What is Osteopathy?


Osteopathy is a gentle yet precise manual therapy used to identify areas of the body that are restricted or not moving as they should.  It is a holistic approach to locate and treat the source of symptoms aiming to restore function to the body.   Osteopathic techniques assess, treat and integrate all the tissues and joints of the body to restore the relationships that occur between them, relieving pain, improving mobility and restoring health to musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, reproductive and nervous systems of the body. 

Osteopathy Philosophy and FAQs

Osteopathy embraces the philosophy that when the body is unrestricted, it has the inherent ability to heal and regulate itself.  The key factor that permits this regulation and healing to proceed uninterrupted, is the ability of the body to circulate all of its fluids.  These fluids include blood, lymph, synovial fluid, digestive juices, cerebrospinal fluid, axoplasm and all other intracellular and extracellular fluids throughout the body. 


Structural blockages that impede fluid circulation could include rotations, curves or pulls within the body, as well as misaligned bones, organs or soft tissues.  Non-structural blockages may include emotional patterns that are responsible for maintaining the body in certain defensive adaptations, such as a predisposition to holding the breath or raising the shoulders in response to times of stress or cold temperatures.


In most cases, the patient has had some combination of the above experiences.  These may manifest themselves locally, at or near the original site of occurrence, or more frequently, the symptoms may be felt far from the site of occurrence.  For this reason, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner must assess the whole body.  Although treatment may be directed toward several specific areas, the effect of that treatment is often felt throughout the body.


What is the process of an Osteopathic Treatment?


  1.  A discussion with the patient, which includes: an in-depth health history, the patient’s chief complaint, traumas or surgeries, and medical interventions received

  2. Once the practitioner deems it safe to continue, an assessment is completed, using observation and palpation of the structures of the body

  3. Treatment is then directed toward helping the body regain its optimal ability to circulate the fluids unimpeded and in sufficient quantity. 

What are the benefits of Osteopathy?
  • Encourages self-healing and regulation through
    increased circulation

  • Removes the underlying cause of pain

  • Reduces pain and stiffness in muscles and joints

  • Increases range of motion in joints

  • Treats back, neck and limb pain

  • Decreases tension in the body

  • Relieves tension and migraine headaches

  • Treats traumas from injuries

  • Addresses overuse injuries

  • Treats digestive issues

  • Addresses respiratory problems, such as asthma

Closeup young woman sitting on sofa hold
What techniques are used during an Osteopathic Treatment?
  • Myofascial Release

    • Restoring normalcy to the muscles and surrounding tissues


  • Muscle Energy

    • Creation of muscle relaxation through muscle contraction


  • Strain/counterstrain

    • Method of relaxing and repositioning joints


  • Osteoarticular Corrections

    • Gentle realignment of the bones


  • Craniosacral Techniques

    • This technique consists of gentle movement of the skull

  • Visceral Mobilization

    • Gentle mobilization of the organs of the body


What should you wear, or not wear, for an Osteopathic Treatment?
  • Loose comfortable clothing

  • No excessive jewellery, watches or belts

  • Shoes shall be removed for treatment


Is Osteopathy regulated in Ontario and Canada?


No.  Osteopathy is not regulated in Canada.  There is no government involvement at the provincial or national level with regard to education or professional registration, which is why certain osteopathic schools, like the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy, strive to meet and exceed international standards.


How does Classical Osteopathy differ from Eclectic Osteopathy?


Where Classical Osteopathy encompasses an understanding of principles and can stand on its own, Eclectic Osteopathy is taught as a series of memorized techniques or manipulations for different parts of the body.  Eclectic Osteopathy lacks founding principles and theory and is typically layered onto an existing modality like massage therapy or physiotherapy.  These types of programs are prevalent in Europe and in Canada.  At the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy, students are thoroughly trained over four years in the science and art of Classical Osteopathy.