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Article 4 : Unity of the living body

Basic principles of Osteopathy

Osteopathic medicine is a philosophy of health care and a distinctive art, supported by extensive scientific knowledge.
Its philosophy embraces the concept of the unity of the living organism’s structure (anatomy) and function (physiology).
Its art is the application of this philosophy in the practice of medicine and surgery in all its branches and specialties.
Its science includes the behavioural, chemical, physical, spiritual, and biological knowledge related to the establishment and maintenance of health as well as the prevention and alleviation of disease.

Osteopathy prevents and treats a wide number of ailments based on the principle of the interdependence of the different structures that make up the human body. In other words, the different components of the body – soft tissue, vital organs, joints and muscles – are interrelated and constitute a whole. Thus, if any part of the body, such as joints, muscles, ligaments or intestines suffers a loss of mobility, this will affect the overall health of the individual.

Osteopathic concepts emphasise the following principles:

The body tends to be self-regulatory and self-healing in the face of disease processes, through complex systems of balance. This is called Homeostasis: it is the ability of the body to adjust and restore balance where it has been disrupted and to re-establish a stable condition when faced with various changes in the organism.

The human person is a unit in which structure, function, mind and spirit are mutually and reciprocally interdependent. Osteopathy recognise the unity of the body: your body, soul, experiences and environment are closely intertwined.

The body’s structures and functions are interconnected: every structure that is part of the human body serves a function. When a structural disruption occurs, these functions can be altered, and inversely functional disorders can perturb the body’s overall structure.

Through these principles, osteopathy recognizes the dynamic unity of the living body.

The hands are the therapist's unique tool. Their highly trained sense of touch enables them to perceive tensions and disturbances in the body, through the specific, precise and thorough palpations which are the foundations of their skill. Through their ability to “read” these palpations, they are able to dispense treatment to prevent and to heal.

A rational treatment regime is based on this philosophy and these principles. Treatment is always measured and requires the practitioner to determine the minimum of therapeutic intervention necessary to provide relief.

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