Greenwich Osteopaths | Linear House, Peyton Place, Greenwich SE10 8RS | 07977 925245
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Osteopathy was originally conceived in 19th Century America as a complete system of alternative medicine.
The founder, AT Still, observed that orthodox medicine of the time was sometimes a hindrance to healing and often invasive, toxic and downright dangerous. His belief was that the body has all it needs to cure itself from any illness; all that is required is to allow it to do its work. He held that if the flow of fluids throughout the body were in any way obstructed, the body was prone to disease and unable to heal itself until the obstruction be removed. His specific techniques are largely unknown (despite his running a teaching school in the USA) but his system was one of manual therapy, working with his hands into the soft tissues or joints.

Since then, Osteopathy has changed. It has developed along quite different lines in the USA, such that an osteopath in the UK is probably working more along AT Still's original lines than an osteopath in the USA. In the UK, osteopaths are manual therapists treating a range of conditions, whereas osteopaths in the USA are more what we would think of as orthodox doctors (with notable exceptions).

From the patient's perspective in the UK, this means that Osteopathy is a system of manual therapy, incorporating a wide range of hands-on approaches and techniques. These range from gentler techniques known as functional and cranio-sacral techniques, to HVT (High Velocity Thrusts - "clicking & crunching" a joint), massage, joint articulation and stretching of muscles. These techniques may be used for a wide range of conditions, either as cure or to help provide relief from chronic conditions.

Before any techniques are used, a full assessment of the person is made. This involves a physical and somatic (from the Greek "soma", meaning body) assessment, which takes into account the patient's visceral or systems health. It incorporates an assessment of the patient's health in other areas as well, including the patient's mental, social, emotional and spiritual health.

Osteopaths in this country are primary health care practitioners governed by a regulatory body, which means that they can offer treatment without referral and are therefore highly trained. They often fulfil a role that is underdeveloped within the national health system - that of musculo-skeletal specialist - but can fulfil wider roles as well. We are often asked to help manage health issues, sometimes advising on medical conditions or co-ordinating with GPs and providing therapy within a wider health framework.