Osteopathic manipulative treatment, or OMT, is hands-on care.
It involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMT, your osteopathicphysician will move your muscles and joints using techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance.
“Osteopathy is the knowledge of the structure, relation and function of each part of the human body applied to the correction of whatever interferes with its harmonious operation.” – George V. Webster, D.O., 1921
Osteopathy is based on 4 basic principles:
Each structure in the body supports the body’s functions. If a structure is damaged, out of place, or otherwise not working properly, the body will not function at its best.
The natural flow of the body’s fluids – lymphatic, vascular and neurological – must be preserved and maintained.
The human body is the sum of its parts. Its physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive systems don’t work independently -they work in harmony.
When the body has no restrictions, it has the inherent ability to heal itself.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners recognize that a patient is an integrated whole. When all of the body’s components are in balance, a person is complete and in total health.
In Ontario, practitioners of osteopathy are called ‘Osteopathic Manual Practitioners’ by the Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners maintain, improve or restore the normal physiological function of interrelated body structures and systems, and, enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself. They use various manual assessment and treatment techniques and modalities to help people of all ages and backgrounds, who suffer injury, pain or other health concerns, by easing pain, reducing swelling, improving tissue mobility and promoting efficient healing. Restricted or constricted areas of the body – areas which are not moving normally or are “strangled” or “squeezed” – may exist in the following systems:
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners seek to identify and then gently ease the restrictions or constrictions so the body can function normally again.
Different techniques can be applied in different ways. Although manual techniques are used by various different manual therapy professions, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use and integrate the techniques in a unique way. It is the duration, frequency and choice of technique that make the practice of osteopathy distinctive.
Here are some of the techniques used (some techniques may fall within more than one category) –
Direct techniques – such as articulatory techniques, recoil techniques, soft tissue techniques, muscle energy techniques and general osteopathic treatment
Indirect techniques – such as functional technique, strain-counterstrain and facilitated positional release
Balancing techniques – such as ligamentous tension and ligamentous articulatory strain
Combined techniques – such as myofascial release, fascial unwinding, myotensive techniques, Still technique, exaggeration techniques, cranial techniques, and visceral and neural mobilization
Reflex-based techniques – such as Chapman’s reflexes, trigger points and neuromuscular techniques.
Fluid techniques – such as lymphatic and visceral pump techniques (Source from OAO; Ontario Association of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners)