What are Manual Osteopaths?

Manual osteopaths specialize in alternative medicine, focusing on musculoskeletal system to promote natural healing using hands-on techniques.
manual osteopath

Medicine continues to trend toward a more holistic approach – a move that views the body as a whole rather than examining individual parts. Manual Osteopaths and their practices coincide with this approach. Let us explain!

According to Stephen McPhee, a Manual Osteopath, there are 3 main guiding principles in Osteopathy. These 3 principles are:

The Body is One Functional Unit

The body moves as whole and functions as a whole. We often break down the body into individual systems – think the circulatory system, the nervous system, the muscle system, the digestive system, and so on. Yet, if one of these systems breaks down, it impacts other systems as well.

For example, if your body fails to pump blood throughout your body efficiently, all the other systems will fail to function at their full potential. Another example: if you experience tightness in your neck it can surprisingly begin to affect your digestive system as well.

A Manual Osteopath tackles individual problems from looking at the body as a whole. They take into account, not just the area of complaint – but other areas showing limitations or dysfunctions.

Dysfunctional movement patterns are common in today’s society. Good posture is jeopardized through the use of technology. A rise in obesity causes increased stress on the joints. Consequently, people tend to find other ways to move – ways that limit existing tightness and pain.

Everything in the body is connected. A hunched posture can contribute to more serious breathing problems. Even incorrect gait patterns can have significant effects on other body parts. You might turn your foot outward when you walk. The body wasn’t made to move this way. And surprisingly, this may cause knee or back pain issues.

By accounting for the body as a whole, Manual Osteopaths can create a global picture of their client. From there, they are able to treat each individual effectively and efficiently. They address all contributing factors leading to future prevention and a better overall recovery.

The Body is Self-Healing and Self-Regulating

A healthy body has good self-regulation. This means parts of the body communicate with each other. Remember, the body functions as a whole. Yet, if something, such as tight tissue, blocks communication, other problems may arise. A block in communication may restrict blood flow, limit nerve conduction, and lack the appropriate dissipation of stressors on the body. This is where pain and other symptoms emerge.

By decreasing these blocks in communication, a Manual Osteopath can help your body create the optimal environment for recovery and healing. In other words, a Manual Osteopath doesn’t ‘fix’ you. Instead, they facilitate the proper environment for your body to help itself.

Structure and Function Are Interrelated at All Levels in the Body

Structure and function are often seen as separate concepts. However, they aren’t. There is function in structure. There is a structure in function.

But.. they can technically be separated.

The structure is the physical form or shape of the tissues in the body, including the distinct shape of bones, tissue, and cellular organization, and much more.

The function is the movement of the body. This involves biochemical and metabolic reactions in the cells, the changing of the diameter of certain arteries, sweating, and more.

Structure and function work together to create movement. When you run, you move your legs – including all the bones, muscles, connective tissues, nerves, arteries, and veins in the lower body. In other words, the structure creates a function, and function creates structure. An example of this is seen in the arteries and veins’ tube-like structure. This structure allows for blood to flow through them. The blood carries nutrients to different parts of the body. These nutrients are supplies that build the tube-like structure of the arteries and veins. In turn, the blood can then flow through them. They are interrelated. As aforementioned, everything in the body is connected.

When assessing a client, a Manual Osteopath examines structure and function throughout the body. If a patient comes in suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, they assess more than just the wrist and arms. The lack of mobility in the shoulder and neck region is also looked at. Surprisingly, these structures may be limiting the amount of blood flow and nerve conduction to the wrist and hand area. Over time, this may cause structural changes in the wrist – leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Again, it comes back to assessing the body as a whole unit.

So, What Can You Expect at Your First Manual Osteopath Appointment?

Your Manual Osteopathy will perform a thorough assessment. They will identify the relevant barriers in the body contributing to your complaint. From there, they will develop a treatment plan that removes these barriers and restores balance in the body.

At Athlete’s Choice Massage, your initial osteopath appointment will be 60 minutes, with follow-up appointments consisting of 30-45 minute sessions or 15-minute taping sessions. Manual Osteopaths can improve your flexibility, increase your range of motion, reduce pain and stiffness, decrease tension, and more.

Book your appointment today. Get back to your regular functioning and get back to feeling your best.


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About Athlete’s Choice Massage

Athlete’s Choice Massage was created to provide consistently excellent rehabilitative services for health-conscious people. Our team is extremely well-trained and they take pride in their work. They are constantly striving to learn and better themselves in their respective fields so that they can help you recover and aid in the maintenance of your well-being.

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All appointments will begin with a short but in-depth one-on-one assessment. This is your opportunity to point out what area you’d like to work on during your time, as well as identify any special requests or concerns you may have. Should you have more than one area of concern, your therapist will prioritize the chief complaint and create a treatment plan for the time allotted and for follow-ups as needed.

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With massage therapy being covered by many people’s extended health care benefits, it is now easier than ever to experience the positive effects of therapeutic massage.


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A manual osteopath is a healthcare professional who specializes in manual osteopathy, which is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the musculoskeletal system. Manual osteopaths use their hands to manipulate and move muscles, bones, and joints, as well as other areas of the body such as the circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems, to promote natural healing in the body.

Manual osteopaths can treat a wide range of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, joint pain, headaches, digestive disorders, respiratory problems, and sports injuries. They can also provide preventative care to help maintain overall health and well-being.

Manual osteopathy differs from other forms of healthcare in that it focuses on the musculoskeletal system and aims to promote natural healing in the body without the use of drugs or surgery. Manual osteopaths use a hands-on approach to assess and treat the body as a whole, rather than focusing solely on the symptoms of a particular condition.

The length of a manual osteopathy treatment session can vary depending on the patient’s condition and the techniques used by the manual osteopath. However, most sessions typically last between 45 minutes to an hour. During this time, the manual osteopath will assess the patient’s condition, develop a treatment plan, and use a variety of techniques to manipulate and move muscles, bones, and joints to promote natural healing in the body.