What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Treatment usually involves a number of osteopathic manual therapy techniques, the choice of which to use depends on you the and the condition being treated. Although principally known for treating back and neck pain, osteopathy can also very be very effective for many other physical conditions such as headaches, shoulder and knee dysfunctions, muscular pain and other joint pain.
How does Osteopathy work?
The principal aim of osteopathic treatment is that it enables the body to return to a state where it can move without restriction or pain. Gentle manual therapeutic techniques gradually increase range of movement (ROM), taking the body comfortably into restricted positions and movements. I find that reassurance forms a part of many treatment sessions: both the verbal reassurance to the patient (e.g. that your pain will improve), but also the physical reassurance that your body can still safely move without discomfort.
Treatment also aims to improve quality of movement (QOM), the ease and fluidity of movement, best achieved through controlled repetitive movements or exercises. Osteopathic treatment sometimes also involves removing barriers or restrictions to movement, for example improving posture by lengthening or relaxing a muscle elsewhere in the body.
More information about Osteopathy
There’s a good, balanced description of Osteopathy here on the NHS website. The information is based largely on guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
There is also some more information on the Institute of Osteopathy (iO) website. The iO a membership organisation for osteopaths — I am a member myself.
The General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) is the regulatory body for all UK osteopaths. Anyone practising as an osteopath in the United Kingdom must be registered with the GOsC. As well as lots more info about osteopathy, their website also gives details of how osteopathy is regulated in the UK, the standards that we must all work to, the training we must undertake, and a list of all registered UK osteopaths.