Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy reaffirmed the Hippocratic approach to medicine. He believed that the body is a functional unit and should be treated as a whole. The osteopathic approach acknowledges that bodily imbalances lie behind the illness and that only by treating these the body will be free to fight the disease itself.
The name osteopathy stems from the Latin ‘osteon’ for ‘structure’, and ‘pathos’ for ‘passion for’ or ‘suffering or dysfunction of’. Osteopaths are often thought of as ‘bone doctors’, but our speciality or passion is for structure as a whole. Dr. Still was a licensed physician in the frontier of the USA who had always been fascinated by human anatomy and the science of healing. He went on to pursue a life of study and practise in medicine and osteopathy.
What we treat
Osteopathy is fast becoming recognized as one of the most effective and scientifically valid treatments available. Disease and illness of any sort is a physical condition, a bodily reaction to a stressor. At any stage of life, physical freedom is what allows us to function normally, without it, dysfunction occurs in many forms, most commonly, pain.
Every person is assessed in terms of their body and their circumstances. Osteopaths do not treat a disease, they treat the individual. Each pain and illness has many components which are just signals for an underlying body function or dysfunction. Therefore there are very few people, no matter what the symptom, that do not benefit from osteopathic treatment. The treatment might not “cure” some disabilities, like cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome or the more advanced and chronic diseases, such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, but it helps alleviate many of the associated problems.
It may be able to help with aspects such as high muscular tone or control, the function of the bowel and bladder and respiratory disorders. Osteopathy also attends to the general health and well being of an individual.
It is also commonly used for general check-ups and preventative treatment including;
- Sports training and injuries
- General fitness
- Postural, work and home help
- General pain relief
- Repetitive strain
- Back and neck sprain
- Peripheral joint and muscular strains (arms & legs)
- Babies, children and pregnancy
- Headaches and migraines
- Breathing disorders such as asthma
- Jaw, facial pain and dentistry problems
- Ear pain and drainage
- Abdominal complaints (e.g. IBS & endometriosis)
Just as people have a family doctor who may care for children throughout their growth and development, many people have a family osteopath.