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Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy, which can be used to diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range musculoskeletal conditions of the spine and extremities it is based on fundamental principles set out by its founder A.T Still.

It is a physical and mental discipline that aims to restore normal structure and function within the body.
Movement is a universal characteristic of life. The osteopathic principles emphasise the importance of restoring lost movement.

Osteopathic Treatment


During a consultation in our Notting Hill Studio the osteopath will take a thorough medical history and physically examine the patient (usually in underwear) using a combination of observation, palpation (sense of touch) and manual testing.

The manual testing will usually include motion testing, orthopaedic tests for specific conditions and neurological tests. Using this information the osteopath can establish whether the patient is safe to treat or whether medical referral is required.

If it is safe to treat the patient, the osteopath can use a wide range of techniques to treat musculoskeletal conditions. These include, but are not limited to soft tissue manipulation/massage, mobilization of joints, stretching and high velocity manipulation.

The high velocity manipulation is the clicking that most people identify with osteopathy. It is in fact only one element of osteopathic practice and is not used for all patients. Osteopaths treat a patient within the context of their life situation to achieve the best results. The evaluation and treatment will therefore consider psychological, emotional and social factors.

How effective is osteopathy

The strongest evidence for the effectiveness of osteopathy comes from research into its effect on acute low-back pain. Low-back pain is by far the most common presentation within osteopathic clinics.
This is probably due to patient perception: many people believe that osteopaths only treat spinally. In fact, osteopaths can treat a wide range of joints, muscles and connective tissues.

There is also evidence that osteopathy combined with exercise therapy can have a statistically significant effect on long-term low-back pain.


Osteopathy Training

In the UK osteopaths are trained for a minimum of 4 years. Their training includes an extensive medical syllabus, which helps the osteopath to acquire a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s physical health on a cellular level.
There is also a substantial pathology module, to ensure that osteopaths are medically safe and have an in-depth knowledge of serious diseases, which can masquerade as musculoskeletal conditions.

This knowledge is essential when making clinical decisions and when considering which medical specialist to refer to, if the patient’s condition is beyond the scope of practice of the osteopath.

The Origins of Osteopathy


The history of osteopathy dates back to 1874 when A.T. Still coined the term in Kirksville, USA.
He was the father of 12 children, six of whom died. This had a profound effect on his beliefs about health and medicine.
This was an era when conventional medicine was using a concoction of harmful chemicals that often did more harm than good. A. T. Still felt there must be a better alternative and he became interested in other forms of natural healing.

He believed that the body had a natural capacity for healing itself and that illness ensued when this ability was interrupted. He thought that the position and mobility of the joint and organs along with free fluid flow and blood supply were the key to restoring the body’s capacity to heal itself.

Although some classical osteopaths believe they can treat systemic illness with manual therapy, most modern osteopaths confine their scope of practice to musculoskeletal conditions.
Osteopathic thinking sees the body as a perfect machine for health and harmony: a treatment should focus not on the disease but rather on helping the body return to its natural state of health, by removing those mechanical impediments.

The structure of any part of the body will govern its function, and the way it functions will affect its structure – they are inextricably linked. Free flow of blood and nerve impulses are essential for health. The osteopath’s aim is to identify mechanical impediments and barriers to normal function and to normalise both structure and function.