What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)

OMM is a whole-person approach to healthcare, considering the body, mind, and spirit of each individual. It combines conventional medical care with a focus on the interrelationship between the body’s nerves, vessels, organs and musculoskeletal structures to help optimize its natural healing systems. Like allopathic physcians (MDs), osteopathic physicians (DOs) go to medical school. Additionally, DOs learn to use their hands to evaluate and treat the structures of the body. They can choose any medical specialty such as Family Medicine, Surgery or Neuromusculoskeletal/Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine. OMM includes a medical evaluation of your health, evaluation of lifestyle factors that play a role in your health, and hands-on osteopathic treatment of your body’s structures to optimize your balanced function as a whole person.

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT)

During OMT, an osteopathic physician uses his or her hands to evaluate and treat the parts of a person to help them to work together as a whole. Through a gentle and relaxing evaluation and treatment, the osteopathic physician moves the structures of your body using techniques that include stretching, resistance, and gentle pressure. OMT can be helpful for people of all ages. Some of the benefits that people experience are improved mobility, faster healing, decreased stress and tension, decreased pain, and better sleep. The goal of osteopathic treatment is to consider each person as a unique individual to optimize one’s health.

Types of OMT

Biodynamic Osteopathy emphasizes viewing the patient as a whole person and the integration of body, mind, and spirit, using a person’s inner health to bring about healing.

Cranial Osteopathy involves the subtle motion and inherent relationships between the bones, membranes and fluids of the skull, spinal column, and sacrum and is based on a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology.

Balanced Ligamentous Tension (BLT) uses pressure and gentle traction to balance the interconnection between the bones and connective tissues.

Muscle Energy Technique involves resistance and stretching of muscles to help move and balance the bones and muscles of the body.

High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) involves a precisely directed and gentle thrust to a specific area of the body to improve alignment and release tension. This technique is similar to, but not the same as, what is typically used by the chiropractic profession.

Myofascial Release stretches and releases stress and strain patterns within the soft tissue (muscles and fascia) that interconnects all the parts of the body. This can be performed on any region of the body and any layer, from the skin down to the bones and joints.

Strain-Counterstrain is an approach developed by Lawrence Jones, DO which involves the identification of tenderpoints and placing the body in a position of comfort to decrease tension and spasm within these areas.