What is Manual Osteopathy & How Does it Work?

If aches and pains have become a way of life for you, there’s a strong chance that manual osteopathy can help you rediscover what normal feels like. 

Whether you’ve heard of manual osteopathy or you’re completely new to it, you probably have a few questions about how it works. It’s not a new type of therapy (it was developed in 1892), but it’s quickly becoming more well-known for its benefits. 

The expert massage therapists at Urban Massage & Wellness are passionate about the results manual osteopathy has had for their clients. We want to share this amazing therapy with more people who can benefit from it. With that in mind, here’s an overview of everything you need to know about manual osteopathy before your first appointment!

The Basics of Manual Osteopathy

Any massage therapist’s goal is whole-body wellness, which means achieving balance and full functioning throughout the body. That’s what makes manual osteopathy so effective; it acts on the musculoskeletal framework, impacting many of the body’s systems and organs.

The first thing to know is that manual osteopathy is a gentle, hands-on technique. By manipulating the alignment of muscles, bones, and joints, manual osteopathy helps remove obstructions throughout the body. This helps fluids such as blood and lymph flow easily, helps with balance and alignment, and improves the body’s self-healing capabilities.

Techniques & How They Work

There are a few different techniques used in manual osteopathy. The type of treatment you need will depend on what you’d like to achieve. Here are four techniques you might experience during a MO treatment: 

Visceral Manipulation 

Visceral manipulation works on your organs specifically. It helps align organs and make sure they’re in the proper place, which keeps them functioning at their best. Issues in just one organ can affect your body in so many ways, which is why clients with all types of challenges seek out visceral manipulation.

Advanced Myofascial Release

Connective tissue in your body (known as “fascia”) is largely responsible for keeping everything in place. Trauma, scarring, and inflammation can cause the smooth layers of fascia to become tight and tense, and to stop moving properly. 

Osteoarticular Manipulation 

Focusing on aligning the joints and bones of the body, osteoarticular manipulation can help decrease pain and tension and increase mobility.

Craniosacral Therapy

Using subtle, light touches, craniosacral therapy acts on the skull and sacrum (the wedge-shaped vertebrae at the bottom of your spine). This treatment helps with the movement of cerebrospinal fluid, but in doing so, it actually impacts the entire body.

Conditions That Manual Osteopathy Can Help Alleviate

Most people don’t know that manual osteopathy could be a great treatment option for them. 

Although the list is long, here are a few of the main conditions MO can treat:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Injuries from sports, repetitive strains, and motor vehicle accidents
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Planters fasciitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tendonitis
  • Sciatica
  • Digestive issues
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression

Other Benefits of MO

In addition to achieving specific results, manual osteopathy benefits the body by restoring the body’s healing properties and improving its natural functions. Just like fixing one damaged part in a machine can make the whole system work more smoothly, slight changes to one area of the body can impact your overall wellbeing.

  A few examples of what might be going on in your body after treatment are: 

  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Increased range of motion
  • Reduced joint pain and stiffness
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased immune system functioning

What to Expect During Your Manual Osteopathy Treatment

Manual osteopathy is a relaxing, gentle treatment. After you’ve completed some forms and talked to your therapist about any health issues, pain, or discomfort you’ve been having, he or she will perform a few tests to get a baseline for treatment. These may include motion range tests, postural tests, and orthopedic testing. Another test uses gentle touch to examine joints, muscles, and soft tissue (this is called palpation). After these tests, your therapist will understand more about which systems could benefit most from treatment. 

Most manual osteopathy treatments can be completed with your clothes on. Be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment so your therapist can move your body throughout the treatment.

After the treatment, you might experience a bit of soreness or tightness for 24-48 hours. That’s because your therapist is helping your body shift into the right position, so don’t be worried! After a day or two, you should have a full range of motion without any tenderness.

Add It Into Your Regular Massage for Extra Benefits

A manual osteopathy treatment is usually scheduled for one hour, but can be longer or shorter depending on what you and your therapist decide is best. The benefits of MO can be felt even when you have a short treatment on a regular basis. Ask us about adding manual osteopathy to your regular massage to get the benefits of both types of treatment!

Manual Osteopathy Therapists at Urban Massage & Wellness

Manual osteopathy is complex and requires an in-depth knowledge of the body and its systems. Our therapists have been trained in the manual osteopathy techniques and philosophies and they’re passionate about their continuing education in this area.

Manual osteopathy in St. Albert is becoming more popular, and our appointments are booking fast. If you’d like to try a manual osteopathy treatment for yourself, be sure to book in early with our manual osteopathy experts:

  • Nicole St. Laurent
  • Sonia Van Der Vinne
  • Leah Wegewitz

Ready to Try Manual Osteopathy in St. Albert?

You can book your next appointment online using our easy booking system. If you have questions about manual osteopathy or any other treatment, call or email to ask our expert massage therapists. We also offer massage therapy, cupping, and an infrared sauna to help you feel your best. We look forward to seeing you at our St. Albert massage clinic soon! 


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