Osteopathy is a Primary health care system, complementary to other systems of medicine, which views health from a musculo-skeletal perspective and treats by manual therapy rather than medication. It is a Registered profession recognised by government and the medical profession as safe and effective.
It could be described as the art of applying the scientific principles of physiology and understanding of anatomy, using highly developed skills in observation of posture and movement and of ‘palpation’ (examination by touch) to identify and ease areas of dysfunction in the body.
Individual osteopaths work in a wide variety of styles using many and varied techniques but their practice derives from a shared belief in the same founding principles.
1. The body is a functional unit, and the interrelationships between body-systems are so extensive that none can be considered in isolation.
2. There is a relationship between structure and function:
a. The structural integrity of the body is a reflection of the health status of the individual.
b. Changes in function, may lead to changes in structure.
c. Alteration of a structure will cause changes in function.
d. There are many compensatory processes of the body, which accommodate structural/functional changes without necessarily impeding the self-healing mechanisms.
3. The body is naturally self-healing
4. When the self-healing mechanisms are impeded then dysfunction may ensue.
5. The self-healing mechanisms are affected by the potency of the neural pathways and circulatory systems.
6. Loss or reduction of these intrinsic self-healing mechanisms may lead eventually to a pathological state, the precursor of which is a pre-pathological state.
7. Osteopathic management intervenes principally at the pre-pathological stage but may also do so at the pathological stage, to facilitate the inherent self-healing mechanisms, by the balancing of structural-functional reciprocity.
8. An application of osteopathic precepts and principles results in a versatility of treatment approaches, including prevention, specific to the needs of each patient.
9. A dysfunction in one or more systems of the body (musculo/skeletal, visceral, neurological or psychological) might cause or influence a dysfunction in other systems of the body.
10. Osteopathic treatment promotes the optimal function of the neural-musculo-skeletal system, which influences all the systems of the body, including the viscera, which may also be treated directly.
Competences Required for Osteopathic Practice (CROP) 1993