What is Osteopathy?

“It depends!” – A phrase I heard far too many times while studying but the longer I work as an osteopath the more true this response becomes!

Osteopathy is a system of investigation, diagnosis and treatment. It is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together. Working with the structure and function of the body is key because for the body to work well, it should function well. Osteopaths use physical manipulation, stretching and massage to:

  • increase joint mobility,
  • relieve muscle tension,
  • enhance the blood and nerve supply,
  • and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms

These treatment aims can have a profound, positive effect on a variety of health conditions.

(GOsC, 2021)

These aims are achieved through a variety of techniques. Osteopaths are famous, or perhaps infamous, for “back cracking” which is a small part of our treatment if we even use it at all! Osteopaths may also use medical acupuncture, taping and exercises alongside the hands-on treatment depending on further training and qualifications.

Types of Osteopathy

There are four main branches of osteopathy:

  • Structural
  • Cranial
  • Visceral
  • Classical

Some osteopaths may incorporate techniques from a selection of these branches or they may have specialised in one area. They may also have specialised in treating a certain group of people, such as the elderly or athletes, or perhaps chosen to focus on a particular condition such as migraines or sport-related injuries. This will usually be highlighted on their website.

What Type of Osteopathy Do We Offer?

Sam works primarily as a structural osteopath with elements of visceral techniques combined with medical acupuncture where appropriate. She has a special interest in working with patients with chronic pain, limited mobility or lower limb injuries but prefers to treat a wide range of patients. Variety is the spice of life, after all! Sam is currently working towards a diploma in instrument assisted soft tissue manipulation (IASTM) and plans to expand her knowledge in the visceral field. She supplements her hands-on treatment with rehab exercise plans generated using quality software, Rehab My Patient, as well as the use of kinesio and sport taping techniques.