In Australia, osteopaths are government registered allied health practitioners who complete university training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, general healthcare diagnosis, and osteopathic techniques.
The first of the major principles of osteopathic medicine is that the human body is a unit, an integrated organism in which no part functions independently. This regulation, coordination and integration of the body through multiple biological systems is often referred to as the principle of body unity. According to this principle, abnormalities in the structure or function of one part of the body may unfavourably influence other parts, and eventually, the body as a whole. Thus the body is viewed as an interrelated group of organ systems, each one dependent on the others, and each one compensating along with the others in order to meet the demands of the internal and external environments of the body.
The second major principle of osteopathic medicine is that the body has an inherent capacity to maintain its own health and to heal itself. By extension, this principle implies that there must be adequate circulation to and from all tissues of the body, and there must be proper nervous system function in order to coordinate the actions of all of the body’s organs and systems
The third basic osteopathic principle is that structure and function are interrelated, that the musculoskeletal system can reflect changes in and can produce changes in other body systems. Osteopaths place great importance on the role of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. The interrelationship between structure and function is one of the most unique aspects of osteopathic medicine.
The fourth basic principle of osteopathic medicine is that rational treatment is based upon integration of the first three principles into the total care of the patient. Thus treatment is based on the principles of body unity, self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms, the somatic component of disease, the interrelationship between structure and function, and the appropriate use of manipulative treatment.
Osteopaths focus on your neuro-musculoskeletal system - the bones, muscles, nerves and other tissues that support your body and control its movements. Osteopaths provide musculoskeletal and nervous system assessments, manual therapy; clinical exercise programs; and movement, postural, positioning advice and ergonomic assessments. Your osteopath may also offer ongoing support and educational advice about your lifestyle, stress management, diet or other factors that may influence your pain, injury or movement.