What is Osteopathy therapy?
Osteopathy is a form of drug-free non-invasive manual medicine that focuses on total body health by treating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework, which includes the joints, muscles and spine. Its aim is to positively affect the body’s nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Osteopathy therapy is a unique holistic (whole body) approach to health care. Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body, to provide overall good health and wellbeing.
The key tools for osteopathic diagnosis include listening to the patient’s history, examining muscles and joints and observing movements. X -rays, scans and other clinical investigations are also used if required. A wide range of gentle, non-invasive manual techniques such as deep tissue massage, joint articulation and manipulation are applied therapeutically.
Osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council in order to practice. Patients may be referred by their doctor, or may opt to see an osteopath independently.
On any one day, up to 30,000 people consult osteopaths in the UK alone.
What happens on your first visit?
In every instance your osteopath will take a detailed case history of your symptoms, as well as information about your medical history and lifestyle.
You will be examined whilst standing to assess your posture and you may be asked to make one or two simple movements to facilitate diagnosis. You will usually be asked to remove some of your outer clothing for this part of the examination. We suggest you bring a sports vest and shorts to change into if this might make you feel more comfortable.
Osteopaths are trained to use their highly developed sense of touch (palpation), which they use to detect stresses and strains in the body in the standing, sitting and lying down positions.
After this examination your osteopath will discuss your symptoms, offer a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. Where necessary, recommendations for further medical tests and investigations through your GP, or a more appropriate form of therapy, will be considered.
After the diagnosis and treatment plan has been explained to you and you have agreed to proceed with treatment, various osteopathic techniques will be applied, including rhythmic articulation of joints and muscles, gentle manipulation and pressure, and support for damaged or strained tissues. The aim is to relax tension and ease restriction to movement. This will help to increase blood flow and reintegrate the body’s power of self healing.
About Stillpoint Osteopaths
At Stillpoint osteopaths are registered with the General Osteopathic Council – the profession’s statutory regulator, established by parliament under the Osteopath’s Act 1993. The GOsC maintains and develops the standards of osteopathic training and practice thereby ensuring high levels of safety and competence for the general public. Unregistered practice is a criminal offence in the UK.
We also take a special interest in what is known as ‘Cranial Osteopathy’. This approach to treatment uses very gentle manipulative pressures to encourage the release of stresses and strains throughout the body, including the head. All joints in the body are designed to move, and this includes even the subtle movement between the individual bones of the skull.
Stillpoint osteopaths have all completed post graduate courses in cranial osteopathy and are actively engaged in postgraduate education and research in this field.
When should I use Osteopathy?
Osteopaths treat the whole person, not just the condition. Patients include everyone from new born babies to men and women in their eighties and nineties.
Although commonly associated with back pain, osteopaths treat people for all kinds of complaints. Manual workers, office professionals, pregnant women, children and sports people seek help for a wide variety of conditions.
We recently sent a questionnaire to around 500 of Stillpoint’s patients and these are some of the more common problems out of a large range that they presented with:
- Back and neck pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Jaw pains
- Shoulder pain, such as ‘frozen shoulder’
- Sports injuries, such as ‘tennis elbow’
- Sinus pain
- Stresses and strains in pregnancy
Osteopathic techniques are suitable for children at all stages of development. Babies’ skeletons are softer than adults and osteopaths will therefore use gentler techniques such as cranial osteopathy when treating them.
Currently, although we have gathered a wealth of anecdotal evidence, over many years of treating babies and children, there is a lack of robust evidence of the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment for children.
It is a passion of ours to work to develop research in this area. To date, there is scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of manual treatments for the management of a variety of musculo skeletal conditions in adults. It may be that some of these results can be applied to rating the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment of children, due to some physiological similarities in the musculo-skeletal system between children and adults, but more specific research on children is needed.
We are keen for our service to form an important part of developing consensus on the effectiveness of osteopathic treatment for children with our inter- disciplinary model of best practice in treating the newborn. We have developed extensive links with local midwives, lactation consultants and health visitors and are engaged in exciting research into efficacy of treating babies and children.
And after treatment…
Usually patients feel an immediate benefit from osteopathic treatment. However, because they often come in pain and may have been in pain for some time, a mild reaction to treatment can occur. This will usually settle down within 48 hours. If you are at all concerned about your symptoms, please don’t hesitate to call Stillpoint and an osteopath will discuss these with you.
We are recognised by most health insurers. Please contact them directly or consult your policy documents.
Osteopathic treatment costs
- Initial consultation (45 – 60 minutes) – £70
- Follow up session – £50
Children up to 18 years old:
- Initial consultation – £50
- Follow up session – £35
Mother and new baby joint appointments also available.
Osteopathy therapy blog posts:
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