Osteopathy Frequently Asked Questions

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathic Therapy is a principles based approach towards assessment and treatment of the body that considers the interrelationships between all systems of the body. This includes soft tissue (muscles), hard tissues (bones), fluid mechanics and the neurovascular supply to all areas of the body. This type of therapy aims to restore balance in the body so that it has the ability to function at its greatest capacity.

The ‘pathy’ part of osteopathy has often been misinterpreted to mean disease (from bone). In fact it is more to do with pathos – sympathy with the bone, understanding its niche in the ecology of our being.

Does Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment hurt?

Assessment and treatment is very gentle and should be pain free. Prepare to be surprised at how subtle it might feel.

Will I be sore the next day?

It is normal to feel a little soreness for 1 – 2 days post-treatment.

How does Osteopathy work?

Osteopathic Treatment aims to restore balance to the mechanical structures of the body in order to remove blockages and congestion, and restore the natural self-healing and self-protecting mechanisms that already exist. It’s like tending to a garden, ensuring that the environment is just right in order for a garden to grow and flourish.

Is Osteopathy Energy work?

The osteopathic philosophy considers the relationship between mind, body and spirit, the health of each affecting the other. Consider the posture of someone who is very sad and how that posture over long periods of times might lead to discomfort in the body. This approach towards treatment addresses the physical body and restoring balance, which may have positive effects on other aspects of a patient’s health such as general well being.

How many treatment sessions are necessary to get better?

This answer is different for every patient and in every scenario. The goal is to make small and manageable changes with every visit that aim to help people gain health and feel better in a progressive manner. Some people might find relief after a few months of treatment, and some people might need several years of treatment. This is determined on a case by case basis, as no one person is the same.

How can Osteopathic Treatment detect problem areas?

Problem areas are identified through asymmetries and restriction of motion. These assessment are made first visually but observing a patient centre of gravity, and then further explored and confirmed with palpation.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

No referral is necessary. If suffering from a chronic medical condition it would be best to speak to your GP before moving forward with treatment.

Is Osteopathy covered by insurance?

Osteopathic Practitioners are covered by most private insurance packages.  Please check with your insurance company to verify coverage

How does Osteopathy differ from Massage, Physiotherapy and Chiropractic? How do I choose?

Osteopathic Treatments always address the entire body both in regards to mechanics, as well as neurophysiology. Consider how you swing your arms when you walk. Now, if you suddenly have something wrong with your hip and have compensated by changing your gait pattern, we can also assume you have changed the way you swing your arms. Suddenly a hip issue is now also an issue with your shoulder, so why treat only the hip? Osteopathy considers the mechanical relationships within the body and always treats the body as a whole dynamic unit, rather than segmentally.

What are the benefits of Osteopathic Treatment?

Osteopathic Treatment aims to improve the overall health and vitality in a patient, this can help people feel better, sleep better and stay healthy.

What can I expect when I come for a visit?

Patients remained clothed and move through various positions on a massage table, from sitting to laying on their stomachs or backs. A therapist will spend roughly 30 minutes assessing and gently treating the structure of the body by moving joints through all ranges of motion.

What conditions are treated by Osteopaths?

Both acute and chronic conditions can be effectively treated with Osteopathic care.

Should I take painkillers? Do you prescribe drugs?

Osteopathic Practitioners do not prescribe drugs. This approach towards treatment can be considered complimentary towards any type of painkillers and/or drugs an individual has been prescribed.

What kind of techniques do you use?

Though sessions may include techniques similar to those experienced with other types of practitioners, it is overall a principles based approach that is rooted in the philosophy that the body has the ability to self heal and self regulate. What does this mean? As all bodies are different all approaches towards treatment must also be different, so a single technique might work for one individual but not work for another. A thorough understanding of functional anatomy and the mechanical relationships existing within the body allow the practitioner to approach each patient as needed.

What must one do following treatment?

Treatments aim to make small, corrective changes to ones overall posture. These changes are small so that the body has the ability to take them on while remaining balanced and vital. The best thing, though not necessary, is to include a 30 minute walk into your daily plans for the few days following treatment. The act of walking helps to integrate the changes made into a moving and active body. It is also wise to consider planning 2 days of rest post treatment by avoiding exercise or heavy lifting.


Ask Rachel a Question: rachelgorman.osteo@gmail.com