Osteopathy: muscle manipulation for improved physical health

Although the practice of osteopathy falls under the vast umbrella of allopathic medicine, for most it is quickly becoming a recognised word in medical practice. The name derives from the Greek ostéon (meaning bones) and pátheia (meaning illness of) and is a healthcare practice that aims to improve overall health by ensuring the neuro-musculo-skeletal system is operating at its most optimum.

As a natural and gentle route to good health, osteopathy can diagnose and treat a range of health problems from headaches, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and shin splints, all the way through to complicated digestive problems like constipation, nausea, bloating, cramps, acid reflux and hiatus hernia. Digestive imbalance often shows itself as a pain or ache elsewhere in the body and by detecting the root of the problem, a solution can easily be found. As such, osteopathy is renowned for improving illnesses notoriously hard to diagnose and cure such as irritable bowel syndrome, which affects around 1 in every 5 20-30 year olds in the UK at present.

Advances in this field, such as cranial osteopathy, have been said to help in the treatment of chronic mental and emotional illnesses like depression by manipulating and releasing the tension within the muscles around the spinal chord. Compelling evidence suggests that by relaxing the muscle tissues around the brain, brain function can be improved and so too greater well-being can be realised.

The ethic of this school of medicine shares many of its core principles with practices like yoga; by stimulating and stretching the body, we can experience a fuller and more balanced quality of life. It’s therefore no surprise that more and more osteopaths are beginning to recommend yoga as a wonderful form of exercise that can help to alleviate the symptoms of all manner of illnesses, and aid the student in building a better overall body core.

Relaxation, meditation and alternative health therapies of all varieties are really coming into their own. Providing valuable respite to sufferers of chronic and often unpleasant conditions, they carry a persuasive argument against conventional medicine and medications that do not completely resolve or cure a condition, and carry with them undesirable side effects.

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