What is Osteopathy?
Most people think “osteopathy, does that have something to do with BONES?” - Yes, and so much more!
Simply put, there are two types of Osteopaths. One is a Doctor the other is a Manual practitioner. In Canada, we must differentiate between the two. Me, Michelle Wilson, I’m a Manual Osteopath based out of Cochrane Alberta. I use manual techniques to help you avoid having to go to a doctor, when possible!
Manual Osteopaths look at the body as a whole, recognizing that everything is connected, that structure and function are interrelated and that the body has the ability to heal. Primarily, we look at the musculoskeletal (muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments), visceral (organs), craniosacral (bones and fluids of the brain and spinal cord) and fascial systems. We use manual techniques to address these systems, working towards unrestricted and balanced mobility of all structures. Here would be a great place to have a list of things manual osteopathy can help with; it would be very lengthy! I’ll summarize by saying there is very little that can’t be helped with these treatments.
Back to the bone connection; it’s about just that, the CONNECTION! Remember the song “Dem Bones”; well, Dem Bones have blood running through them, fascia wrapped around them, are connected by ligaments, have tendons connecting muscles to them which have nerves running through them and on and on. Examples: heel pain can be caused by restriction in the hip. Shoulder pain can come from the opposite hip, stomach/liver, lungs, spine, muscles, fascia, etc.
What To Expect From Your First Visit:
We’ll start your treatment by discussing your history, your current condition and your goals. History is important as it has led you to where you are, injuries from your youth could be contributing to what you experience today. Without knowing your goals, it is difficult to formulate a plan for your care. Your current condition/complaint is often a great place to start helping you feel great.
Your history and current state will lead to what type of assessment(s) follows. Some blend and flow with the treatment, other times a physical assessment of your posture, tension zones, hips/spine or range of motion are called for. Treatments are typically performed with clothes on.
A t-shirt and shorts/sweatpants/leggings are great to wear!
The Treatment: This is completely unique to you. Manual techniques to mobilize relevant tissues are applied, most of which do not cause any pain and some may require you to move. Some techniques are so subtle that, at first, you might wonder if anything is actually happening. That’s ok, I will happily explain what I’m doing and how it is connected. Conversation and discussion are great and feedback is encouraged. I will have questions throughout your treatment and the more I know about you, the better I can help. That being said, treatments are very relaxing overall, both physically and mentally; it’s okay if you fall asleep!
Homework: As with most therapists you see, you will likely be receiving homework! This may be something we discuss or an exercise we review/explore during your treatment, or a modification of something you are already doing. I try to keep it short, simple and pain free!
By Michelle Wilson