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Different osteopathic approaches

Modern osteopathic training is continually evolving in response to research and development, however as the osteopath develops their skills and practice, their style of treatment will evolve to a more personalised approach influenced by the different approaches to patient care found amongst the osteopathic community.

There are several distinct styles of osteopathic treatment and whilst some osteopaths will draw on several, others will focus essentially on one form only. Our main osteopath - Moises Ferrandez – has trained in all disciplines and integrates all of the different approaches into his treatment, depending on the disfunctions that a patient might present with.

What are the different styles?

Structural Osteopathy

This is the most common approach to osteopathic treatment and is the foundation upon which modern training is based. It is where the osteopath will use different manual techniques to affect the musculoskeletal system:

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Articular manipulation
  • Muscular, ligamentous and fascial release
  • Stretching the shortened tissues
  • Strengthening of weak structures
  • And many more.

The treatment effect can reach into the body and help the nervous system, blood supply or organ function.

Visceral Osteopathy

Visceral Osteopathy is an expansion of the general principles of osteopathy which includes a special understanding of the organs, blood vessels and nerves of the body (the viscera). This approach looks at the relationship between the physical structure of the body and the organs, such as the digestive tract or respiratory system.  It´s aim is to relieve imbalances and restrictions in the interconnections between the motions of all the organs and structures of the body.

Through the stresses imposed by poor posture, diet or lifestyle pressures, the organs can build areas of tension which can then lead to referred ‘viscero-somatic’ pain.

One example of this is the intense groin pain created by an acute kidney infection. In this case treatment over the area of pain may be ineffective whereas direct manipulation of the kidney may stimulate the healing response needed to relieve the pain.

Visceral treatment can aid movement of the digestive tract and good function of abdominal organs as well as the lungs, which will directly affect at the way our organism function´s as a whole

Visceral Osteopathy is commonly used for:

  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Digestive problems
  • Endometriosis
  • Cólics
  • Breathing dysfunctions (Asthma)
  • Incontinence
  • Back and neck pain
  • Ribs and thoracic cage pain
  • Circulation problems

And many other conditions

Cranial Osteopathy

This is a more subtle approach which involves a gentle ‘hold’ of the patient to interact with more subtle energies and the body’s fluid dynamics. Tiny physiological movements in the bones in the head and face are vital for health, and cranial osteopathy can focus on any obstructions to these microscopic movements that may have been caused by trauma or injury.

Cranial Osteopathy works with the body’s involuntary mechanisms, helping to restore a calming balance to natural bio-rhythms by means of a gentle “hold” of the patient. It encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body.

It is common for us to feel that when we experience physical or emotional stress, our body tissues tend to tighten up. Although our bodies are generally able to adapt to stress at the time, a lasting strain may remain. Any remaining tension may be held in the body and can restrict its free movement. As time goes by, the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses and eventually symptoms may develop.

Summary

Good osteopathic treatment is based on the principle that structure governs function, and vice-versa. Unlike other forms of manual therapy, all osteopaths will tend to have a “whole body”, integrated approach to assessment and treatment.

An osteopath will draw on a variety of techniques to make a change to the body in a bid to restore good function or structure. The way they interpret their findings and seek to make this change, varies depending on their training, experience and technique preference of the osteopath, however, the principles that govern the reaction of the body to treatment and the healing process overall remain common to all osteopaths.