Osteopathy is a form of gentle hands-on treatment for reducing pain, improving movement and function, and helping the body to heal itself. It is based on the idea that good health depends on your bones, muscles, ligaments and connective tissue working smoothly together. An osteopath uses a wide range of techniques including stretching, massage and manipulation of the joints. They also offer advice on diet, exercise and lifestyle to help you manage your condition.
Medical studies have found that osteopathic treatment helps to reduce sleep problems caused by pain. It also bolsters your immune system by encouraging blood flow, which in turn assists the lymphatic and nervous systems.
During OMT, your osteopathic physician will use their hands and elbows as well as other parts of their body (e.g. the feet). The osteopathic physician will assess your body’s movement and rhythm to detect areas that are restricted or unable to move as they should be.
This enables the osteopathic physician to identify and treat the restrictions. There are different types of OMT, a common one being called osteopathic manipulations of the spine. Another is cranial osteopathy, which is often used for babies. It involves different treatment modalities that improve the primary respiratory mechanism by balancing cerebrospinal fluid flow, supporting parasympathetic regulation and addressing somatic dysfunction.
Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) have a unique training in OMT and use it in combination with other conventional medicine. While MDs have the same medical education as any other physician, D.O.s receive additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic physicians may also practice in specialty fields, such as family medicine, internal medicine or obstetrics/gynecology.