It is important for the patient to realize that his/her body is made up of many interconnected structures and that the source of the problem is often not the area experiencing the symptoms. It will not come as a surprise then that during treatment sessions, the osteopath may work on areas other than those at the site of pain/discomfort.
For treatment sessions, the patient will be asked about any new relevant issues that have arisen since they last saw the osteopath. The osteopath may suggest the patient wear/bring gym clothes or may provide a gown/sheet for the patient’s comfort during the sessions.
Some treatments may require the patient to adjust positions (lying to sitting or lying on one’s side for example) or to breathe deeply after a particular technique. The osteopath can explain (if the patient wishes and time permits) what he is doing during a session in terminology the patient can understand. This explanation may allow the patient to understand and cooperate more fully with future treatment sessions.
During treatment sessions, the osteopath may use any one of or combination of treatment techniques described below.
Osteopathic treatment techniques used:
Osteopathic manual treatments can be divided into sub categories:
The osteopath uses manual techniques to manipulate, mobilize and reactivate bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and fasciae (connective tissue). The fasciae comprise of wide variety of body tissues including the membranes, ligaments, tendons and mesenteries. The fasciae are found at every level of the body and constitute a basic element of physiology. From the mechanical point of view, fasciae are organized in chains. (The Fasciae, Serge Paoletti)
The musculoskeletal system of the body is made up of bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and fasciae. The fasciae (connective tissue), which are found at every level of the body, include membranes, ligaments, tendons and mesenteries (tissue that contains and supports the intestines).
The osteopath uses manual techniques to manipulate, mobilize and reactivate these tissues as needed. (See Techniques below)
The visceral system of the body is made of the soft internal organs of the body i.e. those within the chest (heart, lungs) and abdomen (liver, pancreas, intestines) and their supporting structures.
The osteopath may use visceral manipulation techniques (originally developed by Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O, from France). These involve physical mobilization of the supporting mechanisms of the organs. The osteopath uses his hands to palpate the subtle motion between an organ and its supporting structure. This treatment can relieve imbalances and restrictions in the interconnections between the motions of various organs and structures of the body. “The central premise of visceral manipulations is that the interrelationship of structure and function among the internal organs is at least as strong as that among the constituents of the musculoskeletal system; and that, like the musculoskeletal system manipulation of viscera can be beneficially used in treatment of internal organ dysfunction”. (Jean-Pierre Barral)
The cranial system of the body is made up of the skull bones, brain and spinal cord, membranes of the brain and spinal cord, vertebrae, sacrum and accompanying cranial fluids.
Cranial osteopathy is a refined and subtle type of treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions in the head (skull, membranes and cranial viscera).
The cranial concept (which was developed by William Garner Sutherland D.O.) is based on the idea that skull bones, the membranes of the brain and the cerebro-spinal fluid constantly move in a rhythmic manner. This rhythm, which has very small amplitude, exists independently of the pulse or the breathing of an individual and can only be palpated by the highly skilled hands of a trained individual such as an osteopath. The osteopath uses cranial treatment techniques involving intricate, precise manipulation of the cranial bones and accompanying membranes. By using these techniques, the osteopath can facilitate the cranial mechanism to resume the previous function, which existed prior to disturbance, injury or other trauma.
Cranial osteopathy is a gentle and yet extremely effective approach that may be used to treat a wide range of conditions in people of all ages, from birth to old age.