Osteopathy is a form of manual healthcare which emphasizes the link between the structure of the body and the way it functions.
Osteopaths focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit. Osteopathic treatment uses techniques such as stretching and massage for general treatment of the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) along with mobilization of specific joints and soft tissues.
Osteopathic treatment is the therapeutic application of manually guided forces by a practitioner, intended to improve physiologic function and/or support homeostasis.
While there are many treatment techniques, Osteopathy utilized may broadly be classified as active or passive and direct or indirect in nature.
- Active Method: A technique in which the person voluntarily performs an osteopathic practitioner-directed motion.
- Passive Method: Based on techniques in which the patient refrains from voluntary muscle contraction.
- Direct Method: An osteopathic treatment strategy by which the restrictive barrier is engaged and a final activating force is applied to correct somatic dysfunction.
- Indirect Method: A manipulative technique where the restrictive barrier is disengaged and the dysfunctional body part is moved away from the restrictive barrier until tissue tension is equal in one or all planes and directions.