History of Osteopathy
Osteopathy was founded, or discovered, by Andrew Taylor Still, an American physician and surgeon who lived in the mid-west of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was disenchanted with the practice of medicine at this time which he believed caused more strife than healing. He was opposed to the use of medication (remember they were using such medications such as morphine and calomel at this time). He saw his family decimated by meningitis and a wife who passed away, in part, from the great stress due to the death of her children. A very curious and active thinker he developed osteopathy as a natural form of medicine based upon the belief that our bodies have their own inherent healing properties and our own nature’s pharmacy. The goal was to help the person harness these self-healing and regulatory properties by removing (mechanical) blockages that affected proper function especially the free flowing of blood and fluids and proper nervous system functioning.
Principles of Osteopathy
Each health care profession has its own perspective in the manner it looks at health, disease and illness. In osteopathy there are four guiding principles. These are:
1. The body is a functional unit. In conventional medicine we have broken down the various systems and organs both for study and treatment. In osteopathy we see the body as an integrated whole. The musculoskeletal system (bones, joints and muscles) work together with the nervous, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems. There is no strict dichotomy. For example, we may have musculoskeletal problems that cause or contribute to digestive problems for example and the reverse may also be true.
2. The body has its own system of autoregulation. Are bodies are built to heal, to fight against invading organisms, to maintain an internal environment within our bodies conducive for health and proper functioning. In osteopathy we try to remove mechanical or other forms of obstruction that impact these natural processes within the body.
3. Structure and function are interrelated. Within the body anatomy and physiology are intimately linked, the anatomical and biomechanical structure allowing for the physiological function to be performed. Physiological function will also have an impact on anatomical structure. This relationship between structure and function is essential as our body is adaptive to what we do and this affects structure and function. Adaptive changes, both good and bad occur throughout our life. We try to maximize the good changes and minimize the bad.
4. The role of the artery is absolute. For all structures in the body to function properly and be healthy and vital they require proper circulation of all the fluids, this for nutrition, waste removal and for the maintenance of the environment for optimal function of normal physiology (or homeostasis).
What is osteopathy?
It is difficult to give an eloquent definition of osteopathy. Here is the found in the World Health Organizations Benchmarks for the Training in Osteopathy.
"Osteopathy (also called osteopathic medicine) relies on manual contact for diagnosis and treatment. It respects the relationship of body, mind and spirit in health and disease; it lays emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body and the body's intrinsic tendency for self-healing.
Osteopathic practitioners use a wide variety of therapeutic manual techniques to improve physiological function and/or support homeostasis that has been altered by somatic (body framework) dysfunction, i.e. impaired or altered function of related components of the somatic system; skeletal, arthrodial and myofascial structures; and related vascular, lymphatic, and neural elements. Osteopathic practitioners use their understanding of the relationship between structure and function to optimize the body’s self-regulating, self-healing capabilities. This holistic approach to patient care and healing is based on the concept that a human being is a dynamic functional unit, in which all parts are interrelated and which possesses its own self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms."
How does Osteopathy work?
In osteopathy we attempt to remove impediments to the natural functioning of the body. Through manual manipulation, education and lifestyle changes we attempt to remove obstructions that impede circulation, nervous system function, or proper system function of the organs and viscera, and proper mechanics of the bones and joints.
Osteopathy is patient centered and not disease or injury centered. As we see the body as an integrated whole, treatment is holistic and will not simply involve local treatment where you may be injured or experiencing problems. It is holistic as we will try to understand why you are injured and address your physical well being knowing that your emotional and mental state is also an important element in your overall health, well being and for healing.
What can be treated with Osteopathy?
A wide variety of injuries and conditions can be treated with osteopathy. René's practice is mainly for musculoskeletal conditions from your nose to your toes such as:
Low back pain
Disk degenerative disease