What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a manual form of medical discipline. The therapy aims at tracing the causes of the complaints and consequently treating them. Loss of motion of the locomotor apparatus, of organs or the nervous system make the body function more difficultly. This may cause many kinds of symptoms. With gentle manual techniques and possibly mild manipulations the osteopath improves the mobility, through which the complaints that caused the loss of mobility, may disappear.
Osteopathy is suitable for every age group. Babies, children as well as older people may profit from osteopathic treatment. A list of all indications would be getting too far. You had better contact an osteopath in your neighbourhood.
Osteopathy is also pre-eminently suitable for the prevention of complaints, because the osteopath is able to detect loss of motion which can lead to complaints at a later moment. After all prevention is better than cure.

In the diagnosis and treatment there are four very important principles:

Our body is a unit

Every tissue has an influence on its surroundings. So loss of motion of a part of your body may lead to complaints in an other area. Therefore interaction is also possible among the three major systems of our body: locomotor apparatus, organs and nervous system. Because of this it is important for the osteopath to look beyond your complaint alone.

Our body always tries to function as optimally as possible

Not every loss of motion causes complaints. At all times our body tries to adapt to loss of motion. This compensation makes it possible for us to keep functioning as optimally as possible. Only when our body is no longer able to adapt, do we have complaints. Therefore with many complaints more motion restrictions occur that can cause or maintain a complaint. Only by treating all motion restrictions that have an influence on your complaint, this complaint will effectively disappear. Such treatment can also prevent complaints to recur. So an osteopath does not only treat symptoms. Treating the cause or causes makes osteopathy in may cases an effective discipline.

Life is motion and motion is life

The words of the founding father of osteopathy, Dr. A.T. Still, were very important and proved their value: “LIFE IS MOTION”. Life is motion and EVERYTHING must move in the body in order to live. This applies to major motions of our entire body, but certainly as well for minor motions within a joint, organ or of those of the nervous system. As soon as there is a region with loss of motion, a new ‘territory’ comes into being that is easily liable to a disorder or complaint.

Each part of our body must be well cared for

Loss of motion, independent of the exact place in our body, can be the cause of a deteriorated functioning of that area. It can lead to a shortage of nutrients or an accumulation of waste products in the area of the loss of motion. In osteopathy this principle is called “the arterial rule”. In this way an area with loss of motion becomes a ‘domain’ that is vulnerable. Therefore in treating the patient the osteopath makes the loss of motion ‘free’, so that everything in the body can be well cared for. Adequate care of all tissues in our body is of major importance to be cured of a complaint or disorder.



What is the origin of osteopathy?

Osteopathy originates from the previous century. It was developed by the American physician Dr. Andrew Taylor Still (1828 – 1917). After his training as a classical regular physician he kept an interest in the study of the structure and the functioning of the human body. He acted in the same way as an engineer studying the mechanics of a machine. His inexhaustible work was aimed at proving that the human body can suffer from mechanic defects within the various body systems that can cause sickness at a later moment.
In 1892 he founded “the American School of Osteopathy” and by this he laid the basis for modern manual medicine. In America osteopathy has been recognized by law since 1966 and integrated in the regular medical training. Via Great Britain and France osteopathy has spread to Europe.
In the Netherlands osteopathy is rather young. Nevertheless there are more and more people who consult an osteopath. In 2000 the Netherlands Register of Osteopaths had 151 member-osteopaths. Nowadays there are no less than 400 registered osteopaths in the Netherlands. Osteopathy is slowly becoming well-known. The more so since the quality is monitored by the NRO. When you consult a registered osteopath, you are assured of a qualified and reliable health care practitioner, who is more and more recognised and appreciated.
More information about osteopathy is available on the website of the Netherlands Association of Osteopathy.