Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together.

To an osteopath, for your body to work well, its structure must also work well. So osteopaths work to restore your body to a state of balance, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery.

Osteopaths use touch, physical manipulation, stretching and massage to increase the mobility of joints, to relieve muscle tension, to enhance the blood and nerve supply to tissues, and to help your body’s own healing mechanisms. They may also provide advice on posture and exercise to aid recovery, promote health and prevent symptoms recurring.

Techniques used at Belper Natural Health Centre

Soft Tissue

Soft tissue techniques are a range of techniques applied directly or indirectly to the muscles and their surrounding tissues.

These may include kneading, rolling, effleurage, traction or inhibition. They are used to stretch and or relax muscles, improve circulation to local areas of dysfunction, improve nutrition and oxygen metabolism in local tissues and provide a general state of relaxation.

These techniques are used either on their own or in combination with Muscle Energy techniques, Articulation and direct manipulation techniques.

Articulation

Sometimes we get stuck, our joints do not move as well as they should or could.

Articulation is a passive movement applied in a smooth rhythmic fashion to gradually stretch contracted muscles, ligaments and peri-articular tissue by working against the resistance of these and related tensions, which may be thought of as maintaining the joint in an abnormal position.

Basically the surrounding muscles and ligaments often restrict the joint movement – the joint is then stuck or restricted.

Articulation is a more gentle persuasive technique to help mobilise the restricted joint. It is gentle and often calming and should not be unduly uncomfortable.

Muscle Energy Techniques

Sometimes the nervous system has set the muscle in the wrong place in a position of constant tension. This means that joint moved by that muscle has a reduced ranged of motion.

Muscle Energy Techniques or MET is used to reset the muscle to the right tension by engaging and stretching that muscle until the muscle is more relaxed and movement is returned. It is a gentle treatment which has many successful uses.

It is usually used in combination with Articulation and together they are very effective at mobilising restricted joints.

MET can also be used to strengthen weaker muscle groups as well as stretch out muscle groups that are too tight.

Manipulation

This is a group of techniques aimed at quickly moving a restricted joint into the direction of its restriction in order to improve mobility of that joint. Sometime a click or a pop is heard during this technique, but not always.

It is used mostly when other forms of treatment have not mobilised the tissues enough. However it not only improves joint mobility but also resets muscles surrounding the joint which may have been under too much tension before.

Forms of this technique are used in Chiropractic and some Physiotherapy clinics. Most people assume that Osteopaths just use this technique but this is not the case. It has its uses and is very successful in some cases, but it is not the only form of Osteopathic treatment.

Cranial

Cranial osteopathy is a gentle, safe and effective approach to treatment of a wide range of problems in the whole body.Cranial osteopathy is not different to osteopathy, it is the name given to a subtle and refined approach to osteopathy that follows all the principles of osteopathy, and it is used throughout the body not just in the head.

The name cranial osteopathy simply refers to the fact that it includes the structures inside the head.

Cranial osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction.

The osteopath is often drawn to areas in the body that have been affected by past events, such as old accidents and injuries. The body may have learned to compensate for a traumatic event or injury and the patient may be unaware that there is anything wrong, but the effects may still be present and relevant to current symptoms.

Cranial osteopathic treatment is very gentle and relaxing. During the treatment some people are aware of different sensations, such as mild tension, aching or sensitivity that gradually disappear, or of feelings of warmth and relaxation. Other people are unaware of anything happening at all during the treatment but are aware that they feel very different when they get up afterwards. Most people become deeply relaxed during treatment and it is not uncommon for people to fall asleep.

Nutritional Advice

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Accupuncture

Medical Acupuncture (Dry Needling) involves inserting fine needles for a therapeutic effect. Overall, it is an adaptation of the Chinese method just using modern up-to-date knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Medical Acupuncturists no longer conform to the notion of Ying and Yang. However, we do aim to create homeostasis within the body.

Electrotheraphy

Electrotherapy is primarily used in physical therapy for relaxation of muscle spasms, prevention and retardation of disuse atrophy, increase of local blood circulation, muscle rehabilitation and re-education electrical muscle stimulation, maintaining and increasing range of motion, management of chronic and intractable pain, post-traumatic acute pain.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound has been used since the 1940s by physical and occupational therapists for treating connective tissue: ligaments, tendons, and fascia (and also scar tissue).[36] Conditions for which ultrasound may be used for treatment include the follow examples: ligament sprains, muscle strains, tendonitis, joint inflammation, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, facet irritation, impingement syndrome, bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and scar tissue adhesion.