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Bellingham Osteopathic Center

Osteopathy Defined

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of health care that uses a hands-on approach to treat the causes of pain or dysfunction. It is a form of natural medicine that focuses on restoring and maintaining the physical well being of your whole body. For the body to remain in good health, all parts must function together properly, as designed and intended. If one part of your body is restricted, the remainder of the body compensates for that restriction and that compensation may lead to stiffness, inflammation, discomfort, pain or infection. Our bodies have an amazing capacity for self-healing. When the body is balanced, just like a well tuned engine, it will perform with minimum wear and tear, leaving more energy for living. Osteopathic treatments help restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Osteopaths recognize that a patient is an integrated whole, thus when the body’s components are in balance, a person feels complete and in total health.

Doctors of Osteopathy

Osteopaths are board-certified physicians–just like your family doctor–that also have specialized expertise in osteopathic manipulation techniques. There is a separate board certification for Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.  See DO vs MD comparison chart.

Proactive Medicine, activating the body’s inherent wisdom

Founded in the late 1800s by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, osteopathic medicine uses non-invasive, manual approach to restoring function, inherent motion, and vitality to bodily tissues compromised by a variety of medical conditions. Neurological and musculoskeletal concerns in particular often respond well to osteopathic medicine. Osteopaths receive specialized training in the body’s musculoskeletal system, providing them with in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. This knowledge combined with a highly skilled sense of touch allows them to identify structural changes and rhythms within the body. Gentle methods are used to encourage the release of stresses and restrictions throughout the body. Osteopaths seek to correct any misalignment of bones, muscles, ligaments or tissues that compromise the body’s balance and self-healing ability.

Osteopathic treatments aim to support the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems in order to correct imbalances that are believed to diminish the body’s ability to heal itself and are at the root cause of discomfort, disease and illness. Most of us have been exposed to physical trauma at some stage in our life. The body may have been able to absorb the effects of an accident at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. Illnesses and emotional trauma can also leave a lasting physical effect. Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses, and symptoms may start to show. Osteopaths are trained to feel subtle, rhythmical change that is present in all body tissues. The impact of injuries and illnesses can cause a wide variety of problems both in the head and in other areas of the body. Osteopaths can feel whether a person is in an optimum state of health, or whether there is something preventing healthy movement of the tissues from occurring.

Osteopathic Techniques

An Osteopathic physician has a deep knowledge of anatomy and physiology, combined with astute palpatory skill, which is dynamically applied to serve the immediate and long term needs of the patient.  At any give time, a variety of techniques may be utilized and integrated.

  • Cranial Osteopathy – focuses on synchronizing the rhythm and fluctuation of the central nervous system and it’s components to treat the whole body
  • Balanced Ligamentous Tension – applying directional pressure to joints and connective tissue
  • High Velocity Low Amplitude (HLVA) manipulation – improving alignment and relieving tension by giving a controlled, decisive push to a specific part of the body
  • Lymphatic mobilization – moving and clearing the fluid in the lymphatic system, which plays an important role in detoxification and immunity
  • Muscle energy – activating certain muscles by flexing them while parts of the body are held in very specific positions
  • Fascia treatment – stretching the “fascia”  that encases and connects our tissues

Osteopathy Treatment Sessions

Osteopathy is safe and extremely effective in treating people of all ages, from babies to the elderly, including pregnant women and people recovering from injuries and surgery. Because each patient is unique, each osteopathy session is unique. A doctor of osteopathy determines the right techniques and order of treatment based on your body’s natural healing mechanisms; your health status and specific concerns; your typical physical, environmental; psychological forces acting upon and within you; and your health goals. To ensure your pain and discomfort is found and treated at its source, you can rely on a comprehensive osteopathic treatment.

Learn how Integrative Osteopathy can help you.  Contact Bellingham Osteopathic Center