Please read over the following frequently asked questions to give you a better understanding of what Classical Osteopathy is all about. If there are any questions you may have that are not listed, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
Classical Osteopathy is defined as a holistic, traditional, and drug-free manual medicine. Founded in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, it is widely considered as the first form of scientific-based manual therapy. Osteopathic treatments are gentle, hands-on and effective in treating many symptoms the body may be experiencing. Osteopathic application is guided by palpation skills and Osteopathic assessment of joints, muscles, etc. The goal of the practitioner is to determine the underlying cause(s) of symptoms and to assist in restoring the natural healing capabilities of the body.
Osteopathic practitioners are trained to use their knowledge and understanding of anatomy and physiology. They are looking for the cause of your pain, rather than chasing the pain. The treatments are not time-based, they are based on what your body’s needs are at that time.
- Anatomy (structure) and Physiology (function) are interconnected.
- The body has an innate self-healing and self-regulating mechanism.
- The body, mind, and spirit are one unit of function.
- Treatment must be based on the above principles.
Some of the benefits of Osteopathic treatments include: increased circulation, better alignment and posture, better quality of motion in joints and muscles, reduced pain in muscles and joints, increase speed of healing and recovery from trauma such as surgery, colds, flu, accidents and falls. Many patients report better sleep, more energy and fewer aches and pains.
Osteopathy assists the body to self-heal and self-regulate by removing mechanical restrictions found in joints, muscles, ligaments, visceral organs or fascia. The releasing or removing of restrictions, allows the life force (blood) to oxygenate cells more freely, thereby nourishing the body on a cellular level. The flow of fluids in the body is a key part of Osteopathic treatment, because our body is made up of about 70-80% fluid. When blood is flowing like a river in our arteries, with the least amount of obstruction, our body’s own internal healing mechanisms get a jump start! Not only do we get better blood circulation, but our lymphatic system begins to replenish itself much easier and faster, and our nervous system relays information more efficiently.
People who receive Osteopathic treatment are more likely to sleep better, eat better (have better quality of motion) and get rid of toxic build up in the digestive and respiratory tracts. Osteopathy is a gentle but effective way to release the health in your body.
Asthma, Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder), Migraines, Herniated Disks, Gastrointestinal Dysfunctions, Arthritis, Postural Conditions, Pre-natal/Post-natal Care, Nerve Entrapments (Carpal Tunnel, Sciatica, etc.), Sinus blockages, Bursitis, Edema, Palliative care, Pre/Post-Surgery care, Sprains/Strains, Sports injuries, Joint dysfunctions, Degenerative Diseases, Circulation, symptoms arising from colds/flus/infections, children’s issues (constipation, sleeping disturbances, rashes, allergies, ear infections, colic, etc.), geriatrics, and much more.
Osteopathic care is not based on protocols, it is based on what is appropriate for that certain patient and that particular time. There is no “one-size-fits-all” type of reasoning for treatment. Each case is different no matter what the symptoms may appear to be. Osteopathic principles are based upon working to re-balance the entire structure of the human frame, whether is it muscular, tendons, joints, boney structure, visceral (organs) or fluid mechanics (blood, lymph, cerebrospinal fluid).
Osteopathic assessment and treatment is not particularly based on where the patient is feeling the pain, it is typically determined that the causative factors are elsewhere in the body. It is noted that Osteopathic practitioners do not chase pain, rather we are looking for health in the person.
Osteopathy focuses on the usage of manual manipulation of tissues. Classical Osteopathy refrains from using external devices or machines for making change in the body. Heat, ice, lasers, TENS machines, and the like, are not a part of Osteopathic treatments, although some practitioners may opt to use them. Unlike Physiotherapy, Osteopathic practitioners typically do not give a tremendous amount of exercises for the patient to do right away. The patient is first treated so that the musculoskeletal system is re-integrated with the changes being made, then the Osteopathic practitioner may offer some light stretches/strengthening exercises to complement their body in the process. Too much interference with exercise in the beginning of treatment time may slow down the healing process for the patient.
Osteopathy is based on treating the whole body as a unit of function, through its structure and function correlation. The focus is not just the spine or the joints, it is all encompassing and unites the muscular, skeletal, ligamentous, visceral, neurovascular and lymphatic parts of the body. Osteopathy is a gentle, yet effective way of finding root causes of ailments. Classical Osteopathic manual practitioners are trained to search for mechanical deviations in the body (whether it is a joint, muscle, or an organ) and work diligently to provide the body with a free passage to heal itself over time. Osteopathy does not use aggressive techniques in order to make adjustments in the body. The techniques used in Osteopathy are relaxing, gentle, effective and conducive to the healing process. There are no “quick-fixes” or “magic tricks” in treatment, it is a science-based treatment which allows the body to kick-start self-regulating mechanisms that are already built into all of us.
