What is osteopathy and how does it work?

by | Jun 23, 2023 | Blogs | 0 comments

Osteopathy, derived from the Greek words for bone (osteon) and suffering (pathos), is more than just a band-aid for pain. It goes beyond symptom management by targeting the root causes of pain and discomfort. 

Osteopathy offers a comprehensive treatment approach that encompasses manual techniques, lifestyle modifications, and personalised exercise programs. With its growing recognition and positive patient outcomes, osteopathy is carving its place in the healthcare landscape globally. 

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy, as a distinct form of medical therapy, traces its roots back to the late 19th century. It was founded by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, a physician from Missouri, United States. Dr Still held a unique perspective on healthcare, believing that the human body possessed inherent restorative abilities when its systems were in optimal working order.

Driven by this philosophy, Dr Still developed a comprehensive approach that incorporated manual techniques aimed at improving bodily functions and facilitating the body’s innate capacity for healing. In 1885, his innovative approach was formally recognised as “osteopathy.”

To disseminate his teachings and ensure the continued growth of osteopathy, Dr Still founded the American School of Osteopathy in 1892. Located in Kirkville, USA, the school served as a platform for educating aspiring practitioners in Dr Still’s methodologies.

Over time, osteopathy gained recognition and acceptance as a particular healthcare discipline.

Today, osteopathy is practised worldwide, with osteopaths treating a wide range of conditions, including musculoskeletal pain, sports injuries, chronic pain syndromes, and even contributing to preventive care. Osteopathic principles and techniques have evolved, incorporating scientific advancements while staying true to the holistic approach pioneered by Dr Still.

At its core, osteopathy is a safe and effective therapy that aims to restore balance within the body. The fundamental philosophy of osteopathy revolves around achieving harmony to optimise health and movement. 

What Is An Osteopath?

Osteopaths are physicians in the USA. Everywhere else we are trained as osteopaths with no Dr training. An osteopath is a highly trained and licensed physician, known as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). They prioritise treating the whole person rather than just isolated symptoms or diseases.

Osteopaths undergo comprehensive training and education, earning a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Osteopathy degree. They acquire in-depth knowledge about how the body works, including biomechanics (how the body moves), ergonomics (how to optimise posture and movement), nutrition, and exercise rehabilitation.

With their specialised expertise, osteopaths can effectively alleviate pain and prevent future discomfort. They achieve this by using a hands-on approach called osteopathic manipulative medicine, which helps restore balance and symmetry to the body. By addressing any imbalances or restrictions, osteopaths can help reduce pain and promote overall well-being.

The Treatments Offered by Osteopaths

Osteopaths begin their hands-on treatment by conducting a comprehensive whole-body examination to identify areas of misalignment. 

The subsequent manual therapy they provide is primarily non-invasive and drug-free, focusing on correcting the musculoskeletal framework.

This manual approach enables them to identify the source of pain, which is the fundamental step. Osteopaths offer effective osteopathic treatment for reducing the risk of future injuries or prolonged discomfort.

Osteopaths manipulate and strengthen joints, muscles, and the spine to restore balance, alleviate pain, and promote healing.

The Benefits of Osteopathy

Pain reduction: Osteopathy aims to alleviate pain, making it a popular choice among clients seeking relief.

Improved body systems: Osteopathic treatment positively impacts the respiratory, nervous, lymphatic, and circulatory systems.

Preventive measure: Osteopathy is a preventive therapy to minimise the risk of injuries and pain.

Addressing common issues: Osteopathy effectively tackles various issues such as arthritis, back pain, headaches, stress, digestive problems, postural issues, insomnia, sciatica, knee pain, and neuralgia.

How Is Osteopathy Different From Physiotherapy? 

While physiotherapy may employ similar techniques, it often incorporates aids and devices as part of the treatment process. While Osteopaths may recommend complementary therapies, prescribe specific exercises, or suggest diagnostic imaging if deemed necessary, it’s important to note that these interventions are never their initial preference. The emphasis remains on the hands-on approach and non-invasive nature of osteopathic treatment as the primary mode of treatment.

Who Can Benefit From Osteopathy Treatment?  

Osteopathic treatment is a non-intrusive therapy suitable for individuals across all healthcare areas. 

Enhancing Well-Being with Chronic Conditions

Finding Relief: Osteopathy for Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Improving Mobility: Restoring Function and Reducing Pain

Holistic Approach: Enhancing Overall Well-Being

Breathing Easy: Respiratory Health with Osteopathy

Alleviating Respiratory Symptoms: Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis, and Allergies

Enhancing Lung Capacity: Techniques for Better Breathing

Promoting Healthy Respiratory Patterns: Restoring Balance

Digestive Harmony: Osteopathic Support for Digestive Disorders

Soothing Acid Reflux: Addressing Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Improving Digestion and Reducing Symptoms

Promoting Regularity: Osteopathy for Constipation Relief

Office Workers: Improving Posture and Alleviating Strains

Postural Improvement: Enhancing Ergonomics and Comfort

Headache Relief and Strain Reduction

From Injury to Recovery: Osteopathy in Sports Medicine:

Sports-Related Injuries: Sprains, Strains, and Repetitive Strain Injuries

Alleviating Pain and Restoring Function: Osteopathic Techniques for Recovery

Preventing Future Injuries: Strengthening and Optimising Performance

Supporting Pregnancy Wellness

Easing Pregnancy Discomfort: Osteopathy for Back Pain, Pelvic Pain, and Postural Imbalances

