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A Little Word ...
Susanne F. Dick DO
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OSTEOPATHY is a holistic concept of medicine. It is a manual form of therapy. It’s basis is a holistic understanding of the body combined with precise knowledge of anatomy and physiology and a very trained hand. It was founded by the american physician Dr. A.T.Still (1828-1917), who was not satisfied with the medical outcomings of his day. He studied his patients and „1. Anatomy, 2. Anatomy and 3. Anatomy“. As he always found restrictions in the bony (osteo) system of all his suffering (pathos) patients, he named his concept Osteo-pathy in 1874. It is an art of healing, that does not heal, but helps the body to self-heal, seeing man as a living being composed of body, mind and spirit. “Man is a triune“ A.T.Still


Cranial field, visceral or structural osteopathy are all only different aspects of the holistic concept.          A trained osteopath NEVER treats only ONE aspect- it is always a treatment of the whole organism.

Osteopathy in the Cranial Field includes examination and treatment of scull, sacrum, brain, spinal cord and nerval tissues. Dysfunction may occur through a blow on the head or a fall on the sacrum, high fevers, reactions to vaccinations, birth process, tooth extraction, ...

Visceral Osteopathy includes examination and treatment of all inner organs, blood vessels, lymph vessels and the connective tissues. Dysfunctions may occur through surgery, inflammations, wrong diet, sinking of organs due to age, ...

Structural Osteopathy includes examination and treatment of the musculoneuroskeletal system (bones, muscles, joints, fascia and nerves). Dysfunctions may occur through all kinds of accidents (sports, car, falls, blows, ...)



The Principles of Osteopathy

Self Healing of the Body: the body has a selfregulating mechanism, which tries to respond to the laws of balance, economy and comfort. Healing wounds, responding to stress, killing germs, etc. are all part of this selfhealing mechanism. The highest goal of an osteopathic treatment is the restoration of this selfhealing mechanism.

The Human Body is a Whole, a Unit: The human body is a non-separable unit, in which all systems are dependent on each other. That includes the psyche. This leads to the recognition, that an acute disease might originate in a totally different part of the body system or might even have been triggered by a psychic reason.

The Structure governs the Function: Structure (like body fluids, bones, muscles, organs, nerves) and function (digestion, blood/lymphe circulation, etc.) are reciprocal to each other. So a change in function (e.g. a strain) can change the structure (e.g. calcifications), while changes in body structures (e.g. joint or vertebra dislocations) disturb function (e.g. a nerve à tingling). 


A quote from Dr. Still:

„Osteopathy is based on the perfection of Nature’s work. When all parts of the human body are in line we have health. The work of the osteopath is to adjust the body from the abnormal and health is the result of the normal condition.“


Basically every living tissue/structure can be treated.



Fields of Applications

Internal problems, such as irritable bowel, asthma, heart burn, functional heart problems, varicosis.

Head/Ear/Nose problems, such as sinus problems, headaches, ear infections, dizziness, jaw problems.

Urogenital problems, such as chronic bladder infections, incontinence, kidney problems.

Gynacological problems, such as menstruation cramps, menopause disorders, during/after pregnancy.

Pediatric problems, such as distorsion of the scull, vomitting, colics, steady crying, asymmetry.

And problems like Chronic Fatigue Syndrom, panic attacks, attention or sleeping disorders, scars, etc.





Since 1974 osteopaths (DO) are equal to physicians (MD) in the USA. Although osteopaths in Europe have an equal training (approx. 1300 hours on top of the training as naturopath, physiotherapist or doctor), there is a missing piece: they are not trained in pharmacology and surgery - Still’s idea did not include either. But because of that they do not equal physicians. Allopathic and osteopathic medicine are based on the same theoretical knowledge of sciences, but osteopaths only treat the functional problems. Initially their character is so subtle, that allopathic doctors have no instrument for detecting them. So osteopathy is not an alternative to classical doctors, but it complements it, thus supporting classical medical approches by treating the existing dysfunctions - which would eventually lead to a structural problem - or by treating dysfunctions, that derive from existing structural problems.


Some more quotes of Dr. Still:

"Medicine and osteopathic science are not in competition with each other. They both depend on the ‚livingness’ of the human body with ist inherent life principle. One does not get a response to any diagnostic or therapeutic measure, unless there is a ‚livingness’ within the human body to make such a response. The quality of this ‚livingness’ determines the results obtained. "

"It is a scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology in the hands of a person of intelligence and skill, who can apply that knowledge to the use of men when sick or wounded by strains, shocks, falls, mechanical derangement or injury of any kind to the body.“

"A successful osteopath should be a person of individuality with a mechanical eye behind all motions or efforts to readjust any part of the body to its original normality.“    

 "Osteopathy belongs to men of sober brains, men who never tire of anatomy and physiology or of hunting the cause of disease. An osteopath answers questions by his learning. He proves what he says by what he does.“