Osteopathy is a non-invasive, drug-free, manual therapy. Osteopaths use a wide range of hands-on techniques such as: joint manipulation, soft tissue massage and muscle energy. Osteopathy is most often used as a treatment for pain arising from the musculoskeletal system. This is the system of muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves that form the supporting framework of the body. British trained Osteopaths do not use surgery, medication or therapeutic machinery. Using hands for treatment and diagnosis means that Osteopathy can gentle but effective. Treatment can be continuously altered according to how the body reacts to each procedure.
The practice of osteopathy began in the Mid West of the United States in 1874. The originator of Osteopathy was Andrew Taylor Still, a doctor who became frustrated with the limitations of orthodox medicine at the time. Osteopathy represents an interesting fusion of ideas from Eastern philosophy and Western concepts of anatomy and physiology. Still was influenced by principles of Chinese medicine embodied in the Swedish Massage movement that became popular in the USA in the second half of the nineteenth century. He combined massage techniques with spinal manipulation, a practice which has been recorded in many cultures dating back thousands of years.
The first school of Osteopathy was established in the UK in 1917 by Littlejohn, a Scottish student of Still. It was called the British School of Osteopathy and is now one of the largest Osteopathic Schools in the world. In the UK Osteopaths undergo a four year full time training course. As well as learning the practical skills of Osteopathy, pathology and other medical subjects are also taught. The emphasis of Osteopathic training is to ensure the safety of patients and the effectiveness of treatment.
Osteopaths can ease a wide range of conditions including: back pain, whiplash injuries, Sciatica, trapped nerves, tension headaches, joint strains, general muscle tension, back pain in pregnancy and sports injuries.
For more detail about the problems an Osteopath can help with see our Conditions Treated page
For more general information see our FAQ page
For information about the ideas behind Osteopathy see our Philosophy page