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Osteopathy: Putting Things Back Together

Osteopathy, as we know it today, was originally developed by Andrew Taylor Still, an American physician, who, after witnessing many preventable deaths, forged a different path in medicine. Osteopathy is a complementary method to allopathic conventional medicine by employing gentle manipulations of the musculoskeletal system (Burns & Burns, 1997). The whole-body approach to wellness supports an individual’s self-regulatory systems. As the body adapts to new information, its capacity to return to balance grows (Bezilla, 1997; Korotkov et al., 2012).

The rationale behind osteopathy’s effectiveness to whole person care: Osteopathy helps the body return back to proper alignment. In addition, a typical osteopathic treatment improves the level of relaxation—through lowering cortisol levels.  The body is now better equipped to maintain homeostasis of all organ systems. When the musculature relaxes, so, too, does the sympathetic nervous system, relieving destressed adrenal glands and concomitant high blood pressure. Of course, these physiological states are so prevalent in modern stressed societies (Handoll, 2004; Henley et al., 2008). 

Additionally, lymphatic flow improves because osteopathic manipulations help release blockages.  Toxins and waste products are now more easily processed. Blood circulation increases allowing micronutrients and oxygen to be more effectively delivered to cells.  

When the body is properly aligned and functioning optimally, we feel better. A growing body of research suggests osteopathy is a fantastic way to decrease stress, restore the body to its natural function, and increase healing  (Korotkov et al., 2012). It’s a powerful aid to many health concerns —everything from managing hormonal changes during pregnancy to treating chronic pain. Osteopathy can be thought of as addressing many complaints all at once, compared to taking a drug for pain, a drug for stress, and another drug for hypertension. It’s clear which option offers you the most freedom to help you thrive. 

What I love about osteopathy is that it is a noninvasive, drug-free treatment option (aka., no risk of addition, surgical complications, or side effects). It is rarely contraindicated with any other potential treatments. Patients at SF Advanced Health have seen dramatic results through the amazing care received by osteopath Julie Duggan B.Sc. 

 

What to Expect From Your First Osteopathy Appointment

First and foremost, osteopathy is an art. It’s performed by palpating or physically exploring the deep and surface tissues of the body with the practitioner’s hands, feeling for feedback in one’s back, shoulders, and joints. This is sometimes referred to as “listening.” When things sound good, the practitioner moves on to the next area. When there are disturbances in the flow of “sound” the osteopathic practitioner knows how to put back what has fallen out of place.

A practitioner usually looks for specific qualities in the tissues being explored, such as congestion, density, dehydration, scarring, stiffness, loss of resilience, and motility, an infinitesimal quality of movement inherent to all living tissues, which informes the practitioner about those tissues’ underlying status or condition. This is an art that takes years of practice.

 

What Our Patients Are Saying

“Julie has been great in helping me get back on track post-concussion. Andrew, the acupuncturist at SF Advanced Health, referred me to Julie as I started to get worried that my injury might also have spinal-related issues from the whiplash.  Julie’s therapy has been very helpful. She does a great job of listening to your symptoms, taking notes, and explaining the work as she's doing it.” - Audrey 

Are you considering osteopathic treatment for managing your chronic pain, easing your transition into pregnancy, aiding in relaxation, or ridding yourself of underlying tension? 



Dr. Bhandari and the Advanced Health Team Are Here to Support Your Health.

Our expert team of integrative holistic practitioners work with patients suffering from chronic health concern.  We help our patients reverse disease by better understanding how the body optimally functions and providing personalized treatment plan.  To learn more and book an osteopath appointment, contact Advanced Health.

References

Bezilla, T. A. (1997). In theory traditional osteopathy as an integrated model of holistic medicine. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 3(2), 140-144.

Burns, S. B., & Burns, J. L. (1997). Andrew Taylor Still, MD: founder of osteopathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 3(3), 213-214.

Handoll, N. (2004). Energy medicine: an osteopath's personal view. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 10(1), 87-89.

Henley, C. E., Ivins, D., Mills, M., Wen, F. K., & Benjamin, B. A. (2008). Osteopathic manipulative treatment and its relationship to autonomic nervous system activity as demonstrated by heart rate variability: a repeated measures study. Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care, 2(1), 7.

Korotkov, K., Shelkov, O., Shevtsov, A., Mohov, D., Paoletti, S., Mirosnichenko, D., ... & Robertson, L. (2012). Stress reduction with osteopathy assessed with GDV electrophotonic imaging: effects of osteopathy treatment. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(3), 251-257.

Richardson, J. (2001). Developing and evaluating complementary therapy services: part 2. Examining the effects of treatment on health status. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 7(4), 315-328.

White, K. (1996). Manual therapies: Advances in osteopathy, chiropractic, massage, and other techniques. Alternative and complementary Therapies, 2(1), 9-15.

Author
Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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