Osteopathic treatment is about re-connecting and re-balancing all parts of the body’s systems. Treatment is not pain-focused, rather it is health-focused.
Osteopathic Physicians are trained in the United States and are fully-licensed medical physicians, they are able to prescribe drugs, practice surgery and work in obstetrics. They have the protected title of “Doctor of Osteopathy” or “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine”, unless you have been fully trained and passed all requirements in the U.S., these titles cannot be used.
Manual Osteopathic Practitioners are specifically trained for a number of years to treat using palpation. They are not licensed to prescribe drugs, practice surgery or work in obstetrics. Manual Osteopathy is regarded by many to be true Osteopathy, as founded by Dr. Still in 1874. The use of gentle manipulations to free blood flow and nerve flow to all areas of the body is the rational goal of the practitioner.
Classical Osteopathy encompasses vital fundamental concepts and philosophy in treatment. Understanding and utilization of anatomy and physiology is the key force behind rational Osteopathic assessment and treatment. Eclectic Osteopathy made its way through Europe and Canada after various manual therapy practitioners became interested in adding Osteopathic techniques to their tool-belt. Eclectic Osteopathy is taught via memorized techniques for various parts of the body for certain ailments. For example, practitioner does “x” for “x” symptom. Classical Osteopathy relies heavily on understanding anatomical relationships to physiological responses and tries to figure out why the patient is having “x” symptom and treats each patient accordingly. There are least amount of protocol-based treatments for Classical Osteopathy practitioners, making each treatment unique to that patient at that exact time of treatment. No two treatments are the same, because the body changes day by day, even minute by minute.
Some Osteopathic practitioners have been known to be against surgery and drugs, but that is not realistic. Allopathic medical intervention is sometimes needed and warranted. For example, if you have an infectious disease, a broken bone, angina, or gall bladder attack, the first line of defence will obviously be a trip to the Medical Doctor or Hospital. The aim of Osteopathic care is to reduce the dependence on over-the-counter or prescribed medication and unnecessary surgeries. Osteopathic practitioners work to achieve the most optimal health for the patient without overlooking safety of the patient.
Although Osteopathy is currently not a regulated profession in Canada, the Ontario Osteopathic Association has built a rigorous platform from which all students and practitioners are held to the highest of standards. The OOA works diligently to provide its members and the public with the utmost leading research and practice of Classical Osteopathy. The OOA provides a steady and complete education of over 4000 hours of practical experience. It is important for the patients to make sure the practitioner of their choice is duly certified and has a membership with a qualifying governing body such as the OOA (Ontario Osteopathic Association) in good standing.
All members of the Ontario Osteopathic Association are currently covered with all major Insurance Companies. Only graduates of the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy are members of the OOA. Please verify with your practitioner which Association they are a member of and if they are covered for Osteopathic services provided.
Your qualified Osteopathic practitioner will take an initial health history, which includes a form you must fill out. If there are any health changes, such as changes in medication or new imaging done, you should always let your practitioner know before your next treatment. Before beginning any assessment or treatment, your practitioner should make sure all areas of past and current health issues have been discussed and all questions have been answered. After the assessment and osteopathic structural diagnosis (OSD) has been established, your Osteopathic manual practitioner will proceed to a safe treatment plan.
For your treatments, it is ideal to wear comfortable, stretchy clothing which cannot restrict movements that the practitioner may need to do during treatment, yoga/athletic wear which is loose-fitting is a good idea. It is also best to avoid heavy meals and caffeine, at least, one hour prior to coming in for treatment, if you have longer hair, please tie it back and avoid wearing heavy/bulky jewelry, as it is often asked to be taken off (removed) during treatment.
Finally, please keep an open mind, each practitioner has their own unique style of treatment, while staying true to the fundamental principles of Classical Osteopathy. Always convey an open dialogue with your OMT provider and enjoy getting better quality of health!
Classical Osteopathy practitioners are trained in all aspects of the human body. For each patient, whatever their individual symptoms are, they are treated accordingly. In short, a well rounded practitioner will treat the viscera (organs), cranium, joints, spine, muscles, etc. as needed. Techniques are useless if a practitoner does not utilize them in a safe and practical manner.
“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”
– author unknown