What is Osteopathy?

(Priscilla Chellaram)

The practice of osteopathy began in the United States in 1874. The term "osteopathy" was coined by Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO. Still was a physician and surgeon, Kansas state and territorial legislator, a free state leader, and one of the founders of Baker University, who lived near Baldwin City, Kansas at the time of the American Civil War

Osteopathy is a philosophy and an alternative medical practice which emphasizes the interrelationship between structure and function of the body and recognizes the body's ability to heal itself; it is the role of the osteopath to facilitate that process, principally by the skilled practice of manual and manipulative therapy

If one were to look up the meaning, they would probably come across the following definition:

“A therapeutic system which treats disease by manipulation and massage.”

But osteopathy is not just a form of manipulation and clicking bones “back into place”. This science looks after the workings of the body as a single and very complex organism, rather than as a collection of components. It takes into account not only the physical aspects of the problem, but also the patient’s lifestyle and attitudes, and his/her overall wellbeing (health).

Thus the concept behind this system of healthcare is one of Holism, (from the Greek  holos ), meaning whole.

The osteopath always aims to treat the cause and not the effect of the problem, and by improving the function of the body he /she aims to reduce the pain.

Conditions which osteopaths are known to treat are NOT only those related to muscular, joint and postural disorders, but include the treatment of headaches, migraines, period pains, expectant mothers and some infants and children’s disorders.

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