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What is Osteopathy | Osteopathic treatment

What is Osteopathy?

Written by Boroondara Osteopathy

A well-known clinic in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs founded by Dr Katie Willy (Osteopath)

cranio sacral treatment | Dr Tristan Joss

What is osteopathy?

So what exactly is this ‘osteopathy’ thing, you may be wondering….

Well, to put it simply, osteopathy is a form of active and manual therapy which typically assesses and treats the body’s musculoskeletal system.

Osteopaths focus largely on treating:

  • muscles
  • joints
  • nerves
  • tendons
  • and ligaments

By looking at the role that each of these structures plays both independently and holistically, Osteopaths can then work to improve the issue or function of the problem tissues.

As highly trained allied health professionals, osteopaths incorporate a number of different techniques to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. These include, but are not limited to, soft tissue techniques, exercise and movement practices, massage, HVLA (spinal manipulation techniques which elicit that oh so satisfying ‘pop’ or ‘crack’ sound), amongst many more.

These techniques will always be tailored to each patient’s needs. They are either selected or excluded for use based on their ability to help patients fulfill their own personal health and well-being goals.


I want to know more- give me a brief rundown on the history of osteopathy!

It all started in the late 1800s in Kirksville, Missouri (United States) with a bloke by the name of Andrew Taylor Still. As the son of a surgeon and a physician/surgeon himself, A.T. Still was extremely well versed in all things anatomy and the human body. Drawing upon his extensive clinical experience, Still concluded that in order to achieve optimal health, all parts of the body need to be working together harmoniously.

His goal? To achieve this using minimum surgery and medicine.

Gradually, A.T. Still began to grow somewhat of a following of like-minded health aficionados. People flocked from all over the country to receive treatment from him, after hearing that Still’s treatments had yielded fantastic results. So great were his results that train routes were altered and boarding houses were built in the Kirksville area to accommodate such high demand.

We then flash forward to 1892, when A.T. Still took on the first intake of 22 students at the American School of Osteopathy (now known as Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine). The cohort consisted of both male and female students, which was rather progressive for the time and remains a reflection of Still’s forward thinking and open mindedness.  

And so, the wonderful world of osteopathy was born! Over the centuries, it has continued to develop and evolve in line with science and modern medicine. The latest research is constantly improving and enhancing osteopathy, and changing the way in which osteopaths view and treat the human body.

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