Preparing for Childbirth: Enhancing Body Readiness

Postpartum Recovery: Supporting the Body’s Healing Process

Proactive Health Maintenance: Preventive Care with Osteopathy:

Optimal Health and Well-Being: Regular Osteopathic Treatments

Injury Prevention: Promoting Strength and Resilience

Embracing a Holistic Lifestyle: Enhancing Overall Wellness

Stress Relief and Emotional Well-Being:

Holistic Healing: Reducing Stress Levels with Osteopathic Treatment

Restoring Balance: Promoting Relaxation and Emotional Well-Being

Nurturing the Nervous System: Addressing Tension and Promoting Serenity

Elderly Care: Maximizing Mobility and Independence

Essential for Maintaining Mobility as We Age

Enhancing Quality of Life and Independence

Pediatric Care: Supporting Child Well-Being and Healthy Growth

Acknowledging Osteopathy’s Potential for Children

Ensuring Healthy Development and Well-Being

How Can an Osteopath Help You?

Each individual is unique, and so is their condition. Through techniques such as deep tissue massage, joint manipulation, and stretching, osteopaths can target and alleviate tension and restrictions that may be causing the symptoms. 

And by addressing tension, restrictions, and injuries, osteopaths work towards bringing the body back into harmony and enabling it to function optimally.

Osteopaths also focus on rehabilitation exercises – they provide education on proper movement techniques, which help you recover from injuries and minimise the risk of future occurrences.

A Typical Osteopathic Treatment Consultation

Here’s what to expect after booking a session with an osteopath:

The initial step involves a thorough discussion of your symptoms. The osteopath will attentively listen to your concerns, seeking to understand how they impact your everyday life. This comprehensive understanding is vital for establishing an accurate diagnosis and devising a focused treatment plan that suits your unique circumstances.

Following the discussion, a comprehensive physical assessment will be conducted. The osteopath will evaluate various aspects, including your posture, mobility, and perform orthopaedic and neurological examinations. These assessments help identify any imbalances, limitations, or underlying factors contributing to your symptoms.

By combining the information gathered from the discussion and physical assessment, the osteopath can offer you a precise diagnosis. This diagnosis serves as the foundation for developing a customised treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals.

The Best Osteopath Near Me in Sydney

Looking for the best osteopath near you in Sydney? Look no further than our best osteopathy clinic in Potts Point, where we offer a patient-centred approach.

Led by Phil Austin, a highly qualified and experienced osteopath, we combine hands-on techniques like massage, stretching, and joint manipulation to address musculoskeletal problems and facilitate general well-being. 

To book an appointment or learn more about our services, call us at 02 9356 0495 or visit our website. Take the first step towards a pain-free and healthier life with our exceptional osteopathy care.

Phil Austin:

Osteopath Sydney

I’ve worked as an osteopath for over 25 years and have worked in the UK, New Zealand, Sweden and currently Australia. Through working as a researcher, I’ve developed a patient-centered approach that considers, physical, psychological, social and spiritual factors, all of which affect how people think and react to painful situations.


Five frozen shoulder exercises for quick relief

Introduction to Frozen Shoulder Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It typically develops gradually, worsens over time, and then resolves, usually within one to three years. Signs and...

How to Cure Plantar Fasciitis in One Week?

Discover effective strategies to alleviate plantar fasciitis pain in just one week. Learn about the best exercises for plantar fasciitis, rest techniques, and essential foot care tips for rapid relief. Consulting a plantar fasciitis specialist is advised for such...

Can ear infections cause jaw and neck pain?

When it comes to understanding the effects of an ear infection, it's crucial to grasp how interconnected our bodily systems are. An ear infection doesn't just stop at causing discomfort within the ear; it can extend its reach, affecting areas such as the jaw and neck....

How to Become an Osteopath in Australia

Have you considered a career facilitating drug-free healing through skilful touch? As demand for osteopaths surges, this hands-on field offers incredible opportunities to make a difference. To give context, Australian osteopaths conduct around 3.9 million patient...

How to Sleep with Shoulder Pain

Ever dream of a night free from that persistent shoulder ache? A whopping 26% of us battle a prickly shoulder at some point, and guess what suffers most? Sleep! Tossing and turning like a ship in a storm is no fun, which is why we're here to figure out how to sleep...

What Is Reformer Pilates: A Complete Guide

Reformer Pilates is a contemporary twist to traditional Pilates that uses special gear to make it a uniquely challenging workout. It's becoming popular globally because it's an awesome way to get fit, feel calm, and experience the concrete advantages that extend...

What Does An Osteopath Do?

Your body is a complex network of tissues and muscles, interconnected, and working in perfect unison. But when you throw stress, poor posture, or repetitive strain on this complex network, things can get a little unmanageable. That's where an osteopath comes in, a...


Injured at Work? A 15-year data analysis revealed that the total cost of workplace injuries in Australia is estimated to be in the billions of dollars annually. Speaking of which, work-related injuries are not only a burden shared by employers and the injured...

Importance of Workplace Ergonomic Assessment

Spending your days hunched over your computer like millions of Australians? Not a good thing to do. Imagine a workspace where daily tasks are not synonymous with pain discomfort and sometimes anxiety. Where your body isn't screaming in protest after a long day at the...

Osteopath for Sciatica Pain and How Osteopathy Can Help

Sciatica and How Osteopathy Can Help Shooting pain down your leg? Numbness and tingling? Difficulty sitting or walking? You might be one of the millions suffering from sciatica. But, what is sciatica? Is it common? Is it easy to find an osteopath for sciatica pain?...