Differences between Physician Osteopaths and European Style Osteopaths (or Osteopathic Manual Practitioners)
The training of osteopathic manual practitioners and osteopathic physicians have the same origin - in the work of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still.
From the beginning of 20th century, however, these two fields were evolving differently.
As the name indicates, osteopathic physicians are medical doctors. As such, they are trained to prescribe drugs, perform surgery, deliver babies, and to have the prerequisites to specialize in other branches of medicine. Osteopathic physicians are almost exclusively trained in the USA.
Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (or European Style Osteopaths) are not MDs, they are not trained in allopathic medicine but purely osteopathic manual treatment. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners (OMP) are trained all over the world.
In United States Medical students have Osteopathy classes during the first two years of their medical school. In Europe in order to become an Osteopath (OMP) students go through full-time osteopathic training for 4 or 5 years, depending on the country.
Many techniques that are part of OMP knowledge, are not part of the training of American Osteopaths.
Worldwide Osteopathic Practitioners have a very comprehensive practical training in what has come to be known as Osteopathic Manual Practice.
Osteopathy and Osteopathic Manual Practice share the same Philosophy and Principles, but they are quite different concerning the training the student received and the practical approach they propose to the patients.
What Osteopathy is...
Osteopathy is an established recognized system of healthcare which relies on manual contact for diagnosis and treatment. It respects the relationship of body, mind and spirit in health and disease; it lays emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body and the body's intrinsic tendency for self-healing.
Osteopathic treatment is viewed as a facilitative influence to encourage this self regulatory process. Pain and disability experienced by patients are viewed as resulting from a reciprocal relationship between the musculoskeletal and visceral components of a disease or strain.
It is a form of assistance focused on the health of the person rather than on the disease; makes use of a causal and non-symptomatic approach (often the cause of pain is located far from the painful area), looking for the functional alterations of the body that lead to signs and symptoms that can then lead to pains of various kinds.
The term "Osteopathy" was coined by its founder, the American surgeon Dr Andrew Taylor Still, who at the end
of the nineteenth century discovered the relationships between the functional balance of the body's entire structure and health.
The human being is a dynamic unit of functions, whose state of health is determined by body, mind, and spirit.
The body possesses mechanisms of self-regulation and self-healing.
The structure and function are mutually inter-related.
Rational therapy is based on the application of all three principles
Dr.Andrew Taylor Still
Founder of Osteopathy
Relation Between Structure and Funtion
The human being is a complex system capable of generating adaptations, his state of health can be influenced by relationships with the environment (natural or socio-cultural), genetic / epigenetic factors and Psychological factors.
The individual is seen as a whole as a system composed of muscles, skeletal structures and internal organs that find their connection in the nerve centers of the spine.
Each constituent part of the person (including the psyche) and the environment in which he lives is correlated by the others and the correct functioning of each ensures that of the entire structure: therefore, well-being and health.
Dr. Still concluded that Osteopathy could be summed up in one sentence "structure governs function".
The perfection of each function is linked to the perfection of the supporting structure; if this balance is altered, an osteopathic dysfunction is found, characterized by a body area in which the correct mobility has been lost.
The body will react to this imbalance by creating areas of compensation and body adaptations that are not favorable to the general well-being of the body.
In Osteopathy it is not the therapist who heals, but his role is to eliminate the "obstacles" to the body's communication pathways in order to allow the body, by exploiting its self-regulation phenomena, to achieve healing.
Osteopathy aims to restore the harmony of the skeletal support structure in order to allow the body to find its own balance and well-being.
Applications of techniques for the release of tension in the muscles and improvement of the quality of movement in the joints. Apart from direct effect on the functions of the muscular-skeletal system, this approach also brings in biochemical effect, as it stimulates the correct exchange of fluids within the treated structures.
Techniques applied to the fascia - the connective tissue beneath the skin, that attaches to, connects, stabilizes, separates internal organs, muscles, and all the structures of the body. The continuous palpatory feedback is used to obtain a relaxation of myofascial tissues. These techniques act on the fascia to facilitate the healthy communication in the body to treat musculoskeletal disorders, pain and tension.
Techniques that restore mobility and motility of an organ. These techniques stimulate organs towards a correct digestive, absorption or expulsion function, both in mechanical and biochemical field.
These techniques work on the movement of congruence between the bones of the skull, nervous system, meningeal and cefalorachidian liquor levels. With these techniques, osteopathy works in particular on the vitality of the organism, a fundamental quality that allows living beings to react effectively to disturbing events from the external and internal environment.