What Do Osteopaths Do?

I should probably begin this by stating that this article is more about what I personally do, as an osteopath!  There are a number of basic osteopathic principles, but each osteopath will put those into practice in subtly different ways, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to speak for anyone else!


Osteopathy is based on the principle that the body is self-regulating and has an innate capacity for healing itself.  What I do as an osteopath, is to look for reasons why your injuries/pains aren’t healing, and to redress those things which are preventing your recovery.

Usually, the things preventing recovery involve

  1. differences in muscle length or tightness which prevent you moving properly and place additional strain on some parts
  2. spasm or tightness in muscles which result in (1) and which also prevent proper blood flow into, and out of the region which is trying to heal
  3. contraction of connective tissues (the sheets of collagen that hold everything together) and/or the development of scar tissue which also prevent normal movement and proper fluid flow

So, what do I do about these things?  Here’s a (very) brief list of some of the techniques or approaches I might adopt with patients…

  • manipulationMobilisation, manually, to balance resting muscle and soft tissue length
  • Muscle energy techniques to relax short, tight muscles
  • Cross-fibre manual stretching of muscles and fascia (connective tissue)
  • Direct manipulation (those techniques you may have heard of which result in a “click” – much less daunting than most people imagine!)
  • Exercises to strengthen poorly performing muscles or stretch tight muscles and help to re-establish balanced motion

If you’re interested in how I might help you to recover from injury or ease long-term, painful problems, please give me a call.

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