What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a manual mode of treatment aiming at the correction of Normal body mobility, the principle being that if body tissues are flexible no pains and aches will occur. Loss of mobility can manifest itself in backaches, neckaches, abdominal pains, headaches, mental disorder or a bad posture.

Loss of mobility can be caused by external forces or by processes in the body itself. Overburdening of the body tissues is the main cause. Too much external force affects the quality of body tissue which leads to its stiffening (sclerosis), e.g. after a bad fall, bruising, after an operation, a fracture, sometimes even after an extensive dental treatment. Difficulties during child-birth or a vacuum delivery during which the baby’s skull has suffered some injury can also lead to loss of mobility. Processes of body stiffness or sclerosis: Genetics. Some families have a coarser build Inflammations of tissues can leave scars Overburdening of the abdominal system (from bad eating habits) Can cause the heaping up of residual products, thus causing sclerosis of the abdominal tissue Long lasting stress influences kidneys and suprarenal glands and intestines. Anxiety is also a cause of stiffening of the body tissue We often see that physical complaints occur at a different spot from the primary cause and also that there can be a considerable period of time between cause and complaint. A few examples: A fall on the sacrum can, after some time, be the cause of headaches or dizziness Abdominal operations can cause problems of the bowel movement or backaches, headaches, neck- and shoulder aches Osteopathy is a complementary remedy to regular medical treatment. It is based on the mutual relationship between anatomy, physiology and embryology, just as normal medical practice. Osteopathy distinguishes three systems: The parietal, the visceral and the cranosacral system.

The parietal system of osteopathy. The parietal system is about the moving parts of the human body, consisting of the spine, the limbs and all their joints, muscles and ligaments. Pains in the moving parts can be caused by loss of mobility of the organs of locomotion (of: moving parts of the body) by accidents, infections, chronical diseases (such as rheumatisms), or overburdening of the system. Osteopaths examine the whole system of locomotion and try to relate the result to the loss of mobility and then treat these limitations, if necessary. The visceral system is formed by the internal organs and their suspension system, arteries and lymphatic glands, e.g. in the throat-, chest- and abdominal cavities.

Visceral system of osteopathy. Each organ has a certain mobility in connection with its structure, suspension system and embryological development. Their movements are primarily unconscious (lungs, heart and intestines); there are also involuntary movements caused by the diaphragm. Apart from respiration the diaphragm has a pumping function for the intestinal organs, which stimulates the circulation of the blood and improve the bowel function. Loss of this mobility may be the cause complaints concerning the organs of locomotion, the skull and, naturally, the organ itself.

Craniosacral system of osteopathy. The craniosacral system i ncludes the skull (cranium), the spinal complex from cranium to sacrum (sacred bone) with its nerve system and circulation of fluids. The cranium consists of 20 different pieces of bone, separated by cranial sutures. This gives the skull some flexibility and remodelling facilities. Its movements are not visible but, to a trained osteopath, they are tangible. Fixation of the skull bones, caused e.g. by falling, giving birth, an ear infection, can lead to complaints, which not only make themselves manifest locally but also at other places in the body