Osteopathy – Martha Price
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.
To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.
Osteopathy was founded in the USA by Andrew Taylor Still, in 1874. Still developed a pioneering hands-on treatment approach to deal with the health and mobility problems he found in his patients, based on structural anatomy and physiology.
In the early 1920’s, William Garner Sutherland, a student of Still, took this a step further and developed Cranial Osteopathy. He noted that there was a rhythmic micro-movement in the connective tissues and central nervous system, which in healthy subjects was continuous and even, but became altered or restricted after a trauma or accident, or during times of infection or inflammation. Its this Cranial Rhythm that cranial osteopaths use to treat their patients, and it’s existence was confirmed during a series of laboratory tests in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Today, most osteopaths will have undertaken a 4 year degree, and are required by the GOsC to continue with their studies every year.
What is Osteopathy good for?
An osteopath’s patients range from babies and very young children, through to the more mature members of the population. We also treat manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women and sports people.
People seek treatment for a wide range of conditions, including repetitive strain injuries, pain associated with arthritis, minor sports injuries, postural changes due to pregnancy and postural problems from driving or a work strain.
Babies are often treated for an asymmetrical head (plagiocephaly) and a restriction in their neck (torticollis). This may be due to the position they were lying in before they were born, or to the trauma of birth. They may also present with feeding problems or as fractious, irritable babies.
However, this is by no means an exhaustive list, as patients are assessed on an individual basis, with a full and detailed history of the condition being taken before an examination is carried out. The diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan is then discussed before treating the patient. The osteopath may also follow up with lifestyle advice and exercises. In the case of patients who regularly use a computer and work-station, it may also be appropriate to assess the set-up of their desk. Sitting in the wrong position may be exaggerating the injury!
Is there any evidence that Osteopathy works?
One of the basic principles of osteopathy is that “the body is designed to heal itself”. As osteopaths, we encourage this natural healing process by using a variety of techniques. I treat using a branch of osteopathy know as ‘cranial osteopathy’. These techniques work to adjust the balance of the bones through the skull and spine, then through the connective tissue to the whole body. Any stresses and strains that are present, maybe from a whiplash injury, a fall, childbirth or overuse, may be treated with an almost imperceptible touch, designed to work with the body’s natural cranio-sacral mechanism. Patients are frequently unaware of the changes going on in their body during a treatment. Treatment is incredibly gentle; in fact, most patients are surprised at how good they may feel immediately afterwards.
Where can I learn more about Osteopathy?
Since 1994, all osteopaths in the UK have been regulated by the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC).
Osteopaths are required to renew their registration each year and the GOsC provides registrants with an annual licence to practice. As part of this process, the GOsC checks that osteopaths have current professional indemnity insurance, remain in good health and of good character, and have met mandatory continuing professional development requirements. The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC, which sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety.
For more information, please see the website of the GOsC
Who should I speak to at the Centre about Osteopathy?
Martha Price B.Sc(Ost)
Please contact me on 07734 431624 or via my Facebook page Martha Price.
Daytime and evening appointments are available on Mondays, other times may be possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact me for a chat, to see if I can help with your symptoms.