What is Osteopathy

Osteopathy is the practice of manual (working with our hands) medicine. Osteopaths in Australia study for five years full time at university and graduate with a Master of Osteopathy. Osteopaths will diagnose your pain by doing orthopaedic testing, osteopathic screening tests and by reading X-rays, MRI's or other scans you may bring to your appointment. If the osteopath is unsure of a diagnosis they may refer you for an x-ray or MRI or speak with your GP or specialist.

At your first appointment your osteopath will take a thorough medical history of previous surgery, illnesses, current medications, occupation and previous and current sport/exercise to get a clear picture of your lifestyle, the trauma you have had and in what way you use your body. Osteopath's guiding philosophy and principles are to recognise that the mind, body and spirit make up the whole, and that person functions best when these three things are in unity. Also, the body's structure and function are interrelated; if one is not working it will directly affect the other. This means for example a compressed irritated joint in the neck that is not moving properly could lead to on-going heachache and/or scalp and eye pain. Osteopathy if considered a holistic practice as it focuses on the source of your pain and not just the symptoms.

Osteopaths use many different techniques depending on the age, health and pathology of the patient. Techniques may include soft tissue massage, joint articulation and mobilisation, muscle energy technique, balanced ligament tension and cranial sacral therapy. Osteopaths are educated to treat newborns and elderly patients and are considered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to be primary health care practitioners. Osteopaths treat a wide range of musculoskeletal problems as well as aid in the treatment of chronic pathologies. Osteopaths also have a role in the treatment of acute and chronic pain as well as rehabilitation.


The practice of osteopathy started in America in the late 1800's and has been practised in Australia for the last 100 years. From 1864 to 1874, following an outbreak of spinal meningitis, an American physician, Dr Andrew Taylor Still, developed medical theories that differed dramatically from the popular medical school of thought. He was outspoken in his criticism of the inappropriate use of drug therapy, and advocated the treatment of the individual rather than the disease in isolation.

Though ridiculed and derided by his peers, Dr Still persisted. The results of his radical (for that time) treatments, and the success and popularity with his patients resulted in the establishment of the American School of Osteopathy. It became popular in Australia in the 1980's when osteopaths became registered and there are now three universities teaching osteopathy in Australia.

Osteopathy is now covered by all major health funds in Australia as well as the Chronic Disease Management Scheme with Medicare. There are now approximately 1500 osteopaths registered and practising in Australia .

Source : Australian Osteopathic Association

Cranial Treatment

The man who is famous for “CRANIAL” treatment is an osteopath called William Garner Sutherland. His concepts and techniques are being ¬used all over the world to help people in pain. This approach is brilliant. He felt the movements of cellular respiration as a pattern of breathing movements in the skull. He taught us to feel these “cranial” movements everywhere in the body. Where an area could not breath properly, it could not function properly.