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What is osteopathy? (magazine Beauty and Health)


Osteopathy came to Russia not so long ago. The first Russian higher school of osteopathic medicine was founded in Saint-Petersburg in 1994. Osteopathy was allowed by official medicine in 2003. And during this short period of time it has gained lots of admirers.


What is osteopathy? In short, its a mild manual therapy. In everyday language manual therapy is called a bone-setting.  That is, malfunctioning of skeletal system is being set. The copyright of osteopathy belongs to Andrew Still, an American, who invented it in 19th century. There are several interpretations of the meaning of this word. Osteo- means a bone; patio- is interpreted as compassion or as pathology.


Its noteworthy, that primarily osteopathy tended to the setting of skeletal system but while developing and becoming widespread it broadened its scope of therapeutic action. Today osteopaths successfully work with both skeletal system and viscera, removing different kinds of malfunctioning.


Osteopathy extended to Europe in early 20 century thanks to the disciple of doctor Still doctor Sutherland. Theres an interesting story about him.


A careful observer, Sutherland at his eighteens paid attention to the fact that the structure of cranium bones that were thought before to be immovable reminds the joint of the fish scale. And the fish scale serves to preserve flexibility. Once Sutherland had visited Prague and had seen there instruments of inquisition tortures ­- hoops with screws to squeeze the head and induce terrible headaches. After returning to his institute doctor Sutherland made such a hoop for himself to deform his own head. This is the spirit of explorer! Thus he understood that cranial bones are mobile. This gave a birth to the method of cranio-sacral therapy (from cranium and sacrum"). Doctor Sutherland had broken the canons of allopathic medicine having proved that cranium breaths.


This discovery had a fundamental influence on the development of osteopathy.


Fundamentals of osteopathy


Osteopathy rests on three foundations. The first principle was inherited from Hippocrates: a single separate organ in the organism can not suffer; its the whole organism that suffers. Then we must look for the origin, for the hotbed, and we must cure the cause, not the effect.  The second principle, maintained by the founder of osteopathy Andrew Still, says that the function is directly dependent on the structure. And the third one is that the structure is directly dependant on the function.


What does the osteopath do? He changes the structure with his hands thereby changing the function of an organ. Theres a direct interrelation between the structure of an organ and its function. The osteopath influences a diseased organ with his hands. Osteopaths know the particulars of human anatomy. It was already Andrew Still who used to say that osteopathy is anatomy, anatomy and anatomy.


How does osteopathy cure?


Osteopathy is the treatment by hands. Osteopaths consider the sensitivity of hands to be the result of long training and practice. Usually, osteopaths are high-class physicians with impeccable knowledge of anatomy.


Have you ever observed bioplast with microscope? If you have, you could have seen how sells are moving, upsizing and downsizing. In osteopathy these processes are called breathing. Any organ in the organism consists of cells; their resultant movement leads to upsizing or downsizing of the given organ with a definite frequency. Since the fact that the organ is attached in the organism with ligaments, as though hanging, it turns out that when it upsizes the ligaments give it a course. When theres a malfunctioning of an organ respiratory impairment of cells happens. An organ starts moving in a wrong way.


The osteopath with his hands brings back normal movement (breathing) of organ, on which its correct functioning is dependant.


What does osteopathy cure?


There are three currents in osteopathy: cranio-sacral osteopathy, which treats cranial bones; vertebral osteopathy, concentrated on the spine; and visceral osteopathy, devoted to the internal.


But osteopaths comment philosophically that they treat an organism as a whole. According to the philosophy of osteopaths, there are no particular diseases but disorders caused by dysfunction of organs. Biliary dyskinesia is a good example. Osteopathy cures well the diseases caused by commissural process. What does it mean? When a disease occurs in the organism, the diseased organ is being isolated. For example, a woman gets adnexitis ovaritis. Organism solders this ovary up, as though covering it with membrane, to isolate it from surrounding structures. Otherwise, the inflammation can develop and the pus can appear that can flow out and affect other organs.


Osteopathy is recommended in cases of sleep disturbance, dysfunction of gastrointestinal tract, disordered posture. But theres a reservation: it depends on the origin of the disease. Lets take scoliosis. Osteopathy does cure symptomatic scoliosis and doesnt cure the disease itself. Symptomatic scoliosis is a disordered posture of inorganic origin. For example, when somebody has a liver disease, a gall-stone, he/she unintentionally bends to the right, holds on to the liver and goes in such a posture during several days. He/she gets used to it, and when he/she straightens he/she gets a symptomatic scoliosis.


