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Osteopathic Manual Therapy Meaning, Benefits and More

Osteopathic Manual Therapy Meaning, Benefits and More 


Osteopathic therapy is a major part of physiotherapy and is unlike other forms of treatment. Osteopathy manual therapy was invented by Andrew Taylor Still, a physician, surgeon, and author in the 19th century.

Osteopathy uses hands instead of machines and focuses on treating patients rather than diseases. The parts of all bodies are interrelated and dependent on one another, therefore, the functioning of every part is necessary.

This blog discusses the benefits of osteopathy treatment, the after effects of osteopathy treatment, and everything that you need to know.

Meaning of Osteopathic Therapy

Osteopathy is a unique and holistic therapy that approaches your body as a whole while treating you. The osteopath focuses on your health and wellbeing instead of just one problem. Osteopathy is about finding out if the body is healthy and is performing just as it is presumed to be. The osteopath experts know how a healthy body should function. This helps them figure out what’s the underlying problem with your body.

Osteopathy considers joints, spine, and muscles during the treatment. The physician uses their hands for diagnosis. The osteopath takes on manual hands-on techniques to improve the functioning of biomechanics and circulation without even using any drugs.

Treating ailments and conditions using these techniques is called Osteopathic Manual Therapy. Osteopaths are trained professionals just like any other therapy expert. Depending on your case osteopaths often time suggests medicines, surgery, and other therapy treatments to enhance this holistic approach.

Benefits of Osteopathy Treatment

Helps Reduce Pain


Back pain is not something you’d like to experience in your lifetime. It can cause you terrible pain, limit your functionality, and may interfere with your daily life. In Canada alone, 4 out of 5 adults will experience back pain once in their life, regardless of gender.

Carrying extra weight, overuse, sprain, the strain of muscles, ligaments or joints, osteoarthritis, etc can cause lower back pain. Osteopathic therapy can not only treat the pain but can prevent it from becoming any worse.

Manipulation techniques also called adjustments are used for pain relief on the neck, lower back, and spine. These gentle manipulation techniques are mostly used on soft tissues and muscles affected by pain. If the therapist suspects any serious damage he may suggest some tests to determine the exact condition.

The treatment may involve stretching exercises, changes in lifestyle, posture correction, and more which can help you avoid and reduce the injury.

Can Improve Sleep Quality


Lack of sleep can be a result of one of many chronic conditions. Usually, discomfort and pain caused restlessness at night. Inadequate sleep directly affects your health and your ability to work efficiently.

This makes it problematic for your body to resist pain. On the other hand, osteopathy has shown impressive results in reducing sleeplessness and insomnia caused by chronic pain.

It is believed that hands-on manipulations can improve sleep quality in a number of ways. By promoting muscle relaxation., reducing pain, tension, and headache that may interrupt sleep.

Normalizes Breathing & Respiratory Functions


Osteopathy therapy is an effective treatment option for various respiratory conditions, inflammation of the lungs, and even illnesses such as pneumonia.

Osteopathy manual therapy reduces your medical bill as it is a cost-effective alternative to other expensive and risky treatments. It also reduces your stay at the hospital, lowering the incidence of respiratory complications.

Osteopathy makes use of some of the most specific techniques to address respiratory problems. Rib Raising, Thoracic Pumping, Muscle Energy work, etc are some of those techniques. These allow the physician to improve overall respiratory function by reducing inflammation, improving the immune system, and increasing the lymphatic flow.

May Complement or Replace Certain Medications

Benefits_of_Osteopathy_Replace_Certain Medications

The benefits of osteopathy manual therapy vary from person to person. Some may discover that osteopathic therapy completely replaces their drugs or medications others may experience it as a complementary treatment.

In some cases, osteopathy therapy can be super effective while in others less. Osteopathy can help replace sleep aids medicines, pain killers, antacids used for digestive issues or heartburn, Statins for treating heart conditions, antibiotics, and more.

Osteopathy Eases Pregnancy


During pregnancy, your body goes through several changes that can have a major impact on your long-term health. Despite the number of therapies available, only a few are recommended at the time of pregnancy. Osteopathy is one such therapy that is suitable during and after pregnancy.

