A common question I often get asked is: "𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 (𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤, 𝘱𝘩𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘺, 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘦𝘵𝘤.)?"
Although there is some overlap between many manual therapy professions, here’s what sets osteopathy apart:
Osteopathy views the patient as a whole, which means not only examining and treating the symptomatic area, but taking a look at the bigger picture to identify potential contributing factors in order to better understand contributing factors to symptoms.
Rather than actively pressing or imposing force onto a body structure (whether it be a joint or soft tissue), osteopathy uses gentle techniques in which the practitioner “𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘨𝘶𝘦𝘴” with the patient & their body to see what approach yields the best amount of relaxation/ release/ softening/ mobility.
If the body tenses up or “fights back”, we change our approach. Think of it as working together rather than forcefully trying to move a tissue or joint. In this respect, osteopathy is very gentle & safe, yet comfortable and typically very relaxing .
Techniques can be specific or global, addressing a single joint or sore spot, or take more of a global approach encompassing working on a linked connection, for example, in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, treating along a neural pathway from, say, the neck, down the arm to the hand, while addressing joint mobility and tissue tension.
Osteopathic practitioners are well trained in anatomy & physiology and consider the various interrelationships within the body, including the embryological development & connections.
Keep in mind that within similar professions, individual practitioners may have different approaches based on when & where they studied, their personal preferences and clinical experiences, continuing education interests, and beliefs & biases.
It can be difficult to put into words to describe what a hands-on treatment feels like, best way to find out is to give it a try for yourself and see!