 Osteopathy cures nephroptosis the falling of kidney, visceroptosis. The diseased organ is being lifted up to return it to its normal functioning.  Osteopaths remove sand from kidneys lifting up the organ.


Osteopathy cures vegetovascular dystonia, tachycardia, if the dysfunction is caused by rhythm failure and strain of the diaphragm with stress being background.


Osteopathy is highly recommended for rehabilitation of women after childbirth. Soft manual techniques enhance recovery processes in the womans organism.


Osteopathy is also recommended in cases of lymphostasis: the hands of osteopath make lymph outflow better.


Osteopathy is indispensable in the cases of sexual dysfunctions.  Making the blood supply of genitals better, osteopaths cure well impotence.


Methods of mild manual therapy do well when used for treating any diseases. Osteopaths do not treat oncological diseases but they remove pain syndrome and improve the quality of life in general. There were cases when osteopaths found the hotbed of cancer earlier than orthodox doctors because they felt with the sensitive hands that the diseased organ doesnt move.


If to talk about cerebral spastic infantile paralyses, osteopaths are careful in their predictions. Its possible to improve the mobility of muscles, but its impossible to change the structure of organically underdeveloped cerebral cells.


On the whole, osteopathy helps in the case of diseases caused by psycho-emotional disorders. An osteopath often happens to be a neurologist by his first profession and it helps him to affect the hotbed of disease in a complex way and to optimize the result.


Where to get an osteopathic education in Russia?


Frankly speaking, there are few good osteopaths in Russia, i.e. those specialists who were trained by world celebrities and have got proper diplomas. Getting this profession is quite a laborious enterprise. To become a professional osteopath you need to have the first medical education and to study osteopathy during three years. It requires time and money.


There are few schools in Russia where you can study osteopathy: Russian higher osteopathic school in Saint-Petersburg, which has a Moscow branch; refresher courses for physicians in Moscow; a branch of English Osteopathic School in Saint-Petersburg with a limited enrolment.


Zvezdin Matvey: neurologist, manual therapist, doctor of osteopathy.


Osteopathy is a state of mind, a special philosophy of self-regulation of organism. I practice manual therapy for 14 years. I worked in the ambulance, in polyclinics and in the upshot have come to what I believe to be the highest manifestation of manual therapy. This is osteopathy. Im sure that in the course of time osteopathy will be widespread in Russia.  In Europe nowadays osteopathy is very fashionable and in great demand. For instance, in France 50 % of the population visit osteopaths.


Osipov Pavel: neurologist, manual therapeutist, osteopath in a clinic network Medtsentrservis.


Osteopathy is valuable for its capability to make an accurate diagnosis that allows eliminating the hotbed of disease at an early stage, when the case is not advanced yet. In my practice it often happens that a patient comes with one disease and the cause of it turns out to be another disease. For example, a man comes with his shoulder aching. He complains on severe pains, says that he cures his shoulder during a year; theres no one doctor he hasnt visited. Nothing helps, the shoulder still aches. I test him with my hands and find out his liver to be expanded. I send him to ultrasound testing that shows that his liver is expanded on 2 cm, and that he has a stone in his gall-bladder. The pain as it does echoes to the shoulder. I work the liver over with osteopathic techniques and the pain in the shoulder goes away. It was a trivial Phrenicus syndrome an irritation of shoulder muscles but it the liver had to be cured.


Gashkov Dmitriy: chief medical officer in the clinic network of doctor Artemyev


Today its fashionable to invest in health. Quite often young people come to our clinic for the sake of prophylactics.  I welcome such a responsible attitude to health. You shouldnt wait till a disease manifests itself and brings you to the hospital. Nothing can help you to keep your body in norm as perfect as osteopathy does. I treat every patient with trepidation. My task is to make him/her leave our clinic in an elevated mood. As great Bechterev used to say: If a patient doesnt feel better after visiting a doctor, it means that the person he has visited was not a doctor.  In our clinic we offer unique methods of osteopathy combined with thalassotherapy and reflexotherapy. These techniques substantially optimize the effect of osteopathic treatment with hands.