10:52 22 April 2005
Osteopathy is based on the theory that many of the body's health problems are due to functional or structural anomalies. It is a highly respected medical practice, with many patients being referred form their GP. Osteopathy was developed by an American doctor, Andrew Still, over 100 years ago.
He investigated the manipulation of joints to relieve pain and help release the body's own healing abilities. Osteopaths focus mainly on the musculo-skeletal system, in particular the alignment of the spine, and recognise that much of the body's pain and disease can be helped through work on this area.
It is believed that by realigning the vertebrae the body releases natural substances to heal specific symptoms. It is a holistic approach to medicine whereby the whole body is treated not just the disease. Equilibrium throughout an individual is required for good health, so the Osteopath will give advice on posture, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle as well as working on the physical body.
When a joint becomes displaced or restricted in its natural scope of movement 'lesions' can occur. These lesions in the lower back can cut off circulation and lead to disease. Osteopaths identify areas where these lesions are likely to have occurred and will bring the area back into a natural and healthy state, so that the musculo-skeletal system can work as effectively and harmoniously as possible.
Osteopaths use a wide variety of techniques to bring relief or improvement to many conditions. These may include soft tissue stretching, manipulations and massage. These techniques aim to restore movement in the musculo-skeletal system or the restoration of muscle alignment to improve joint flexibility. Gentle release techniques will often be used especially when treating the elderly or children.
Osteopathy can bring relief for many symptoms and is used by children, the elderly, sportsmen and women. Osteopathy is widely respected as treatment for back pain, one of the ills of modern society, which is largely bought on by bad posture and our sedentary lifestyle. It can also be helpful in treating menstrual problems, headaches, allergies, breathing difficulties and digestive disorders as well as being a great way to bring your body into structural harmony, promoting general well-being.
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