During pregnancy, osteopathy therapy can reduce back, pelvis, neck, and shoulder pain. Moreover, it can also normalize breathing patterns, regulate the digestive system, and reduce heartburn, vomiting, and nausea!

After pregnancy you may notice that your body is not the same, it has gone through some changes. You need your body to function normally and osteopathy might be the answer to it. As osteopathy can assist in the following things:

  • Reducing back pain
  • Promoting recovery post-C-sections
  • Restoration and functioning of the pelvic floor

Also Read:  Osteopathy All You Need to Know

How it is performed?


During your first osteopathy therapy appointment, you’ll be inquired about your general health, symptoms, and any other medical condition as well as the treatment you’re going through. All this information will help the osteopath to determine your case and take the treatment steps accordingly.

The osteopath will be using their hands to locate the areas of weakness, restriction, strain, and tenderness. Of course, with your consent, the osteopath may ask you to remove some of your clothing from the area that is being examined. After that, you’ll be asked to carry out simple movements.

A trained osteopath will be able to determine your ailments and may suggest MRI scans and other such tests clarify your case. By the end, you’ll have a discussion with the therapist where he will address your symptoms, injury, and the possibility as well the suitability of using osteopathy manipulation therapy as a treatment for you.

Osteopathic therapy techniques


A combination of proven techniques is used by the osteopath based on your symptoms and injury. Osteopath uses their hands to restore functionality and help your body heal by itself.

The techniques include:

  • Stiff joints stretching
  • Massage
  • Articulation
  • High velocity thrusts short

Osteopathy is not painful except for some rare cases, it is also unusual to feel soreness or stiffness for the first few days following the treatment. Your osteopath will inform you about any effects of the therapy beforehand. In case you feel pain or experience any other symptoms that you believe shouldn’t be present then it is recommended that you inform your osteopath. He may suggest you some self-exercises to assist you.

Is it safe?


For the most part, Osteopathy is an incredibly safe treatment. But you may experience mild side effects such as minor pain in the treated area, fatigue, and headache. These side effects usually go away on their own after1-2 days.

Only in some severe cases, do the after effects of osteopathy treatment results in stroke, disability, and so on. Your osteopath should explain to you the risks and benefits associated with osteopathy manual therapy beforehand.

In the UK and other nations, Osteopaths are regulated and registered with their respective bodies and have to meet certain standards to continue practicing Osteopathy.

While in Canada the practice of Osteopathy is not yet recognized as a regulated health profession. Although, clinical training, as well as education for becoming an osteopath, is available in Canada.

When to avoid osteopath therapy?


Osteopathic treatment is not meant for everybody, it can be suitable for only those who require it. People with certain health conditions are at risk of sustaining further damage to their spine, bones, ligaments, joints, nerves, or other body parts. They may not be able to have osteopathy as the treatment option.

Such conditions are:

  • Fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Arthritis and such acute inflammatory conditions
  • Blood clotting

You might also wanna avoid Osteopathy if you’re on blood-thinning medicines or having radiotherapy.

Osteopaths are professionally trained and are able to make accurate judgments to conclude whether you’re appropriate for treatment or not. It is safe to seek osteopathic manual therapy during pregnancy, although getting a piece of advice from your OB doctor is essential.

Final Thoughts


Osteopathic manual therapy is described as healing touch. This technique enables our body to heal itself, without the consumption of any medicines or surgery.

The benefits of an osteopathy treatment are several such as improved sleep quality, breathing, pain relief, help during pregnancy, and much more.

Learn more about osteopathic therapy at Innova Physio & Sports Rehab, and how our treatment can help you live a painless life!

Book an appointment now!


Author - Denish Tamakuwala

Denish Tamakuwala is a Physiotherapist and Clinic Director at Innova Physio. He is a Registered Physiotherapist with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science. He obtained a Diploma degree (honours) in Fitness & Health Promotion from Humber College. He possesses extensive knowledge and practical experience in therapy and rehabilitation treatment. Apart from assisting his patients through physiotherapy, he loves to compose informational articles to educate the mass.