The osteopathic philosophy of medicine sees unity in all systems of the body. This philosophy was developed in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, MD, who pioneered the concept of "wellness" in the United States and recognized the importance of treating within the context of the whole body.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) includes a variety of hands-on techniques to treat body structures to regain and maintain function. OMT can be used to treat a wide range of issues involving the interconnected networks of nerves, muscles, bones, soft tissues, vessels and lymphatics. These modalities are especially effective for pain, acute injury, tension headaches, nerve impingements such as carpal tunnel syndrome, acute states of illness such as sinusitis, and for prenatal and postnatal changes in the body.
OMT is gentle and effective for newborns, infants, and children for issues such as birth trauma, plagiocephaly, asthma, upper respiratory infections, reflux, colic, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and for prevention in healthy children
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle technique to help rebalance the nervous system. With light touch, a trained osteopath is able to feel the subtle movement of cranial bones and pulse-like rhythm of cerebrospinal fluid movement, known as the primary respiratory mechanism. Just as our lungs breath and our blood pumps through our vessels to transport oxygen and nutrients to every cell, our cerebrospinal fluid bathes our brain and spinal cord, nourishing the tissues and offering protection from outside forces. Stresses on the body such as trauma and illness can create restrictions in this normal movement and compromise function even long after the insult has resolved. Craniosacral therapy is helpful in treating headaches and migraines, traumatic brain injury, TMJ, attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, stress, and anxiety. It calms the sympathetic ("fight or flight") nervous system and activates the parasympathetic ("rest, digest, and heal") nervous system. This lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels and creates an environment for healing.
An osteopathic history may include questions about birth, trauma, chronic use injuries, inflammatory disease processes, surgeries, dental procedure, and mental/emotional stressors.
Treatment is typically very gentle. Tissues are supported and allowed to change. Usually very little force is used during treatment, but at times some force may be necessary. Diagnosis and Treatment blend into one another, since as the tissues change the physician learns more about their nature. As the nature of the tissue dysfunction is better understood, the therapeutic response deepens.
Results depend upon many factors. Most significant are the body’s inherent vitality (ability to heal), the history of other insults to the body (e.g., illness, toxins, trauma, etc.) and the severity and duration of the problem. Some conditions will respond immediately; some will require a series of treatments. It is important to understand that (cranial) osteopathy is not a cure-all. It can benefit everyone, because everyone has been imprinted individually by the traumas of life, and everyone can benefit from a treatment that improves the functioning of the body, but it not always enough to address the presenting complaint. For some patients it might be necessary to include other types of treatment.