Saturday, April 28, 2007

Structural, Visceral, Cranio-sacral Osteopathy ?

You can find a french translation of this article Here.

It is a sensitive thing to divide Osteopathy in different systems as any of these systems are inter-related. Some Osteopaths will even say that no such thing exist as "Structural Osteopathy", "Visceral Osteopathy" or "Cranial Osteopathy". I never really understood why. Maybe because from this notion comes the notion of "Cranial, Structural or Visceral" Osteopath and this can't be, because an Osteopath is not supposed to be specialised but to be holistic.

I do believe that we are all coming from different background and graduated from different schools which may differ from there lectures' content. Therefore we all practice differently and may have more affinities for one technique or another, for one field or another... Some Osteopaths may get a Master from the OCC, UK (Osteopathic Children Clinic) and I will certainly describe them as more "specialist" than I am in treating babies and children.
At the same time if I meet an Osteopath describing himself as a Cranial Osteopath, I would immediatly feel irritated/intrigued.

In the UK a great majority of osteopaths (from what I believe) are more focussed on the "structural and cranial field". In France maybe more on the "visceral and cranial field".

"Structural Osteopathy" :
is aiming at restoring movement through the Musculo-skeletal system (joints, muscles, fasciae, ligaments, capsules ...) by a combination of techniques. It may involve some "HVT/LVT" of the spine (the famous "cracking techniques"), articulation of joints, deep massage, trigger point inhibition, stretch, fascial unwinding...

"Visceral Osteopathy" :
is aiming at restoring the mobility and motility through the different organs of your body. This may sound strange but an organ can easily be the cause of a lowback, neck, shoulder (...) pain. It will do so by changing the posture of the patient (adoption of an antalgic posture) or by directly referring pain to an area of the body (liver/right shoulder, kidney/lowback pain...). The Osteopath will then mobilise, stretch, inhibit, unwind(...) the concerned group of organs. I do believe that at least 60% of the patients ' complaints do have a deep visceral cause. This means that if left untreated their symptoms are more than likely to reoccur.

"Cranial Osteopathy" :
is aiming at restoring the mobility and rythm through the bones of the cranium, spine and sacrum. This cranial rythm pulses between 10 to 12 cycles per minute and is believed to be the core mechanism of all the body functions. This is the approach of choice to treat babies (colic, reflux...), stress, anxiety, headaches(...). Cranial Osteopathy is still quite controversial even amongst osteopaths but is fast becoming a therapy in its own right.

Seeing, feeling, understanding and treating the body through these three fields make Osteopathy an effective holistic therapy.

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