Osteopathy is an increasingly popular approach for chronic pain. Osteopathy aims to restore homeostasis; that is to say, the balance of the human body using manual techniques. It differs from other therapies through its global vision of the individual.
Indeed, the osteopath assesses the patient from head to toe regardless of the site of pain or symptomatic region. It assesses posture, the skull, and the internal membranes, without neglecting the emotional side and nutrition of the patient.
Treatments last about 45 minutes and the osteopath can work on three different levels: structural, membranous or fluid. The structural level is well-known because a majority of health professionals work on this level (chiropractors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, etc.). It includes the techniques of spinal or peripheral manipulation (cracking), joint mobilization techniques, and other different techniques such as muscle pulling.
Osteopaths also work on internal membranes (the peritoneum, fascia, dura, etc.) that line the inside of the body. During emotional stress, strained membranes often can explain the patient’s pain when they haven’t actually suffered any physical trauma. A level of mastery is essential to achieving balance in the membranous level to halt several kinds of chronic pain and ensure lasting results.
Finally, the fluid level can instead be called the “energy level”. Indeed, the osteopath does not perceive the movement of fluids inside the body, but the motility of various organs. Motility is the ability of a single body to move, that is to say the movement’s energy development in embryology.
For example, in embryology (formation of the fetus), the stomach undergoes rotational movement to the right around the gut in its implementation. The osteopath then will administer a right rotational movement of the stomach when he applies his hands over the stomach. Using his hands on different organs or structures of the human body, an experienced osteopath is able to detect a point of slowing down in a specific region of the body’s energy level. This perception by the hands is very difficult to develop and needs a lot of practice before you get there.
To better understand energy levels, I will use the following image: A garden hose twisted is unto itself. To achieve an untwisting of the same, you can manually take the hose and turn it in the opposite direction until it is completely unwound (structural technique).
You could also just increase the water pressure inside the hose by opening further the supply valve. The increased water pressure will be sufficient to untwist itself and unroll the hose.
Energy technologies that are used by osteopaths and acupuncturists are very effective. These gentle techniques may seem esoteric to some people, but when properly applied, they can make a difference in the quality of life of a patient.
However, as in every profession, there are good and not-so-good professionals. It’s best not to judge an entire profession based solely on the acts of one professional. A good osteopath should master all three levels and apply them in turn in each of his treatments. This is not always the case! Some choose to work on only one level in particular because they are not proficient at other levels, or simply because of their personal beliefs.
Thus each osteopath works according to his beliefs and his vision of the human body in his own manner. Ultimately, remember that the only thing that matters is the outcome of treatment.
If you have not obtained a significant improvement in symptoms after 5 visits, you should consult another professional. This advice should always be applied regardless of the professional you choose.