There are a wide range of patients that are treated by osteopaths. Osteopathy is a manual therapy that was established in the late 19th century.
What is osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a complementary medical therapy in which the therapist gently touches and shifts tissue with his hands and thus restores disturbed body functions. The term “osteopathy” was given by its founder, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still coined in the late 19th century and can be translated as “suffering of the bones” or “suffering caused by bones”. Today we know that not only bones, but also all other tissue structures in osteopathy are important for healthy body function. As a medicine, osteopathy can be practiced in Germany by doctors and non-medical practitioners, in some cases also by physiotherapists.
Three principles of osteopathy
The three main principles that determine osteopathy are:
- The human being is a unity of body, mind and soul. The osteopath always treats the whole person and includes both the physical and mental state of the patient in the treatment.
- The body has self-healing powers and knows how to keep itself healthy. The osteopathic therapy dissolves tension, blockages and imbalances in the body so that the own healing powers can work again unhindered.
- The tissue structures of the body are inextricably linked in form and function. Numerous different structures form the body. This includes bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, skin, connective tissue and organs. You can only feel healthy and free of symptoms when these are intact and connected to one another in a flexible manner.
Classification of osteopathy: parietal, visceral and cranial
Osteopathy has developed steadily since its inception. According to the three anatomical sub-areas in osteopathy, medicine can be divided into three areas: Parietal osteopathy deals with the supporting structures such as bones, muscles, connective tissue, etc., while visceral osteopathy targets the internal organs and their connective tissue suspensions. Cranial osteopathy influences the system of skull, brain, nervous system, cerebral and spinal fluid and sacrum.
Where can osteopathy help?
Evidence-based statements on the effectiveness of osteopathy cannot be made, but there are numerous positive reports and individual experiences. Manual therapy can be used for headaches , migraines , back pain and chronic joint diseases. Noises in the ears, sudden hearing loss, indigestion, prostate ailments and sexual dysfunction are also areas of application. In addition, there are nervous restlessness and sleep disorders, hormone fluctuations, circulatory problems and bladder weakness .
Limits of Osteopathy
In all emergencies and acute, serious illnesses, osteopathy cannot do anything at first. So serious injuries, accidents, acute inflammations, infections, psychiatric disorders and cancers are treated appropriately by conventional medicine. In the further course, however, an osteopathic concomitant therapy can be quite helpful.
This article is for general information only, not for self-diagnosis, and is not a substitute for a doctor’s visit.