Osteopaths use their hands to treat patients employing a wide variety of techniques.
Osteopathy takes a holistic approach, treatment is tailored to suit the needs of each patient according to their age, symptoms and past medical history. Within each treatment session the techniques used are modified and adapted to achieve the desired results. Some of the techniques are described below in more detail.
Soft Tissue Massage
This includes a variety of different massage techniques to the muscles and connective tissues of the body. Soft tissue massage can be superficial or deep, fast or slow depending on which tissues are being targeted and the changes that are being encouraged.
Articulation of a joint involves moving a joint through a range of movement. When you move a joint such as your knee when walking, the muscle around the joint contracts to enable the joint to move. When an osteopath takes a joint through a range of movements the muscles can remain relaxed (passive) as the osteopath takes the strain and initiates the movement. This technique of passive articulation can be used to stretch tight muscles around a joint, ease out scar tissue or stretch the capsule of the joint. Passive articular techniques improve blood supply, help reduce swelling and increase drainage.
High Velocity Thrust
This is the technique where patients hear a clicking sound. It is a useful technique that can be used in certain cases of joint restriction and it is referred to as “manipulation of a joint.” When this technique is used on the small facet joints in the spine it creates a reflex effect that relaxes the deep small muscles around the joint. The clicking noise is a result of a suction type pop as the joint surfaces are momentarily separated .The noise is not an indication of a bone or disc being put back into place. This can be a quick, efficient and dramatic technique but is not suitable in all cases and only forms a small part of an overall treatment session.
Functional techniques are ideal for using on inflamed joints or when muscles are hypertonic (too tight or in spasm). The osteopath guides the joint through a series of small movements until a point of balance is reached and the muscles are able to let go
Cranial Osteopathic Technique
This technique is a subtle type of osteopathic treatment that uses very gentle pressure from the osteopath’s hand or fingers to encourage the release of stresses throughout the body, including the head. Patients may feel sensations of pressure or warmth, either under the osteopath’s hands or elsewhere. Most patients find cranial osteopathy deeply relaxing.
A combination of these techniques will be used, chosen for the patients individual requirements. Every Osteopath works in a slightly different way and its important to find the Osteopath who suits your personal preference in treatment style. However all approaches are equally effective.
Our reception team are happy to discuss any treatment styles with you and they will advise you on which Osteopath will suit your personal needs. Our Osteopaths each have areas of personal interest, further qualifications and continued professional development. From Paediatrics to Sports Injuries and Orthopaedics. Please see our team section to see who might be the Osteopath for you.