The Principles of Osteopathy

The guiding principles of osteopathy are based on the philosophies of founder Dr Andrew Taylor Still but have been refined and expanded in the century and a half since Osteopathy was established.

The way an Osteopath approaches the treatment and management of every patient are guided by these four principles:

  1. The person is a single, unified unit comprised of body, mind and spirit.

Osteopaths recognise that one element of the person effects the others and indeed, one part of the body effects the rest of the body. By understanding this principle, osteopaths are more likely to see the whole picture of your health and help you identify and manage all contributing factors.

  1. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-maintenance and self-healing.

With that in mind, it is the role of the Osteopath to identify and help you resolve any factors that may hinder these natural processes. Factors often include things like restricted and repetitive movement, on-going stress, poor nutrition or inadequate sleep. Generally simple measures such as manual therapy, activity and lifestyle modification can be helpful in resolving these sorts of biological hinderances.

  1. The structure and function of the body are inter-related.

The structure of the body (muscles, joints, nerves etc) and function of those tissues and the person as a whole (movement, breathing, digestion) are inter-related but respond to internal and external influences. This complex interplay determines the body’s capacity to heal, it’s capacity for resilience and it’s ability to adapt positively to change. Harnessing this relationship to drive healing, resilience and adaptation is the job of the osteopath. This is how the body overcomes illness and injury.

  1. Osteopathic treatment is based on the rational application of the other three principles in the assessment, examination and treatment of the individual.
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