Does Osteopathy Work? What you Need to Know about this Holistic Treatment

When you hear the word Osteopathy, you may think it sounds like the study of ancient reptilian giants, or perhaps some sort of creepy psychotic condition that involves collecting bones.

But you would be wrong on both these accounts because Osteopathy is actually an all-natural, sans-drug, non-invasive therapy that involves improving your health across the body by manually manipulating and strengthening the framework of your musculoskeletal system by focusing on muscles, joints and the spine.

These treatments, done by hand, from clinics like Moreland Road Clinic Osteopathy have shown the possibility of creating improvement in the body’s nervous, lymphatic and circulatory systems.

A Complementary Therapy

Osteopathy has been described as a complementary therapy, meaning that it can be engaged with simultaneously while receiving the more conventional medicine. Even so, osteopathic doctors are also experienced medical doctors who have more education than other therapists whose work is also described as complementary, like naturopaths.

Does Osteopathy work? Like anything in science and medicine, that has to be shown through quantitative analysis, such as tests and research, but if you want to determine its effectiveness for yourself, you might consider trying it. Either way, it’s one of the quickest growing fields in medicine, which indicates that it probably has some positive effects on patients.

Here Are Some Informative Details About Osteopathy:

  • Osteopathy is drug-free and non-invasive.
  • Osteopathy focuses on health through a holistic lens, not just by treating the affected or injured part of your body.
  • The muscles, spine and joints are the focus of osteopathic treatment.
  • Osteopathic intervention has been shown to effectively deal with arthritis, back pain, tennis and golf elbow, digestive problems, posture, and even headaches. That’s a wide array of negative symptoms that can be effectively treated with one simple, drug-free methodology!
  • The circulatory, lymphatic and nervous symptoms can be treated with osteopathy.
  • Sleep issues can be corrected with osteopathy.

So What Is This Thing, Anyway?

All these amazing benefits probably have you asking: what is osteopathy? As we mentioned, osteopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that takes the whole body into consideration.

The techniques of osteopathy are hands-on and have been shown to increase circulation, body movement, and other medical concerns, without the use of medications or invasive surgeries.

An osteopathic specialist uses manual methods to put all the body’s systems into a good working balance, effectively providing overall wellbeing and good health, rather than just focusing on one area. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is the official name for the diagnosis and usage of techniques within the framework of osteopathy. Some of the techniques used by the Osteopathic physician include gentle pressure, resistance and stretching.

If necessary, an osteopathic specialist may give prescriptions for drug and use surgical procedures to support the process of his or her holistic, hands-on treatment of the client.

As we mentioned, it’s hard to qualify if osteopathy works on the whole, but in any case, it will only work if you visit a qualified osteopath. People choosing an osteopath must also make sure that the physician is qualified by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).


Osteopathy is a patient-centred practice and an early session will precede any active treatment. During this session, the patient’s health issues will be discussed as the physician listen, and take notes.

If there are signs of a displaced disk or other serious condition, the osteopath may suggest imaging tests and possibly direct the patient toward receiving more conventional medical treatment, such as medication or surgery.

The Game Plan

During your physical examination, you might need to do simple movements and stretches to help the osteopath assess your mobility and posture. They will also analyze the health of your ligaments, tissues and joints, using a particular touch-technique called palpation, which requires a high degree of training.

The osteopathic physician will offer a treatment program, which will likely contain the number of consultations that is likely needed, although this number may go up or down, depending on how the patient’s body reacts to treatment.

Osteopathy also emphasizes the process of engaged self-healing, therefore, an osteopathic specialist may also suggest the patient make changes in their diet, exercise (or lack thereof) and lifestyle. The guidance and hand-work of the physician are supposed to be gentle, but a patient may feel pain for a day or two following treatment.

Osteopaths v. Chiropractors

A chiropractor can also cure issues with your back, but the chiropractor focuses more on the location of the joints and spine and is more likely to “crack” or “pop” them, while an osteopathic specialist doesn’t normally engage in such a methodology. Another difference is that a chiropractor will usually focus on an exact problematic part, while an osteopathic specialist looks at holistically.

Preventative Benefits of Osteopathy

The preventative advice of the osteopath can involve recommendations regarding:

  • stretching
  • posture
  • lifting techniques
  • reducing stress
  • breathing

The techniques they offer for preventative measures can help develop posture and decrease soreness. For example, lifting with the legs and stretching before a workout can both reduce damage. Lifestyle changes can also noticeably recover health and decrease ongoing health risks and charges associated with treatment, resulting in more active and enjoyable time, less time off work for injuries, and the choice to enjoy a healthy and sound body and lifestyle.

Side Benefits of Osteopathic Treatment

Discomfort and pain can cause lack of sleep, but osteopathy can help address these problems. Studies have also revealed that osteopathic treatment of infants with sleep apnea can reduce this condition, although further study is required.

Osteopathic treatments can also provide holistic healing and promote the health of the circulatory, lymphatic and nervous systems, as well as improving overall health and body function.


As with any treatment, there are certain risks that may be associated with osteopathy. Many patients will feel stiff or sore for one or two days after treatment, similar to how they might feel after exercising. Some have experienced brief headaches. More elderly patients may feel pain, numbness, tingling, and possible bone fracture in osteoporosis patients. If any of these serious symptoms appear, the patient must consult the osteopath or their primary care doctor. Other more serious risks include stroke, radiating pain, nerve damage, bowel or bladder problems, muscle weakness, and prolapsed disks—all of which are unusual, but should still be noted.


We hope this article was informative on the process and benefits of osteopathy. While clinical research is always needed to accurately qualify the success rate of a particular treatment, many patients have found a path to great holistic health through osteopathy, and you can too! Just speak to your primary physician about a referral to a qualified osteopath, or you might even consider referring yourself.