What Is Osteopathy?
- Your body is a dynamic functional unit in which all systems (myofascial, skeletal, visceral, vascular, neural and lymphatic) are interconnected
- Your body possesses its own potential to self-regulate and heal
- Structure and function are interrelated at all levels of your body
One of the essential components of osteopathy is that it relies on manual contact for diagnosis and treatment.
Osteopathic practitioners are extensively trained in medical science and oftentimes in another health care approach. Damien, at Cedar, is a registered physiotherapist. He completed his physiotherapy and osteopathy education in France and was also a massage therapist.
Experience and knowledge of medical pathology give the therapist the ability to understand your symptoms and determine if you qualify for osteopathic treatment. This differential diagnosis is important to rule out the possibility of another more severe condition before proceeding with manual treatment.
What Techniques And Method Of Treatment Does An Osteopathic Practitioner Use?
Since 2010, the World Health Organization has recognized osteopathy as distinct from other healthcare occupations that uses manual techniques such as chiropractic and physiotherapy. Benchmarks for training in osteopathy have been published. This guarantees the level of training of the osteopathic practitioner worldwide and therefore ensures quality and safety to patients.
A skilled therapist uses a variety manual techniques including:
- Osteopathic diagnosis
- Direct and indirect articular techniques
- Muscle energy, myofascial / fascial release (Fascial Integration Therapy, FIT)
- Reflex-based techniques such as trigger points, neuromuscular techniques, dermo-cutaneous reflex techniques
- Visceral and cranial techniques
- Lymphatic system pump techniques
Who Is It For And What Are The Indications For Osteopathy?
Osteopathic practitioners treat people of all ages. This includes newborns to seniors and pregnant mothers. They can help address problems such as:
- Neck and back pain
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Visceral issues (digestive, intestine and respiratory dysfunctions)
- Joint, muscle pain (post knee / ankle sprains symptoms, shoulder problems, epicondylalgia…)
- Sport injuries
- Pre- and post-natal support
- Issues newborns and babies can experience such as regurgitation, intestinal transit problems, torticollis…
Each patient comes with your own combination of symptoms, medical history and psychological or emotional challenges. Each osteopathic treatment is unique and personalized to your age, background and condition to help you achieve your goals.
How Many Treatments Are Necessary?
Because every patient is different and the same condition does not necessarily have the same expression, there is no set answer. You usually start feeling some changes in your body after 2 to 3 sessions.
However, if after this time you do not notice any significant improvements regarding the pain level and your symptoms, your therapist may suggest an alternative treatment or refer you to your family doctor for further investigation.
Is It Covered By My Extended Health?
OsteopathyBC, the society for the promotion of manual practice osteopathy, works to maintain high standards of practice in BC and has been raising awareness about osteopathy since 2005.
Osteopathy is in the private sector and MSP does not cover osteopathy fees. However, as a member of the association, treatments may be covered by your extended health insurance. Consult your plan for details.
Osteopathy Treatment FAQ
Q: What is an osteopathy treatment?
A: Your session starts with an interview where you can communicate your concerns and symptoms you are experiencing. Then follows an osteopathic evaluation and treatment to address your problem. Your osteopathic practitioner will use a range of techniques to restore function where restrictions are felt in the different systems of your body
Q: What to expect after an osteopathy session?
A: As your body’s self-healing potential is enhanced, it may take a few days for the changes to fully happen. Your body needs to integrate the information given to it. You can expect to be a little tired and sore the next day. That is why we suggest you keep your activity level minimal during the next 24h. After 1-2 days, this sensation should subside and the benefit of the treatment will take place. It may take up to 10 days for your body to completely adjust to the work that has been done. You are usually recommended to schedule a follow-up session one to two weeks after your initial visit
Q: When should I come for an osteopathy treatment?
A: Your osteopathic practitioner works in conjunction with your medical practitioner and other health professionals (chiropractor, physiotherapist, RMT, acupuncturist…). However, you are recommended to space your therapy sessions a minimum of 2 days apart to avoid any interference between them
Q: What is the difference between osteopathy and physiotherapy?
A: They are both mechanics for your body. Physiotherapists focus more on the musculoskeletal system while osteopathic practitioners also work on the other systems of your body (eg. visceral, fascial, cranial)
Physiotherapy is often more of a symptom-specific approach while osteopathic practitioners may look for the cause of the problem and propose a less symptomatic treatment.
Both therapies are complementary and physiotherapy will sometimes be necessary to enhance your body’s function after osteopathic care.