Osteopathy is an alternative therapy that is more popular every day. In Britain, osteopaths have official training centers and a law that regulates their practice. In Spain, specialized university courses are offered for Physiotherapy graduates, nurses and doctors who want to expand their knowledge.
Osteopathy and its history
The origins of osteopathy date back to the late 19th century. The person who gave it its name – osteopathy means “healing through bone” – and laid down its theoretical basis was Andrew Taylor Sti-11 (1828-1928), a doctor disillusioned with extremely toxic drugs and the speedy and cruel surgery that it was styled then.
His religious convictions made him think that God must have endowed the human being with a system to heal itself, as indicated by the capacity for wounds to be closed or fractured bones to be welded again, and that the mission of the doctor was to understand and stimulate it.
This conviction led him to study the human body with a pioneer’s eye. It started with the bones, thinking that the skeletal system that kept the body on its feet and allowed it to move had to have a decisive influence on health and illness.
This idea was combined with the empirical deduction that the blood circulation, “the river of life”, should be responsible for transporting the necessary agents for healing to all corners of the body.
How osteopathy is a natural remedy
Osteopaths can successfully treat a wide variety of problems, not just those that clearly affect the musculoskeletal system.
A remedy for herniated disc The osteopath can make a more precise diagnosis about the origin of lumbar discomfort, apply a treatment and avoid the operating room.
The remedy for low back pain. Osteopathy is effective in cases where other treatments have not achieved anything. Also, avoid the use of medications with side effects
The remedy for asthma. Osteopathic manipulations can be helpful when there are certain alterations around the second thoracic vertebra.
The remedy for arthritis. In the early stages, it is sometimes possible to stop and even reverse the initial damage to the soft tissues. In advanced cases, you get relief from constipation discomfort. When it is a consequence of a spastic or contracted intestine, osteopathic treatment helps to normalize its function with the collaboration of a diet rich in fiber.
The remedy for headaches and migraines. The treatment reduces the Intensity and the frequency of the pains.
A remedy for heart diseases. The improvement of mobility at the level of the thorax after treatment reinforces the cardiac function.
The remedy for menstrual problems. Osteopathic manipulations in the lumbosacral area achieve spectacular improvements in menstrual function.
A remedy for infant neuromotor deficits. The Osteopathic Center for Children of La Jolla (United States) specializes in dyslexia and behavioral disorders, which can often be rooted in a traumatic gestation or birth.
Remedy for infantile cramps. They also find a solution. It may be wise to treat all babies preventatively to help them overcome the birth traumas.
Remedy for injuries. Stiffness or welded but painful fractures improve rapidly and the possibility of a relapse is reduced.
Osteopathy and its treatment
The osteopath will observe first the upright position of a person, his movement and how his back is when sitting. He also checks the muscle tone, how he breathes and, through gentle palpations, he will look for rigidities, muscle tensions or skin spots. This specialist will ask questions about the person’s lifestyle and eating habits.
Once the diagnosis is established, the osteopath uses certain treatment techniques (such as those described below) over three to six sessions lasting about 45 minutes and separated by two or three weeks.
Characteristic of osteopathy is the neuromuscular technique, which consists of manipulations on the soft tissues, that is, the skin, muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and fascias. All these elements are added to the bones to form the structure of the body, whose good condition depends on the organs and other systems can function properly. The soft tissue massage can be superficial or deep, slow or fast, depending on what the therapist is finding.
The objective is to undo the muscular tensions and stimulate the blood circulation, so that the communication of the affected parts with the corporal whole is recovered.
The osteopaths also practice a visceral manipulation with which they try to favor the good functioning of the internal organs by means of the restoration of the correct flow of fluids. Thus, they can treat digestive or gynecological diseases that do not seem related to the musculoskeletal system.
In the treatment, techniques for the joints are also applied in order to increase the flexibility of the muscles and the rest of soft tissues. They are movements guided by the therapist and that are rhythmic, relaxing and generally comforting.
In this part of the treatment, stretches and pulls are applied. The former relax the muscle fibers and stretch the ligaments. The second ones gently separate the contact surfaces, loosening the joint capsules.
Another group of techniques are included within the “muscle energy” category. Developed some 20 years ago, they are used to increase the movement capacity of a certain joint. The patient has to flex a joint in a certain direction and stop at the moment he perceives a difficulty. Then it moves in the opposite direction while the therapist’s hands exert resistance. This simple technique improves the functioning of all the muscles involved in flexion.
Stretching To normalize the movement capacity of the joint.
Soft tissue massage It consists of applying gentle pressure on the affected areas. Acts on muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascias.
“Fast action” This action of high speed and great amplitude implies a very precise application of forces to correct joint dysfunction. This is achieved by rotating, flexing and adjusting the column.
Visceral massage The therapist tries to reposition the organs and improve the flows that relate them to the rest of the body.
“Leverage” It is used to bring bones to their correct anatomical position.
“Lumbar adjustment” The affected part is carefully positioned-nothing at the proper angle to correct an alteration. The position is maintained until a reflex spasm occurs.
“Cranial adjustment” The therapist performs gentle movements and swings that favor the establishment of an optimal cerebrospinal rhythm.