Osteopathic Manual Therapy

Osteopathic Manual Therapy
What is Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT)?

Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT), is the manual therapy (therapy applied with hands) that was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. This form of manual OMT follows the original teachings of Classical Osteopathy (see below), a principle based musculoskeletal application, using a person's hard tissues (bones) and soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. It is not a technique-based approach. OMT works with the interrelation between structure and function. OMT occurs with the patient fully clothed. It uses a focus of health. Your Osteopathic Manual Therapy Practitioner assesses all the joints of the body, determining what is moving and what is not moving. Then they proceed to develop a rational treatment to get what isn’t moving, moving again. OMT Practitioner’s can best be described as ‘mechanics, plumbers and electricians’ of the human body.

In Canada, the terms Osteopathy and Osteopath, are legally reserved for allopathic (western trained) physicians, who are also trained in Osteopathic Manual Therapy. Graduates of the CAO (Canadian Academy of Osteopathy) study for 4 years (full 12 months), acquiring a minimum of 1000 clinical hours along with academic training, and graduate with a MOMSc (Masters of Osteopathic Manipulative Science), as they are not able to use the title of doctor (in Canada). Therefore, people trained in the manual therapy aspect (and not the allopathic medical aspect), are referred to as Osteopathic Manual Therapy Practitioners or Osteopathic Manual Therapy Therapists. You may find Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) also referred to as Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.

What is Classical Osteopathy?

Classical Osteopathy is a manual therapy based on the original principles and concepts used by the founder of Osteopathy, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. Some people refer to Classical Osteopathy, as the application or use of "Stillian Principles". The principles A T Still used were universal principles of functional anatomy, physiology, mechanics/physics and science. Classical Osteopathy is clinically evidence based. Classical Osteopathy operates with the understanding of the inter-relatedness of structure and function in the body – if a structural part of the body, for example a joint, is not doing what it is supposed to be doing…it will affect the function of all the tissues related to that joint, in the whole body. In Classical Osteopathy, a detailed assessment of the body occurs to determine what joints and tissues are moving and what joints and tissues are not moving. They then use rational treatment, based in principles, to restore movement to the area of the body. If one area of the body is not moving, example a shoulder, the Practitioner will work on all areas of the body that are not allowing the shoulder to move the way it is designed to. For example, a treatment on a non-moving shoulder may include adjustment of the hips, the lower or upper back, the shoulders, the neck, or maybe even an ankle. This is accomplished because of the understanding the human body is a dynamic integrated unit of being. A classically trained OMT Therapist serves each individual as a unique living system and thereby each treatment as a new presentation. No two treatments are ever the same. The classical OMT Practitioner will work to return the structure of the individual's body to their normal state, at a pace that supports and empowers their vitality and constitution, thereby improving function. Classical Osteopathy recognizes the body is self healing and self regulating, therefore after the treatment, the ‘work’ the body completes begins – the patient integrates the treatment for 1 - 3 days following the treatment.

Sandi Loytomaki, Osteopathic Manual Practitioner