Philosophy of osteopathy

Osteopathy incorporates the following principles in the management of the patient;

  • The human being is a dynamic unit of function, whose state of health is influenced by the body, mind and spirit;
  • The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms and is naturally self- healing;
  • Structure and function are interrelated at all levels.

Osteopathy incorporates current medical and scientific knowledge to apply these principles to patient care. Scientific plausibility and evidence-based outcomes have a high priority in patient treatment and case management. Osteopathy recognizes that each patient’s clinical signs and symptoms are the consequences of the interaction of multiple physical and non-physical factors. Osteopathy emphasizes the importance of the patient-practitioner relationship in the therapeutic process.

Osteopathy provides a broad range of approaches to the maintenance of health and the management of disease. It embraces the concept of the unity of the individual’s structure (anatomy) and function (physiology); as such osteopathy is a patient centered system of health care, rather than disease centered.

Essential components of osteopathy are structural diagnosis and osteopathic manual treatment. Osteopathic treatment was developed as a means to facilitate normal self-regulating/self-healing mechanisms in the body by addressing areas of tissue strain, stress or dysfunction which may impede normal neural, vascular and biochemical mechanisms.

The practical application of the philosophy is described by several models of structure-function relationships that osteopathic practitioners use to influence the gathering of diagnostic information and the interpretation of the significance of neuromusculoskeletal findings in the overall health of the patient. As such osteopathy is not limited to the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal problems, nor does it emphasize joint alignment and radiographic evidence of structural relationships. Osteopathy is more concerned with the manner in which the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system are integrated with and support the entire body physiology.

Although manual techniques are used by various manipulative professions the unique manner in which osteopathic manipulative techniques are integrated into patient management, as well as the duration, frequency and the choice of technique are distinctive aspects of osteopathy. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) employs many types of manipulative techniques including spinal thrust, and impulse techniques as well as very gentle techniques.

Refining a structural approach: application and treatment

This course has been created to explore and refine the application of structural technique, with particular reference to high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) manipulation applied to all areas of the axial skeleton. It will be predominantly practical based to give you plenty of opportunity to practice and develop the skills.

More details

At an undergraduate level, techniques are taught as if a particular technique can be applied in the same way and be effective on all patients. In reality this is not the case, each will require small adaptations in order to be effective. Our aim is to explain the logic and rationale behind each of the techniques, so from a point of understanding you will be able to make these specific adaptations and thus improve your abilities in this area.

All the thrust techniques utilised within this course will be ‘soft locking’ techniques. These are techniques based on the ‘floating field’ concepts of tensegrity and involve a minimal locking method utilising precise application. This improves both the comfort of application for the patient and possibly more importantly, the safety of the technique.

Our starting point is your aims, level and experience. We will draw on your exiting skills and understanding in both the direct and indirect fields of osteopathy and work together to tailor the practical application to your individual needs. So, whether you are an experienced manipulator looking to refine your skills or are largely practicing with the indirect approaches (or are a relative novice) and want to learn how to apply HVLA, we will be able to accommodate this.

As well as addressing the refinement of specific techniques we will explore different variations of the techniques and discuss the when or why one should apply a particular technique rather than another for you to gain a greater confidence in the domain of structural osteopathy.

Though the structural field is the main emphasis of this course, many of the concepts discussed will be relevant within any of the osteopathic modalities of treatment.

The course will be limited to a small group (14 participants) in order to fulfil our aim of improving every aspect of your structural work.

Indicative Content

During practical part, we will explore a range of soft locking HVLA techniques and their variations ( as below).

Will also explore the challenging aspect of treatment planning and holistic approach, looking at models that will support you in understanding patients and his/her problems (different osteopathic concepts, elements of PNI, differentia diagnosis etc), which will give you, as a therapist, the greatest possibility to be able to reflect retrospectively on what went as expected and what did not, which should assist your future development as an osteopath.

  • Cervical
  • Cervical ‘wheel’ (Supine) – direct and indirect
  • Sitting cervical
  • Prone cervical
  • Occiput /C1 – direct and indirect
  • Cervico thoracic / CD
  • Prone (from the side and from the head with modifications for vertebrae and upper ribs)
  • Side lying CD (both upper thoracic and upper rib application)
  • Thorax
  • Dog [supine] thorax technique (for ribs and vertebrae)
  • Lift techniques both vertebra and ribs ( for C/D, upper thoracic, and low thoracic and lumbar both sitting and standing)
  • Lumbo sacral
  • Lumber sideroll – direct and indirect with modifications for lumbar spine, iliosacral (anterior/posterior and outflair) and sacroiliac or sidelying sacrum
  • Sacral toggle
  • Leg tug (for S/I, L/S, and lower extremity)

Jon completed his osteopathic training at the ESO (1989) and an MSc in Osteopathy (2004) Jon is a qualified lecturer with a PGCHE and an MA in education research and is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), He has been working in osteopathic education since 1989 and has taught throughout Europe on a regular basis at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels since then. Having worked at the European school of Osteopathy for 25 years he has been working purely freelance for the last five years. Recently he is the cofounder of the Institute for Postgraduate Osteopathy (IPOE). He is the co-author of Osteopathy: Models for Diagnosis, Treatment and Practice. Currently he divides his time equally between osteopathic practice and lecturing.

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