The philosophy of Osteopathy is to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. It places emphasis on the relationships between the body's structure, framework and function, teaching the appreciation of the body's ability to heal itself.
Osteopaths work with their hands to perform such treatment using a variety of techniques:
The most common complaints for which patients consult Osteopaths include back and neck pain, sciatica, headaches, pains in peripheral joints such as shoulders, knees and ankles, tendinitis and muscle strains, work-related and repetitive strain injuries, and sports-related injuries. Other conditions for which Osteopathy can play a significant role in reducing the severity of symptoms include asthma, gynaecological dysfunction, arthritic conditions and chronic fatigue.
When visiting an osteopath for the first time, a full case history will be taken as well as an examination. This generally requires the removing of some clothing and the performance of a simple series of movements.
The Osteopath will use a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body. Osteopathic treatments are tailored to the requirements of the individual patient, and techniques are selected which are appropriate to the patient's needs. For some acute pain, one to two treatments may be all that is necessary. Chronic conditions may need ongoing maintenance averaging six to eight sessions.
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