Therapy of the Month – Osteopathy

by Rowan on July 2, 2018

Dorothy Smith is passionate about the potential of Osteopathy to help people from all walks of life, whatever their age and background. For our blog this month, we speak to her about this uniquely holistic therapy.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a system of healthcare rooted in an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Osteopaths learn how the body works. When something goes wrong, we can work out what the problem is and what needs to change to help the body’s innate healing capabilities work as they should. We believe that if the musculo-skeletal structure of the body is in the correct alignment then the other parts of the body, such as the nervous system and the internal organs, will be able to function correctly. We usually use our hands to treat the body but we also give advice on things like posture, exercise and nutrition.

What does a session with an Osteopath involve?

An Osteopath will always take an in-depth medical history at the first appointment. Any past accidents, injuries, operations or serious illnesses have an impact on your current state of health and may have played a part in the reason for your visit. This is followed by a physical examination which might involve a few movements to assess their flexibility and locate what seems to be causing the problem. Once the issue is discovered, your Osteopath will carry out a combination of appropriate treatments, which might involve moving and stretching joints, massaging muscles and other techniques, to help bring the body back into alignment.

What are the main benefits of Osteopathy?

Osteopaths are trained to diagnose your health issue and identify possible causes. Osteopathy not only provides relief from symptoms in the short term, but also helps you to make changes which may make the problem less likely to return. Osteopathy is probably best known for treating things like back pain and joint problems, but it can help with all sorts of other issues. After a treatment you may find that your sleep improves, that you can breathe more easily and that you feel relaxed and calm.

What attracted you to become an Osteopath?

I was always interested in healthcare but felt that I wanted to be able to help people in a way that felt as natural and holistic as possible. Osteopathy seemed to look at the patient as a whole rather than just as a headache or an ankle sprain. I also liked the process of discovering what is wrong and making a diagnosis – sometimes it’s a bit like being a detective!

What is your favourite thing about Osteopathy?

I love that people can come to us with all manner of ailments and with such interesting life stories behind them. Every patient is so different that it keeps our work endlessly fascinating.

What has been the highlight of your career in Osteopathy so far?

I love working with children – they have such a joyful energy about them and whatever ails them they will still smile and laugh given the chance. I trained in Paediatric Osteopathy for two years at postgraduate level and during that time saw so many interesting cases that I don’t have one specific highlight to name. However, one of the knock-on effects of studying babies and children is that you gain a greater understanding of your adult patients. We were all a baby once!

What is your favourite therapy to use as a patient (besides Osteopathy)?

I once had a session with Tibetan Healing Bowls where the practitioner made the bowls sing all around me as I lay on a bed. It was so relaxing – I think there is something about the vibrational frequencies the bowls make that taps into your body on a cellular level (but don’t quote me on that!) It is deeply relaxing.

Dorothy Smith BA (Hons), MOst, DPO is registered with the General Osteopathic Council (no.8622) and is insured with and a member of the Institute of Osteopathy. She is also registered with a number of private healthcare insurers. She holds a Master of Osteopathy from the British School of Osteopathy and has completed a post-graduate Diploma in Paediatric Osteopathy with the internationally renowned Osteopathic Centre for Children. Dorothy continues to further her skills by attending regular professional development courses, with a special interest in Cranial Osteopathy, and is dedicated to providing the best possible service to her patients.

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