Osteopathic Manual Therapy is a set of gentle techniques suitable for all ages, infant to elderly. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use their hands to provide specific touch with gentle movements to promote proper function and relieve discomfort in the body.
In Canada, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners complete a rigorous 5-year program of clinical and academic study in osteopathic manipulation. They help people using manual techniques only. They do not use medication, surgery or other medical procedures.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use their hands to provide a gentle and specific application of highly developed touch.
Life is movement
Where there is restriction of movement, there is pain and disease. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of Osteopathy in 1892 used to say “Find it, fix it, leave it alone”. With years of practice, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner possesses a highly developed touch and can feel the slightest movements (around 15 microns) and appreciate the texture of the tissue.
In practice, after the observation and the palpation of the body, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner will base the treatment on the following four principles
- The body is a functional unit. An integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit (“Man is Triune” – A.T. Still). Current engineers would talk of a tensegrity model (Buckminster Fuller). It means, for example, that the spine must not be considered as a pile of vertebra, but as the mast of a sailing boat held by the ropes i.e. ligaments, tendons, muscles and fascia. More recent discoveries show that the fascia web integrates and harmonizes the behaviour of the various components throughout the human body.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated. For example, when you have a lot of muscle (the structure), you can lift big weights (the function), but if you keep lifting weight (the function), you gain muscles and change your body structure.
- The law of the artery is supreme. As A. T. Still said: Life is movement. Therefore the body must be relaxed to ensure optimal functioning of the muscles, organs and viscera.
- The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, having the inherent capacity to defend, repair, and remodel itself. So if we work using the first three rules, the body will cure itself from diseases like viral and bacterial attacks. (However we will never prevent you from taking medication).