What is Osteopathy and Why Did I Choose to Study it?

“The work of the Osteopath is to adjust the body from the abnormal to the normal; then the abnormal condition gives place to the normal and health is the result of the normal condition.”

– Dr. A.T. Still, Osteopathy Research and Practice, Eastland Press, 1992

Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that was founded and created by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in Missouri in 1874 (National Academy of Osteopathy, Osteopathy History).  Dr. Still believed that by treating the musculoskeletal system, you could treat a variety of diseases and conditions without the use of drugs or surgery. This would also spare patients from the negative side effects of these modalities.  Dr. Still also believed that the body has the ability to heal itself and it is the practitioner’s duty is to simply treat the factors that inhibit health to help restore the body to its optimal function.  Osteopathy is derived from the Greek words “osteo” (bone) and “pathos” (suffering).

Osteopathy is based on the following principles: 1) The human body is a dynamic unit of function.  It is intrinsic and works together. 2) Structure governs function. 3) Auto-regulation – the body is self-healing and regulating. 4) Treatment is based on the first three principles.

Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to healing as it focuses on the body as a whole – bones, joints, muscles, and organs.  Manual Osteopaths also emphasize the importance of proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle choices as being key components to achieving maximum wellness and health.  Manual Osteopaths treat musculoskeletal disorders through the mobilization of bones and joints. They also use a variety of techniques to help restore function to the body such as muscle energy techniques (METs), soft tissue therapy, cranial sacral therapy and visceral manipulation. Other techniques that may be used include, but are not limited to, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, ultrasound and laser therapy (if trained).

Osteopathy has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic and certain types of acute pain.  Some conditions that can be treated by osteopathy and Manual Osteopaths include: headaches and migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, low back pain, shoulder injuries, constipation, patella-femoral pain/achy knees, infertility/PMS, TMJ pain and so much more.

In conclusion, osteopathy is a hands on manual therapy that takes a holistic and interrelated approach to treating a variety of conditions without the use of drugs or surgery.  A treatment plan from a Manual Osteopath may include exercise prescription, nutrition recommendations and lifestyle changes in conjunction with the hands on treatment received by the patient.

Growing up I was active in many sports.  During high school I began to fall in love with fitness and nutrition.  This passion led me to Humber College where I received my diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion.  After graduation, I began working as a Personal Trainer and continued teaching Group Fitness classes.  After several years of working, I began looking into other opportunities to advance my career. I had been interested in studying a manual therapy for some time and after doing some research I was drawn to Osteopathy.  This is when I heard of the National Academy of Osteopathy (NAO).  I was immediately intrigued!  I loved the idea that Manual Osteopaths treat the body as a whole and do not just focus on the location of pain.  This made so much sense to me.

Choosing to study at NAO has to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.  The hands on classes and the online videos have allowed me to practice and study at my own pace and get help when I need it. I have learned so much in my time at NAO and I am excited to go to class each day.

The professors are all very knowledgeable, passionate and personable.  It has been an incredible experience to learn from them.  The experience that I am also gaining in the clinical component has been amazing.  Aside from the lectures on osteopathy, exercise, biomechanics and more, the business lectures are second to none.  Each lecture provides you with many valuable tips that you can use to help build your dream business after graduation – I cannot wait to start using them!

 I have nothing but positive things to say about NAO.  Each class my passion for my new profession grows.  I would recommend Osteopathy and NAO to anyone who is interested in a career in the health and wellness industry, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

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