Osteopathy is a gentle, hands-on treatment for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. It improves the body’s function, flexibility and mobility and helps restore balance to the musculoskeletal system. It is also known to positively impact the autonomic nervous system.
Osteopaths are trained to diagnose and treat using a number of techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance. These are known as osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). They use these skills to assess the whole body and its interconnectedness and are able to identify when it is necessary to refer for medical attention or when osteopathic treatment will not be effective.
There are different osteopathic treatment techniques to achieve various effects, for example visceral manipulation involves massaging the abdomen to relieve tension in the organs (viscera), myofascial release eases pain and stiffness in damaged fascia and cranial osteopathy uses various treatment modalities that improve primary respiration, cerebrospinal fluid flow, somatic dysfunction and parasympathetic regulation of the central nervous system [2,3].
Many people experience significant improvement to their health and wellbeing following osteopathic treatment. This may include reduced pain, improved sleeping patterns and energy levels, a greater sense of wellbeing and less frequent or severe flare ups of chronic conditions. Osteopaths are regulated by the General Osteopathic Council and patients are normally referred to them by their GP or local integrated care board. Private health insurance often covers osteopathic treatment sessions. For more information about finding a registered osteopath see the GOsC website.