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What is Osteopathy?


Many of the symptoms people report to me are the body's attempt to express dysfunction, usually not in the area of the symptom. Our brains have a limited awareness of our bodies. If, say, the stomach is upset, often people will feel tension in their upper back or back of their head. Constipation can be the main cause of lower back pain. Persistant shoulder pain or restriction can be from a fatty liver. Skin issues are a result of toxins overloading your liver and kidneys and as a result, are being pushed through the skin, causes psoriasis, eczema and hives. Autoimmune deseases are a result of dysbiosis, a condition where the gut bacteria of out of balance, often from antibiotics.

These are examples of referred symptoms. As an Osteopathic Practitioner, I am trained to see these symptoms as signals that something else may be the primary concern.

Osteopathy is a system of health care that follows 4 main principles when treating a person.

  1. Your body is a complete unit. Meaning all aspects of you must be considered.
  2. It has its own self-protecting and healing mechanisms. 
  3. Your structure (bones, muscles etc) and function (how the body works) are interrelated. How you respond to stress effects your body. What you eat effects how you feel emotionally.
  4. Successful treatment (true healing) must consider and use the preceding three principles.

Let's look at a case study while keeping in mind the 3 three principles above.

Case Study

CR, female of 50 years, came in with ongoing right shoulder pain having had it for the past 8 months. Secondary, was tension between the shoulder blades. Blood work and X-rays were clear and direct therapy on the shoulder produced only temporary relief.

Upon examination I noted that the muscles in the right shoulder showed minimal dysfunction, but there were spinal segments misaligned between the shoulder blades and both reflex points for her stomach and liver were hyperactive- touching these very small points on her skin produced pain. I asked her about her dietary history and she informed me that she has had stomach reflux for years and had learned to 'live with it'. Here is how I treated her.

The stomach was treated both with manual therapy and adjustments in her eating habits to achieve balance in it's function. The liver and gallbladder were treated to encourage proper detoxification. A 3 week, at home,  Liver and Gallbladder detoxification, was implemented using plant-based remedies. I asked her to reduce her coffee intake and stop using dairy in her coffee- substitutes were suggested. This stopped the referral pain into the right shoulder from the liver and gallbladder and the secondary pain between her shoulder blades. No work was done directly on the shoulder. The spinal segments between her shoulder blades were realigned using gentle non-thrusting techniques. At the end of the second treatment the pain between her shoulder blades was gone. At the end of her third treatment the right shoulder no longer bothered her. Recognizing her stress levels were too high, she began looking at ways to reduce the stress. I suggested yoga, Tai-Chi or simply being aware that she need more 'down' time. 

I recognize you are unique and an integrated whole being. When all three aspects of you, your physical, emotional and energetic layers are in balance you can achieve lasting health.