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History of Osteopathy and Osteopathic medicine

Osteopathy is actually a system of alternative medicalpractice and an entire philosophy founded by A.T. Still in 1874. Thisalternative type of medicine focuses on the relationship between the functionof the body and its structure and it also puts a strong emphasis on the body’sability to heal itself. The osteopathic practitioner needs to facilitate theprocess described above. This alternative type of medicine even went that farto have its own World Osteopathic Health Organization.

Osteopathic Principles

The philosophy of osteopathy is a specific concept whichprovides a completely different type of health care. It relies on the unity ofthe human body’s function and structure so it actually tends to unite itsanatomy and physiology. There are four basic principles of osteopathy which arethe starting point for the entire approach to medical practice. The firstprinciple is that the human body is an integrated unit of spirit, body andmind. The second principle of osteopathy says that the human body containscertain mechanisms of self regulations which provide it with potent capacitiesto remodel, repair and defend itself. The principle provides us with the factthat the aforementioned unity of function and structure is interrelated in areciprocal manner. There is a rational type of therapy included in the fourthprinciple of osteopathy which is based on the first three principles and itunites them. There are different types of techniques which are commonlyutilized in the osteopathic treatment. The basic classification includes fourdifferent types of methods and those are active methods, passive method, directmethod and indirect method. Active method involves the voluntary performance ofa motion directed by an osteopathic practitioner. Passive method of osteopathictreatment requires the patient to refrain from any voluntary types of musclecontractions. Direct method of osteopathic treatment utilizes a restrictivebarrier for the correction of Somatic dysfunctions. Indirect method involvesthe disengagement of the restrictive barrier. One umbrella term is used for thetherapeutic application of all manually guided forces applied by an osteopathicphysician and that is osteopathic manipulative treatment. Somatic dysfunctionsinclude various alterations of the neural, lymphatic, vascular elements andmyofascial, arthrodial and skeletal structures inside the human body. Acutecases of Somatic dysfunctions are easily characterized by certain symptoms suchas tissue contractions, painful sensations, tenderness, edema and vasodilation,among others. Chronic cases of Somatic dysfunctions are completely differentand they are mostly characterized by their own set of symptoms which usuallyincludes tissue contractions, paresthesias, fibrosis, itching and tenderness atthe affected areas of the body. There are a large number of manual therapiesutilizes by osteopathic practitioners but the most commonly employed techniquesinclude a range of different motion techniques, sports energy techniques, PNFtechniques, soft tissue therapy techniques, osteo-articular joint mobilizationtechniques, myofascial release techniques, muscle energy techniques, mandibulardrainage techniques, inhibitory pressure techniques, high velocity/lowamplitude techniques, counterstrain techniques, craniosacral therapy techniques,balanced ligamentous tension release techniques and articulatory techniques.Osteopathic practitioners are known for dealing with a vast array of differentsorts of medical conditions, but among the most common ones are pulmonaryinfections, menstrual pain, middle ear infections in children and asthma inboth children and adults. Osteopathic methods of treatment may also be of greathelp for all those who suffer from various different types of infections anddegenerative conditions.

Osteopathy around the World

During the years the osteopathic medical practice has evolveinto two distinct branches and those are represented by a full scope of medicalpractice osteopathic physicians on one side and non-physician manual medicineosteopaths on the other. There are various associations all around the worldwhich represent the osteopathic profession and teach people who to use themproperly. One cannot become a licensed or registered osteopathic practitioneranywhere in the United States. In the United States, osteopathic medicineinvolves becoming a physician which is fully trained in and entitled to thefull scope of regular medical practice. There is a college of Osteopathy inCanada which was opened in 1981. Since then, there were six more which followedits example. There are also testing centers and the Canadian Manual OsteopathyExamining Board which deal with the establishment of high standards ofexcellence when it comes to education and the profession of osteopathy. Thereis also a long history of the practice of osteopathy in the United Kingdom. Itgot its first school of osteopathy back in 1917, which was opened in London bya man called John Martin Littlejohn. The UK now has its General OsteopathicCouncil. The good news is that the courses in osteopathy have been integratedinto the university system in the United Kingdom. There are also a large numberof recognized associations which deal with osteopathy in Australia, NewZealand, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and several othercountries of the European Union.

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