Principles Behind Osteopathic Treatment

Osteopathic treatment is not merely about the techniques; it is a philosophy of healthcare based on guiding principles. Osteopathy is a vast art and science that is open to many interpretations but there are a set of core principles that expresses our distinctiveness as Osteopaths.

This post is a summary of Stephen Paulus’s article in the Internal Journal of Osteopathic Medicine.These core principles are the basis of osteopathic assessment and treatment.

Now that I have your attention, here are 5 core principles:

1. Human beings function holistically “We look at the body in health as meaning perfection and harmony, not in one part, but as the whole”

2. The body has the ability to heal itself or adapt, in the presence of disease or injury

If we as Osteopaths can remove the obstructions that cause disease and support the conditions that promote healing, then nature’s chemistry, drug store, and remedies can perform the necessary actions to restore equilibrium at whatever level is possible for that individual patient.

3. Structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) are interrelated

From a clinical perspective, we utilise the interrelationship between structure and function to inform Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.

4. Palpation is essential

The science of Osteopathy cannot exist without knowing and understanding the intricacies of anatomy.

5. The musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, and connective tissues) impacts the overall health of an individual

Bones as well as muscles and connective tissues form a mechanical scaffolding and provide an essential portal, or handle, allowing access to other tissues and body functions.

These core principles also make osteopathy distinct from physiotherapy, chiropractic and other manual therapies.

Look out for the next post.

See you soon


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Osteopath and Medical Acupuncturist. Based in Thurrock and Havering.

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