Osteopathy is a drug-free manual medicine that focuses on total body health through treatment and mobilization of the musculoskeletal framework. Its aim is to positively affect the body's function including the nervous, circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Osteopathy applies the knowledge of anatomy and physiology (the body’s structure and function) to all diseases, disorders and dysfunctions. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners utilize palpation and provide a gentle “manual” approach, consistent with the osteopathic philosophy, to identify the causative factors and restore function to the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, genitourinary and nervous systems.

   Andrew Taylor Still - Founder of Osteopathic Manual Medicine

Andrew Taylor Still - Founder of Osteopathic Manual Medicine

Osteopathic Treatment Methods

Osteopathic Manual Practitioners identify, assess, and treat the body’s structures and rhythms using a gentle, hands-on approach. This fundamental technique is called osteopathic palpation and is used in the four major treatment techniques:

Soft Tissue Manipulation


The practitioner uses soft tissue manipulation to evaluate the condition of tissues and to help the body’s blood and lymph fluid to circulate and assisting the body’s immune system  to be more effective.

Fascia is a connective tissue found in all parts of the body. It connects all of the body’s structures at both the superficial and deep levels. Practitioners evaluate the fascia to find areas of restriction, and then manipulate to ensure the length and tension of the fascia is properly balanced.

Osteopathic articular technique


Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use this osteoarticular technique to gently mobilize two joint surfaces, and reduce muscle spasms around a joint, ease neurological irritations around a joint, make joints more mobile and reduce pain and discomfort.

Cranial osteopathy

A gentle osteopathic technique to assess and treat the mobility of the cranial bones, fluid motility, the spine and the sacrum.

The goal of this technique is to adjust the body’s physiology by restoring balance to the circulation of the cerebrospinal spinal fluids. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners do this by treating and assessing the body’s biorhythm associated to the patient’s condition.

Visceral manipulation

Osteopathic Manual Practitioners use visceral manipulation to treat the organs and viscera of the body, including:

  • lungs
  • heart

  • liver

  • spleen
  • kidneys

  • stomach

  • pancreas
  • intestines

  • uterus

  • bladder

Patients may feel pain in one or more of these organs and Osteopathic Manual Practitioners gently move the structures and connective tissue that surrounds them to improve motility and function.

For more information visit:  ofop.ca/what-is-osteopathy