Structure & Function: The Basis of Osteopathy

After 5 years at university Osteopaths love the body & uncovering all the different ways its complex systems overlap and work together! 

“To find health should be the object of the Doctor. Anyone can find disease” – Andrew Taylor Still – the father of Osteopathy.  A.T. Still founded Osteopathy on 4 main principles. These principles shape the way we as osteopaths learn about the body, about dysfunctions and about how we see every individual – I like to think it is what makes us quite unique in this world full of different practitioners! 

Osteopathy’s 4 main principals:
  1. The body is a unit
  2. Structure and function are inter-related
  3. The body is capable of self-healing, protective and regulatory mechanisms 
  4. Osteopathic treatment always considers the first 3 principles

Osteopaths work on assisting joints, ligaments and muscles to assist the structure & by doing this influence the connections of the nervous system, gastrointestinal, and lymphatic systems, allowing us to assist the overall function of the body. 

Structure and Function are interrelated – if one is altered, so is the other. To be altered doesn’t mean to be injured, it could be something you hadn’t even thought of before. Have you ever questioned how your posture may be affecting the way in which your internal organs can function? Osteopathy dives deeper into the anatomical connection of the bones and muscles, and the nerves that supply them directly as well as the organs in the area. The nervous system is the electricity that supplies our organs and muscles and we need to make sure we can keep everything functioning as a whole unit. 

This means that Osteopaths are equipped with lots of different skills to be able to assist you to be your best all the time. It can be from a sporting injury, to feeling like you want to be able to sleep a little easier each night. The connection of hands on support for the physical strains can have a much deeper impact that just feeling less tension in your muscles. Specific areas of our body supply different organs & influence different systems of our bodies through the nerve supply! For example the right side of our upper back supplies the nerves that help the liver function, so if you are feeling stressed, run down or tired there may be support Osteopathy can offer through treatment of your upper back that then impacts the efficiency of your livers role in the hormonal (metabolic) system! Our abdominal diaphragm (big breathing muscle under your ribs) can also be another connection of muscle and joint strain affecting the deeper systems of our body. Through treatment, including massage, of the diaphragm we may help increase the capacity for deeper breathing which can assist with optimal respiratory and cardiovascular support for oxygen transportation to the body! 

Osteopathy uses a range of techniques to assist the body’s overall function, not just assisting recovery from injury. Through the connection of the body as a whole, we can optimise the overall function through assisting the structures! If you’ve ever had questions about what’s connected where, or how the body works, chat with our Osteopath Bridget about what questions you think Osteopathy may be able to assist with! 

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