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Osteopathic Manual Therapy

"The goal of this technique is to adjust the body's physiology by restoring balance to the circulation of the blood and other body fluids. Manual osteopaths do this by treating the body's inherent biorhythm. They are able to feel this rhythm in the patient's head, spinal cord, and in the sacrum and the rest of the body."

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The philosophy of osteopathic manipulative therapy is that the unity of all body parts and the structure and function are directly connected to one another. Dr. A. T. Still formulated Osteopathy in 1874. He claimed “that a natural flow of blood is health; that disease is the effect of local or general disturbance of the blood; that to excite the nerves causes the muscles to contract and compress the venous flow of blood to the heart and that the bones could be used as levers to relieve pressure on nerves, veins and arteries” (Representative Women of New England, P. 347). Dr. A. T. Still viewed the human body as a machine that when kept in the proper condition it will survive for a long length of time. He felt that there was a strong connection between the skeletal system and organs. Thus, if dysfunction was occurring manipulative therapy could address such dysfunction by adjusting the abnormal structural and functional disorders through setting the body back into proper alignment with the hands of a skilled provider (Tasker, 1916). 

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What is Osteopathy?


"Osteopathy is a manual therapy which aims to improve health across all body structures. In other words, osteopathy considers that there is an interdependence between the structure of the body and the way it functions. The osteopathic approach considers the client totality and uses the body's own ability to self-regulate and heal itself. It can be both preventive and curative, but will not substitute medical attention nor other therapies if necessary or mandated. It is a drug-free, hands-on, non-invasive method of treatment."

Who can benefit from Osteopathic manual therapy?

Baby                             Child               Teenager

            Fertility / Pregnancy /Post-partum

Adult                          Senior                  Athlete

Osteopathic Manual Therapy and the Pregnant or Postpartum Woman:


The whole person is evaluated (mind, body, spirit) and manipulative therapy treatment focuses on any stress that has been placed on the body. This ‘whole person’ perspective should be applied to pregnant women as well, especially since pregnancy brings structural and physiological changes (release of hormones relaxin and progesterone) to house the fetus that is growing inside of the woman's body (Nelson, 2007).


As we all know, pregnancy impacts daily functioning dramatically (for some women, more so, than others). 

As noted above, relaxin is a hormone that is released around week 10 to 12 of pregnancy that causes laxity within the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints to allow for the pelvic girdle to widen in preparation for the birthing process (Tettambel, 2005).


An anterior pelvic tilt also increases lumbar lordosis which in turn increases stretch on the extensor muscles and sacroiliac joints (Tettambel, 2005).


These changes are believed to be a cause of the low back pain and pelvic girdle pain.


The fetus also places increased pressure as the infant grows and descends.


By following the osteopathic principles that the body is self healing and self regulating, manipulative treatment can optimize physiological functioning of a woman's body during pregnancy.


This optimization can alleviate somatic dysfunction and thus improve activities of daily living and quality of life (Kucher & Kucher, 1994).


Pelvic girdle pain and low back pain due to pregnancy is multifactorial. There are many components such as structural-mechanical, respiratory-circulatory, metabolic-immune-endocrine, neurological and behavioral (Chaitow & Jones, 2012). Accurate diagnosis is reliant on individualized evaluation.


Improved motion and function of the neuromuscular system is a goal of osteopathic manipulative therapy with the focus to alleviate pain and somatic dysfunction. The ultimate goal of osteopathic treatment is to improve posture and motion, along with circulation, respiration, metabolic process and neurological balance (Chaitow & Jones, 2012). 

Osteopathic Manual Therapy and the Infant:


Childbirth is one of life’s biggest traumas. In fact, during birth the baby’s skull undergoes very significant pressure due to the narrowness of the pelvis and the force of the pushes. Childbirth can lead to deformations and compressions of the baby’s skull that can later affect the child’s health.

Osteopathy can help with:

  • Premature delivery, C-section delivery, breech delivery, umbilical cord wrapped around the neck, forceps or vacuum, asymmetry of the head and / or body

  • Difficulties breastfeeding

  • Sleeping disorders (difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakening …) or behavioral issues (crying, yelling, hyperactivity, etc …)

  • Regurgitation, gastroesophageal reflux, vomiting

  • Congenital torticollis

  • Obstructed lacrimal duct

  • Forceps, vacuum

  • Suction disorders, swallowing disorders

  • Colic, diarrhea, constipation, poor digestion

  • Strabismus

  • Chronic ENT disorders (bronchitis, rhinitis, otitis …).

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What to expect during your consultation:

Review of your medical history:

This involves an examination of the patient’s background and the analysis of their supportive health file (radiography, CT scan, MRI, etc.). This is how we determine the where, since when and how the issue came about.


Clinical Examination:

The first step in the assessment is a general observation. The practitioner then carries out a series of medical tests (orthopedic, neurological, etc.) if necessary. The last part of the assessment consists of performing osteopathic tests on the different anatomical regions of the body. At the end of these tests, the osteopath provides a specific osteopathic diagnosis to the patient.



The osteopathic manual practitioner will proceed with musculoskeletal, visceral and cranio-sacral treatments, as well as strengthening exercises, all adapted specifically for the patient to correct any imbalances which may be causing discomfort and/or pain.


Post Consultation:

Once the session is over, the practitioner will provide advice and guidance on diet, posture, sports practices, etc. They will also provide you with an osteopathic treatment plan. It is recommended to avoid exercise (sport, DIY projects, excessive activity, etc.) for 48 hours following the session and it is essential to keep well hydrated.

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