What is an Osteopath?

In Australia, Osteopaths are government registered practitioners, who have studied a five year full-time university course, which entails anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, pathology and general medical diagnosis in addition to the study of Osteopathic techniques. Osteopaths are trained to be able to recognize conditions which require medical referral and are also trained to carry out standard medical examinations of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of health care that focuses on the treatment of the physical body, the joints, muscles and connective tissues with ‘hands on’ techniques, such as soft tissue massage, pressure point techniques, stretching and joint manipulation.

It originated in 1872 with Dr Andrew Taylor Still, a Physician who believed the body was created as a perfect, harmonious whole and contained the basics necessary for its own healing.  He developed Osteopathy as a system for stimulating the immune system naturally.  The principles he founded Osteopathy on are as follows:

  1. The Body is a Unit
    The body is made up of many different systems that all work together in order to achieve optimal function. Osteopaths believe that a problem in one area of the body affects other musculoskeletal regions and/or other body systems.
  2. Structure and Function are Inter-related
    Osteopaths strongly believe in the relationship between body structure and its ability to function. If a body’s structure is sound and balanced, then it can function at an optimal level.
  3. The Somatic Component of Disease
    Osteopaths believe that the musculoskeletal system is an integral part of total body health. For the body to recover completely from injury or disease, problems within the musculoskeletal system must be addressed.
  4. Treatment is based on the first three principles.
    The body has within itself methods for protection, repair and regulation which are necessary for health maintenance and recovery from disease. The role of the Osteopath is to enhance this inherent capacity for health.

Consistent with this philosophy, not only do osteopaths treat the cause of your pain or dysfunction, but also treat the surrounding inter-related areas.  This philosophy and approach is what sets Osteopathy apart.

How Do we Treat

A typical consultation consists of a thorough history and physical examination, followed by treatment. Osteopaths pride themselves on their expertise in using ‘hands on’ techniques.  Our treatment methods for treating a large range of musculoskeletal complaints include: Soft tissue massage and stretching Articulation/Mobilisation Techniques which involves the movement of joints through their ranges of motion in order to restore function. High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust /“Manipulation” Techniques which involves joints being placed in a precise position of stretch and thrust applied to increase the joint range of motion.  This often is accompanied by a “pop” or “click” at the joint. Muscle Energy Technique (MET) in which contracted muscles are released by being placed in a position of stretch and alternatively made to work against resistance. Counter-Strain Techniques in which affected tissues and joints are placed in a position of comfort, whilst applying a ‘counter’ stretch to the antagonists of the tight muscles. Functional Technique which involves gentle mobilisation of joints in a way which "probes" barriers to normal movement until a way is found through the restriction.