The History of Osteopathy

The name osteopathy stems from the Latin 'osteon' for 'Structure' (often perceived as 'bone') 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.

The name was chosen by the founder of osteopathy, Dr Andrew Taylor Still, to recognise the importance of a healthy structure in the body's functioning and its wellness in general.

Dr John Martin Littlejohn, one of Still's original students, took osteopathy to Europe in 1917. He founded the British School of Osteopathy in London which was subsequently joined by the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy and the European School of Osteopathy in Kent.

Today Osteopathy is well established in the UK and is an important, integrated part of the medical system. "The Osteopathic Act", 1993, ensures British osteopaths the equivalent status as doctors of medicine or dentists and enforces the relevant public safety guidelines, making Osteopathy the first complementary healthcare profession to be accorded statutory recognition.


What do Osteopaths do?

Osteopaths work with their hands. This allows them to tailor each treatment personally to the patient, as they constantly monitor changes in the tissues. Osteopaths treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. Using a specially developed sense of touch they investigate and identify the problem areas throughout the body and then select the treatment technique most appropriate to the individual, to encourage and help the body to return to its normal efficient function.

Osteopaths have undergone an extensive four or five year degree course covering anatomy, physiology and pathology of the human body. This enables them to evaluate the best course of action and whether osteopathic treatment is suitable for you.


Understanding Osteopathy

During the course of the treatments, osteopaths can call upon probably the largest selection of techniques of all manual therapies.

The following is not a complete list of all osteopathic techniques but should highlight the varied approaches available from a trained osteopath.

  • Articulation: Joints and structures being moved passively through their range of movements
  • Soft tissue techniques: Muscular and specific massage applications
  • Postural assessments: Assessing standing, seated and dynamic postures
  • Gentle manipulations: Used where it is appropriate and safe to do so, though it is not the mainstay of osteopathic treatments. Osteopathic manipulations are carried out using minimum force in order to maximise patient comfort
  • Exercises & stretching: Individual regimes are built up, not to take over your life, but to help restore it
  • Strain and counter-strain: Releasing restrictions by placing the affected tissue in a position of comfort or ease, while applying a "Counter" stretch to the antagonist muscle
  • Muscle energy: Muscles are helped to relax by alternating specific resistance and relaxation
  • Functional: Gentle movement of tissues in a way which relaxes barriers to normal movement

The techniques employed are non-invasive ones that work with the body, not against it. They should not be painful and will encourage the body to treat and heal itself.

Daily Mail article from Ryan Giggs autobiography endorsing Osteopathy

"I've always been quite an organised person, particularly since turning 30, which has been a big help in prolonging my career. The only injury trouble I've had so far have been with my hamstrings, and I decided I needed to do everything I could to stop getting problems. I took up yoga six years ago - no alcohol, practising yoga, seeing an osteopath and having acupuncture have all become part of my routine"


What we offer and where

Our clinics in Cambridgeshire and London offer Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Naturopathy, Trigger Point Therapy, Sports Injury and Deep Tissue Massage treatments for an extensive range of conditions.

Our Sawtry clinic covers a wide area from Peterborough to Huntingdon and St. Neots, while at the Steeple Morden clinic we receive patients from Baldock and Royston, plus Ashwell and all over North Herts.

From Deeping St James, our most rural clinic attracts patients from Stamford, Spalding and Peterborough.