Osteopathy Definition - What Is Osteopathy ?

What is osteopathy ?

Osteopathy is an alternative treatment that is based on the assumption that a decreased mobility of tissues and structures in the body has an adverse effect on health. Physicians would be able to detect such a dysfunction with their hands on and by means of manual techniques to make more mobile again. It is on a small scale scientific research on the efficacy of the treatment method.

 is an alternative treatment that is based on the assumption that a decreased mobility of  Osteopathy Definition - What Is Osteopathy ?

History and osteopathic concept

The word osteopathy means "disease of the bones." Osteopathy is the ideology of the American doctor Andrew Still. He thought that in many diseases to find the original cause was the loss of mobility of the bones or joints. He combined the then medical knowledge with his own belief that the body tissues lose their mobility has adverse health effects. Still developed this method to detect less motile tissues with his hands, to be able to restore its mobility and thus to be able to cure or prevent diseases. On June 2, 1874, he gave his method the name osteopathy.

Osteopathy is a manual (by hand carried) method which is based on principles of anatomy, embryology, neurology and physiology. Research and treatment are carried out from a holistic approach to the complaint. For this purpose: 1. the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints and muscles); 2. The organ system (internal organs with blood vessels and lymphatic system), and 3. the craniosacral system (skull bones, meninges, spinal membrane and cerebral circulation) manually examined for loss of motion. The premise is that the body is a unit. These three systems are inextricably linked and influence each other continuously.

The research is focused on mobility. Loss of motion, according to the osteopathy a negative effect on the functioning of the relevant tissue, and there may be, because the various parts of the body are mutually connected by means of connective tissue, symptoms also occur at other locations in the body. Movement Restrictions may occur, for example by scarring after surgery, adhesions of tissues from inflammation, and stress. The treatment consists of the restoration of the original mobility by means of soft grips. From there going to take place the natural healing process. By this is meant that the body after the treatment, in principle, self-returns to its original state, in which all physiological functions - that are inextricably linked to the state of the anatomical structures - again can be carried out in a healthy manner by the body (unless there is a dysfunction, surgery or medication may be solved, of course). Conceptually, it is actually a case of an analogy with the physiological principle of homeostasis.

Indications for osteopathic were chronic back and / or neck pain, migraines, whiplash, abdominal pain, poor bowel function and crying babies are. There are still (too) little independent meta-analyzes of the documented effects of osteopathic treatment methods (osteopathic manipulative treatment - OMT), but there is, for example concluded that OMT has a significant positive effect on low back pain. Independent meta-analysis, published as a Cochrane review, that only the effects (of manual therapy, also performed by osteopaths) in chronic low back pain are equivalent to those of other treatments. No indications were found significant effects with crying babies, menstrual pain and acute low back pain.

Osteopathy is a term that covers many different loads. In the United States osteopathy is a more scientific pelatihan equivalent to that of ordinary physicians, including internships in general hospitals. In many states, the 'Doctor of Osteopathy' that followed such training, recognized as a doctor with competence to examine, diagnosing and prescribing medications. In medicine, manipulative techniques, except in physiotherapy, not common. In some countries like the UK, there is also an official form of osteopathy that deals with treating problems of the musculoskeletal system. In France the term osteopathy is even used as a synonym for manual therapy and there are also university courses, which focus solely on problems of the musculoskeletal system.

Complementary medicine

Physicians provide care in the first line and consider their treatment method as complementary to conventional medicine. An osteopath will be based on a medical history and differential diagnosis to determine whether the patient should be or not be referred to a doctor (and possibly a specialist). Osteopaths treat often (but not exclusively) chronic symptoms, which with the help of medical imaging and laboratory (clinical chemistry) no obvious abnormalities or blood values have emerged.

Conditions for recognition

At the end of the 20th century osteopathy in Europe known as one of the four alternative therapies in addition to homeopathy, acupuncture and chiropractic. None of these four is in the Benelux a recognized medical specialty and are usually performed by non-physicians. In 1997, a resolution was adopted by the European Parliament on the status of non-conventional medicine; This led to research commissioned by the European Commission (EU COST B4) which concluded that could not be established that non-conventional medicine worked.


Stills beliefs about the cause of disease date back to the time that bacteria, viruses and other causes were known. The original philosophy of Still must therefore be placed in the spirit of the times in which it is formed. Meanwhile, osteopathy developed further, but still remain from country to country and school to school are different interpretations.

The undoubtedly most controversial aspect of osteopathy is the 'cranial' part: cranio sacral therapy. It is assumed that in addition to the spine also enters the skull bones show a certain degree of (minimum) mobility, and that this mobility with the hands is palpable. Furthermore, it is believed that there is a fluctuation occurs in the cerebrospinal fluid and that manual manipulation of the skull bones, the spine and the liquor has a therapeutic effect. The existence of the said fluctuation has been investigated, but not demonstrated. A systematic literature review by Edzard Ernst in 2012 showed that there is no evidence for the efficacy of cranio sacral therapy. The Belgian Federal Health Care Knowledge confirms in its research report on osteopathy and chiropractic that there was "no evidence has been found for the visceral and cranio-sacral osteopathy."

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