What is Osteopathy?

Andrew Taylor Still
Andrew Taylor Still

Osteopathy is a system of drug-free manual therapy developed by Andrew Taylor Still, frontier physician and American Civil War field surgeon, who grew disillusioned with the failure of the conventional medicine of his day and its dependence on addictive and ineffective drugs.

Dr Still’s teachings were based on principles, rather than technique, in contrast to most other manual therapies. His 4 most basic principles were:

  • The body is a unit of function
  • Structure and function are interrelated at all levels
  • The body is self-healing and self-protecting
  • Rational treatment of disease is based on the
    three preceding principles

Osteopathy is arguably the most holistic of all approaches to alleviating pain and the symptoms of disease. It recognizes the mind/body/spirit connections that make us whole. Through gentle manipulation of the spine, joints and soft tissues, Osteopathy frees restrictions and brings into balance muscular, nervous and circulatory flow within the body. Osteopathy teaches that by freeing structural restrictions, the body will function as it should and can thereby heal itself. It is based on the scientific understanding of functional anatomy, neurophysiology and biomechanics.

In Canada, the program to become a Master of Osteopathic Manual Science M(OMSc) requires 4 years of post-graduate study. In the US, the Doctor of Osteopathy is completed as a medical degree and graduates can practice as medical doctors in the US and Canada.

The practice of Osteopathy includes, but is not limited to: Manual Therapy; Craniosacral Therapy; Lymphatic Drainage; Myofascial Release; Muscle Energy Technique; Nutrition.