The History of OsteopathyThe 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 OsteopathyDuring 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
- Visceral: (See below for more details). Used to allow internal organs and associated structures to relax, increase their own function and the function of the musculoskeletal system that they are connected to
The functioning of the internal organs, or viscera, is intricately linked to the functioning of the body as a whole (in the same way that all other systems are). Normal structure of the organs, their blood supply, nerve supply and drainage, is essential for healthy function, whatever that might be.
For example, the uterus needs a huge and uninterrupted supply of blood, good nervous innervation and great drainage to function well. Interruptions in the form of scar tissue or tethering to any of these will cause dysfunction, and ultimately disease, in the form of painful periods (dysmenorrhoea), infertility, endometriosis and other conditions. Physical treatment proven to be effective and is a logical way of helping restore normal function.
Other abdominal complaints such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, hiatus hernia, indigestion, reflux, ulcers, asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease, pelvic congestive conditions and cardiac conditions all benefit from having osteopathic treatment to improve blood and nerve supply and drainage.
An organ free from restriction is a healthy organ, free to function fully.
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
What we offer and whereOur 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, while in London, our primary interest is helping the local domestic and business community in Holborn, Chancery Lane and Russell Square.