Osteopathy is a branch of medicine which views the body as a whole and complete unit with each part having a distinct relationship with each other taking into account blood supply (the rule of the artery), nerve supply, fascia, venous and lymphatic drainage and the compensatory integration of the whole musculoskeletal system.
Osteopathy is a system of healing that deals with the structure of the body, i.e. bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and general connective tissues (fascia), their relationship with one another and the effect it can have on the organs and vice versa.
The term “Osteopathy” was first used by its founder, Dr Andrew Taylor Still in 1874 to describe a philosophy and practice of healing that he had developed. He believed that the human blood supply to all the tissues of the body was indispensable to their normal function. If any structural problem eg muscle spasm or curvature of the spine interfered with this nerve and blood flow, the self- healing power was interfered with and disease would result. With this in mind he worked out a system of manipulation intended to re-align any structural deviations and abnormalities.
Dr Still was the first person to put forward a rational explanation as to why the spine was so important to the maintenance of health because it encloses the spinal cord. The spinal cord can be described as an extension of the brain which controls all the functions of the body; not only the muscles but also tissues such as the vital organs (heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys), blood vessels and glands. Any interference to the nerves passing to and from the brain via the spinal cord must affect the normal functions of the tissues to which those nerves pass or from which they arise.