7 Injuries & Conditions that Can Be Treated with Manual Osteopathic Massage

Did you know that nearly one in five Canadians suffer from chronic pain? If you’ve ever experienced ongoing pain and the discomfort that goes along with it, then you know that often all you want is some lasting relief. The relaxing touch of massage therapy can help provide comfort and alleviate pain associated with inflammation and joint issues. One specific type of massage therapy that can help you find relief is manual osteopathic massage. Manual osteopaths use assessment and sensitive touch techniques to soothe your aches and pains during a focused therapeutic massage session.  

Many of our clients favour manual osteopathic massage because it is a drug-free, non-invasive treatment that helps to improve and balance the musculoskeletal framework. Because it works well with other massage techniques, clients can choose the best of both worlds with manual osteopathic assessment and techniques in combination with other therapies, such as gentle PNF stretches, therapeutic massage, or myofascial release. Manual osteopathic massage is also beneficial for a wide range of individuals of all ages and conditions.

How Manual Osteopathic Massage Can Benefit You

A fully trained Manual Osteopath performs manual osteopathic massage and is qualified to sense the problem areas in your muscles and joints to respond with targeted massage techniques. There are many possible benefits from manual osteopathic massage because the methods promote healing across the body’s systems. An increase of blood flow in the body can improve joint mobility, relieve musculoskeletal imbalances, and provide a natural anti-inflammatory response.  

How Does Manual Osteopathic Massage Work?

Manual osteopathic massage uses stretching, gentle pressure, and resistance on your muscles while incorporating manual osteopathic techniques to help balance the body’s systems. The techniques used aim to support your overall health while also treating any specific aches and pains. Using targeted assessment and refined palpation skills, our manual osteopaths react to the body’s connective tissues, positively affecting congestion, dehydration, scarring, stiffness, and joint pain. Many clients find this massage method to be more comfortable than joint manipulations, and it can be beneficial for people with various conditions. 

Manual Osteopathy Massage Techniques

Manual osteopathic massage uses several different techniques to treat a variety of conditions in your body. Our Manual Osteopaths may use therapeutic massage or an approach called manual osteopathic articular technique to soothe your joints and reduce muscle tension and restrictions. They might use soft tissue manipulation to stimulate circulation and locate stiffness in your muscles and limbs. Your therapist may use two other techniques: craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation. No two therapy appointments will be identical because each person’s body and condition are different. Our Manual Osteopaths tailor their techniques to match your unique needs. 

Muscular Tension 

Muscular tension occurs when certain muscles of the body remain in a semi-contracted state for a long period of time. Manual osteopathic massage is used to relax muscles, ease tension, relieve chronic pain, and revitalize the body. 

There are several techniques which can be used to achieve this:    

– Osteoarticular corrections, which balance the structure of the body.

– Visceral manipulations to gently relax the fascial connections of the viscera.

– Fascial release to increase tissue mobility and improve range of motion of muscles and joints.

– Craniosacral techniques to help decrease vagal tone and regulate the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn relaxes the body.

– Therapeutic massage.


Arthritis refers to inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. Although there are many types of arthritis, all include some form of joint pain and stiffness. 

We cannot cure arthritis, but we can help manage some of the symptoms that inhibit your day to day living with manual osteopathic massage. Techniques used can help ease neurological irritations around a joint, make joints more mobile, and reduce pain and discomfort. The careful manipulations also help reduce inflammation that causes stiffness and muscle pain in problematic joints, including in the hands, feet, and knees. Regular appointments can also help to improve your range of motion. 

We combine gentle massage techniques and craniosacral techniques to help calm the nervous system, which can relieve the inflammatory pain signals. 


Headaches may include isolated or diffused pain in any region of the head and can occur on one or both sides. Pain can radiate as a throb or a dull ache. The type of headache you have depends on whether the headache is a condition or a symptom of another condition. Primary headaches include tension headaches and migraines, where the headache is the condition. Meanwhile, secondary headaches can be the result of other injuries or conditions, such as head trauma or hypertension. If you have a headache, you may also be experiencing a combination of these two types of headaches. Stress can also be a significant contributor to headaches.  

Treatment options to relieve headaches typically involve an in-depth intake assessment, followed by a manual osteopathic assessment. Because there are so many contributing factors and variances in headaches, the techniques your therapist uses may vary from treatment to treatment and person to person. Some of the techniques typically used to treat headaches are therapeutic massage and fascial release of the shoulders, neck, and head.

Our experienced Manual Osteopaths may also use craniosacral therapy, a gentle technique that assesses the mobility of the skull and the inner membranes. Treating the cranium helps to  restore balance to the circulatory system and other body systems, including your body’s inherent biorhythm. This treatment can help relieve and reduce chronic headaches.

Back Pain 

Back pain is a common condition our clients have, and like headaches, back pain can have different points of origin. A thorough assessment will be done to help discover the source of your specific back pain. Several of our techniques used in combination can provide relief for back pain. Similar to other massage therapies, during a manual osteopathic massage appointment, your manual osteopath will use soft tissue manipulation to relax your muscles and stimulate circulation throughout your body. As the treatment progresses and we find the trouble spots in your muscles and joints, we’ll adapt our techniques to provide the most relief. 

A few techniques we may use include fascial release, therapeutic massage, and osteoarticular corrections to help balance the hips.

Digestive Issues

Visceral manipulation is a technique manual osteopaths use to address restrictions with the organs. This gentle method is often used to reduce discomfort in organs in the body, such as the liver, stomach, intestines, bladder, etc… During your massage appointment, one of our trained manual osteopaths will apply gentle pressure to your digestive organs and the surrounding fascia to help reset and relieve discomfort.

For digestive issues, therapeutic massage techniques are often combined with craniosacral techniques to help calm the nervous system to bring you into a state of “Rest & Digest.” As always, we recommend daily movement and a healthy diet rich in greens and drinking plenty of water to keep things moving. 

Postural Dysfunctions 

Postural dysfunctions occur when the body is positioned in unnatural positions that cause stress on muscles, joints, and vertebrae. Imbalances may be the result of long-term compensations due to injuries, stress, and poor alignment.

If posture is an element you would like to focus on, talk to our manual osteopaths at the start of your appointment, and we’ll assess and adapt our techniques where needed. Three common techniques we will use include osteoarticular manipulations, fascial release, and, indirectly, craniosacral techniques.

Disruptive Sleep

Similar to other massage therapies, during a manual osteopathic massage appointment, your manual osteopath will use soft tissue manipulation to relax your muscles and stimulate circulation throughout your body. As the treatment progresses and we find the trouble spots in your muscles and joints, we’ll adapt our techniques to provide the most relief. The overall relaxation that manual osteopathic massage promotes, along with relief from pain, discomfort and stress, allows clients to feel more at ease when they lie down to sleep at night. 

Since disruptive sleep often occurs as a result of stress and anxiety, our Manual Osteopaths may use craniosacral techniques to regulate the nervous system and promote relaxation. We may also recommend meditations or breathing techniques to help quiet the mind before sleeping. Finally, our therapists will likely talk to you about maintaining a calming nighttime routine, which may include elements like an epsom salt bath, chamomile tea, and avoiding screens and bright lights for a minimum of one hour before bedtime.

Book Your Manual Osteopathic Massage Appointment in St. Albert

If you’re ready to try manual osteopathic massage to get some relief from your joint pain, body discomfort, and other conditions, book a MO massage with one of our trained Manual Osteopaths. If you have any other questions about manual osteopathy, contact our clinic—we’re always happy to answer your health questions.

20% off