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What’s an Osteopath?

I thought I knew what an osteopath was.  Someone asked me whether I’d been to one for my hip thing and I said yes!

Then I read an article and I realised I didn’t know what an osteopath was.  And I hadn’t been to one either.

What I have been to is a kinesiologist who “switched the muscles on”, a masseuse who realigned my hips, a chiropractor who helped me with exercises and range of movement, and a specialist who told me I needed a hip replacement, but not an osteopath.

I thought you might not know about osteopaths, or you might think you did – and I’m very impressed by what it sounds like they do.  I have to say I haven’t been to one because what I need is new cartilage, and they don’t provide that.

The 4 principles of osteopathy are:

1.  Each structure in the body supports body’s functions.  If a structure is damaged, out of place or otherwise not working properly, the body will not function as its best.

2.  The natural flow of the body’s fluids – lymphatic, vascular and neurological – must be preserved and maintained.

3.  The human body is the sum of its parts.  Its physical, emotional, social, spiritual and cognitive systems don’t work independently – they work in harmony.

4.  When the body has no restrictions, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.

(from: Alive magazine, Autumn 2011)

I particularly agree with this last point.  I believe wholeheartedly that the body can heal itself.  I even believe I can grow new cartilage, and I intend to be the first one to do it!

I think I was confused about whether I’d been to an osteopath or not because they sound a bit like a chiropractor and in fact have some similar philosophies and practices.  As well as the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and muscles (which chiropractic focuses on), osteopathy also takes account of functional tissue such as the innter organs, blood vessels, brain membrane and tissues  and nerve tissue and membranes – as well as the nerves themselves..

Osteopathy also focuses on the root cause of whatever the patient presents with rather than simply treating the symptoms.  And like homoeopathy, osteopathy recognises that things are interconnected – for instance people with asthma also often present with bowel problems because the origin of both can be in the mucosa.

So, osteopathy can treat a whole range of things – irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, anxiety, asthma and more.  Unfortunately for me it doesn’t seem to encompass regrowing bits – in my case cartilage.

There is an Australian Osteopathic Association; this quote is from its website:

Osteopathy is not an alternative health option – osteopaths are university trained, government registered, allied health professionals. Currently an osteopath undertakes a 5-year, University Masters degree to achieve registration in Australia.”

The website will also help you find an osteopath if you’d like to try it out.

if you do, let me know about your experience and results.

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