As osteopaths, we aim to improve your overall health and wellness. We treat the whole person, not just a single condition or area. Our patients seek out osteopathic treatment for a range of conditions from neck and back pain, to sports injuries, and headaches.
The way we approach the assessment and treatment of each patient is guided by the osteopathic principles. Read on to find out more about our holistic approach to treatment!
What are the principles of osteopathy?
There are four main guiding principles of osteopathy that have been refined and expanded in the last 150 years. They are:
- The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
- The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
- Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
- Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind, and spirit.
Your health is influenced by your body, mind, and spirit. These units are interrelated: one element or unit affects the others. If there is pain or dysfunction in one unit, it can create dysfunction in another. This principle allows osteopaths to see patients holistically. It is based on a patient-centered rather than a disease or injury-centered approach to health and treatment.
2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
Our natural state is one of health. When you are injured or diseased, other parts of the body must compensate which may cause further dysfunctions to occur. Osteopaths help to resolve dysfunction through treatment by adjusting and realigning back to your normal state.
The role of an osteopath is to help you identify and resolve barriers to your body’s natural tendency towards self-healing and health. For example, chronic stress, poor quality sleep, an unhealthy diet, or repetitive movement and strain may be barriers to your health that are causing dysfunction. Treatment may include activity and lifestyle modification, or manual therapy.
3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
The various systems (e.g., musculoskeletal, nervous) are interrelated with the functions of the body. Illness or disease in the structures can manifest as issues with the body’s functions. Both are influenced by external and internal factors.
Our body’s resilience, capacity to heal, and ability to adapt to change is affected by the relationship between structure and function. As osteos, we harness this relationship in order to help our patients to overcome illness and injury.
4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
This means that treatment is based on the application of all aspects of osteopathic principles when assessing, examining, and treating a patient.
In summary, as osteopaths, we take a holistic approach to treatment. Pain and dysfunction are complex phenomena and there are always many reasons behind why someone feels the pain they experience. We can help you to work out what those reasons are and give you the tools to reverse the negative effects they are having on you. And with the best will in the world, help to keep that pain away too. We can help with our hands, but osteopaths are also skilled at giving great lifestyle, diet and exercise advice.
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (2022). The Philosophy of Osteopathic Medicine. [Online]. Available at: https://www.aacom.org/become-a-doctor/about-osteopathic-medicine/philosophy-tenets-of-osteopathic-medicine (Accessed 24 September 2022).
- Osteopathy Australia (2022). What is osteopathy? [Online]. Available at: https://whatisosteo.com/about-this-website/what-is-osteopathy/ (Accessed 24 September 2022).
- Vaughan, B., Morrison, T., et al (2014). Approach to low back pain – osteopathy. [Online]. Available at: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/april/osteopathy (Accessed 24 September 2022).