy may be able to replace medication. For example, sufferers of insomnia who need to take sleeping aids may be able to replace them with osteopathic care.
Osteopathy is also great for relaxation. Like taking the time to get a massage at a spa, having a session with an osteopath allows you to focus on yourself, on your body, and in turn, your mental health.
Osteopathy a great option for senior citizens as well. Age is obviously a factor when it comes to musculoskeletal changes, and osteopathy can help improve their functional abilities for daily activities.
In one study done by Kendi Hesel, DO, PhD, a random controlled trial included 29 elderly patients who experienced shoulder pain that caused either chronic pain, decreased range of motion (ROM) or decreased functional ability. Those who were treated with a form of OMT showed continued improvement in ROM.
Overall, while any therapy or treatment involves risks, if you are curious about trying OMT, consult an osteopath or speak to your physician.
The body is made to heal itself, but sometimes it needs a bit of help from an osteopath.
By Joanna Ahti