History of Osteopathy
Osteopathy originated in Kansas in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Still (1828-1917).
Dr. Still was a Civil War surgeon who broke away from traditional medicine and founded the first school of osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri in 1892.
Osteopaths in Canada vs United States
In the United States an osteopath is a medical doctor, trained in methods of diagnosis and treatment of health and disease, placing special emphasis on the inter-relationship of the musculo-skeletal system to all other body systems.
In Quebec, an osteopath receives a post-graduate diploma upon completion of their studies. An osteopath in Quebec must possess a degree in a health-related field prior to admission into a 5-year program of study in the manual practice of osteopathy.
Upon completion of the required 1400 hours of study and passing written and practical exams, a designation of P.D.O. is granted. Once the P.D.O. has completed a thesis and presented it to an international jury, the designation D.O. (Diploma in Osteopathy) is given.
Osteopaths are licensed in Quebec under the Association des Diplomas en Osteopathy (A.D.O.) and the Registre des Osteopathes du Quebec.
The common feature between osteopaths from the United States and those from Quebec is their belief that the treatment of the patient’s problem involves the patient as a whole and in how their body works in terms of mechanics, rather than just treating the current symptoms they present with.
After a thorough evaluation, the osteopath’s job is to “set” the body to heal itself.
Osteopaths believe that the patient’s history of illness and physical traumas are written into the body’s structure. It is through a highly developed sense of touch that the osteopath evaluates the patient’s “living anatomy” and thus detects physical problems within the systems of the patient.
The osteopath then applies a gentle but precise force to the patient’s tissues, which promotes movement of body fluids, eliminates dysfunction in motion of the tissues, and releases compressed bones and joints.
Osteopaths are trained primarily to use their hands to treat patients. They use a variety of different techniques, but they will always be “hands on”. This enables the osteopath to monitor the state of the patient’s tissues and to tailor the treatment exactly to the patient’s needs at that time.
4 Foundations of Osteopathy
When treating, the osteopath must consider the following principles:
- Structure and function are reciprocally inter-related
- The body is a unit
- All cells in the body require blood supply in order to survive, and if the blood supply is disturbed through a dysfunction around a blood vessel, the tissues will suffer
- The body has an innate ability to heal itself given the proper environment; thus through treatment, the osteopath tries to “set” the body in its position of homeostasis (balance)
Listed below are some of the illnesses treated through osteopathy:
- Pediatric problems – colic, sucking problems, spitting up
- Somatic pain – neck/back/sciatic pain, headaches, joint pain, traumatic injury, overuse syndromes
- Respiratory problems – chronic problems after bronchitis, sinusitis, pleurisy
- Pregnancy – back pain, groin pain, digestive upset, edema)
- Systemic problems – digestive problems, neurological syndromes, head trauma, post-concussion syndrome, uro-genital problems
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