What Is Osteopathy and How Does It Work?

What Is Osteopathy and How Does It Work?

Here’s everything you need to know about the century-old treatment

Looking to try osteopathy for the first time? In collaboration with The Round Clinic, we break down all you need to know before your first session.

Defining Osteopathy

Developed by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in the 1870s, osteopathic medicine or osteopathy is a medical practice that focuses on the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. It follows a “whole-person” approach, operating under the principle that all of our body’s systems are interrelated. Everything from our bones, muscles, joints, ligaments and tissues must work in total harmony in order for us to attain optimum health. Thus, rather than focusing solely on an injured or affected area, osteopaths examine a person’s overall well-being and work towards treating the body holistically.

Photo from @101medcentre

How It Works

Osteopaths use physical manipulation and hands-on techniques such as stretching and massaging to detect and treat injuries or diseases. The goal of osteopathy is to set the body on a path towards natural healing by relieving muscle tension, improving mobility and enhancing blood circulation.

A typical osteopathy session starts off with a full assessment which includes a physical examination of the patient. Once problem areas are successfully identified, the osteopath will then recommend a personalised treatment plan.

Osteopathic vs. Chiropractic Medicine

Like osteopathy, chiropractic medicine is non-invasive and uses no drugs to treat patients. While both utilize physical techniques, what sets them apart from one another is their approach. Osteopathy, as mentioned, takes into consideration a person’s overall health and well-being. Chiropractic medicine, on the other hand, tends to zero in on one problem area — typically relating to the spine — and focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of that area.

In addition, osteopaths are licensed physicians that carry the title Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). Chiropractors do not hold medical degrees.

Photo by @louisecazalsosteo

Osteopathy and Pilates

Although Pilates is more commonly known as a fitness routine, it has been steadily gaining acceptance among the medical community as a part rehabilitation programmes. According to the London College of Osteopathy and Health Sciences, manual osteopathy a perfect fit for both classical and contemporary Pilates. 

“There are many similarities between the two disciplines, both believing in the self-healing capacity of the human body. As a corrective form of exercise, Pilates builds core strength, flexibility and body awareness.” Osteopathy, meanwhile, aims to find a ‘weak link” in the musculoskeletal system and works on removing the ‘somatic lesion’ by applying a set of manipulative techniques specific to manual osteopathy.

Osteopathy Today

Today, Osteopathy is used to treat numerous health conditions among a range of individuals from infants, pregnant women, injured athletes and the elderly. Low back pain, neck pain, cervicogenic headaches, asthma, shingles and temporomandibular joint or TMJ dysfunction are just some of the conditions commonly treated by osteopathy. Those experiencing restricted mobility or postnatal postural problems may also opt to seek osteopathic treatment.

Click here for more details about Flex Studio and The Round Clinic’s Pilates and Osteopathy / Physiotherapy packages. 

Photo by @muscleandboneclinic

The Round Clinic

One Island South, 6/F, 602-603, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang

+852 2648 2612 [email protected] 

Mon – Fri: 9.00am to 6.30pm Sat: 9am to 1pm 


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