Osteopathy is a non-pharmacological, “hands-on” approach that encourages the body to heal itself by using the body’s intrinsic forces and corrective mechanisms to achieve homeostasis. Osteopathy views the body as a functional and holistic unit. The health practitioner serves only as a facilitator, not as a mechanic. This approach promotes long-term health and well being at the same time focuses on reducing any existing symptoms. Osteopathy is an established system of diagnosis and treatment with its main emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body.
– derived from the Greek words osteon (tissue) and pathos (feeling) – is essentially “feeling the motion of the tissues.” Developed in the U.S. in the early 19th century, founder Dr. Andrew Still discovered a direct relationship between the musculo-skeletal system and the function of the rest of the body. His understanding was that form/structure directs the function of specific joints, which led to his conclusion that inappropriate alteration in the structure can trigger dysfunction in other parts of the body.
Osteopathy comprises many non-invasive, manual-therapy techniques: aDirect techniques, such as high velocity/low amplitude (chiropractic) and muscle energy, aBiovalent Systems (Frank Lowen LMT), aCraniosacral techniques,aFunctional indirect techniques, aVisceral manipulation, andaStrain / counter-strain techniques.
These techniques are well-known to physical therapists; however, they are foreign in traditional veterinary practices. The emerging field of osteopathy in animal rehabilitation has tremendous potential to help dogs with back and shoulder problems, particularly agility dogs, canine athletes, older and service dogs or those hits by cars. A regimen of osteopathic treatment usually helps restore a dog’s normal function.