What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a way of treating damaged parts of the body, such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. When the body is balanced and efficient it will function with the minimum of wear, stress and energy and therefore reduced pain and disability. It is the aim of Osteopaths to achieve the best possible balance and most of their work is carried out using their hands.
A wide range of treatment methods are employed according to the age, physique and nature of the problem for each individual. Methods range from soft tissue 'massage' techniques to muscles and ligaments, passive stretching and traction to joints as well as manipulative separation techniques (which patients often feel as a click) to improve joint mobility. Today there are around 4000 osteopaths in the UK performing over 6 million patient consultations per year.
Dr Andrew Taylor-Still was a medical doctor born in 1828 in Virginia USA. He trained as a doctor in a system of medicine that was fairly early in its evolution at the time. He diverted from the paths of many of his peers who were in the habit of administering the crude drugs at their disposal in heroic quantities. He sought a new method of treating illness focusing on influencing the blood supply and nervous control for bodily systems and organs. He developed this as a total system of medicine, which he thought would entirely replace conventional medical treatment. In 1892 he started a school in Kirksville, Missouri for teaching osteopathy and from these beginnings osteopathy came to the UK. The British School of Osteopathy started in London in 1917 and over time other schools and colleges followed.
Over time Dr Taylor-Still's total system of medicine has evolved so that most Osteopaths most commonly treat spinal pain as their primary concern in addition to other musculoskeletal conditions. In addition to this a proportion of osteopaths do hold on to the traditional roots of Dr Taylor-Still more faithfully and as a result treat a wider range of conditions.

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