11 things you didn’t know about Osteopathy in Vancouver

Posted In: Chronic Pain, Fertility, Osteopathy

It’s an often misunderstood practice, and many people who need it don’t fully know the breadth of its benefits. Osteopathy in Vancouver is an internally accredited profession, and our Vancouver Osteopaths at Thuja Wellness have a master’s degree in Osteopathic Medicine. 

Osteopathy is a holistic manual healthcare practice that treats pain and dysfunction related to your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, nerves, connective tissue and internal organs. Unique biomechanical principles and Osteopathic Techniques are applied to encourage the body to heal quickly and efficiently.

Here are 11 things you may not know about Osteopathy in Vancouver: 

1. Osteopathy is not like Chiropractic

While both practices involve adjustments, Osteopathy is not the same as Chiropractic. It does not use HVLA or thrust-type adjustments. Instead, Osteopathy treats the body as a whole to bring balance through more gentle approaches. Osteopathy helps relieve the pressure that blocks the flow of your body’s systems, including nerves, veins, and lymphatics.

2. Most treatments are 20-30 minutes

Most Osteopathic treatments can be done in just 20-30 minutes and are non-invasive so that you can go back to work or your daily routine after your treatment. Some treatments can be slightly longer, at 30-45 minutes. 

3. Osteopathy includes many different treatments

Depending on your injury or pain, an osteopath can perform different, non-invasive treatments. These include:

  • Osteopathic Soft Tissue Massage: Warms up your muscles for deeper treatment and helps your Osteopath diagnose on a more intricate level. 
  • Muscle Energy Technique (MET): Helps with musculoskeletal and nerve tension injuries by increasing range of motion. 
  • Osteopathic Joint Manipulation: Slow, gentle manipulation forces your joints through a full range of motion to restore joint function. 
  • Balanced Ligamentous Tension (BLT): Gentle manipulation of ligaments around a joint. It’s ideal for feet, knees, wrists, hands, elbows, and shoulders. 
  • Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy: Helps unwind knots or scar tissue within your muscles.
  • Exercise Prescription: A series of exercises you can do at home to speed up healing between sessions. 

Your Osteopath may also recommend adjustments to your diet and lifestyle to help support your healing. 

4. Osteopathy isn’t just for post-injury support

An Osteopath can help those with pain after an injury, but it can also help avoid injury in the first place. Osteopathic treatments can help align your body to minimize the chances of injury during exercise or other movements. Athletes commonly use Osteopathy to correct body misalignment or imbalance, and that past injuries don’t affect future performance.

5. Osteopaths don’t treat your symptoms

Your Osteopathic practitioner will listen to your symptoms and work to find the root cause of your pain. They can help provide relief from the symptoms while working on a holistic, full-body approach to restoring balance and removing blockages to promote healing. This differs from Western medicine, which focuses on treating your symptoms rather than the root cause. 

Muscle Energy Technique Example
Here, Ila uses Muscle Energy Technique (MET) on this patient to help ease their chronic shoulder pain.

6. Babies can benefit from Osteopathy too

We wish more people knew about the benefits of Osteopathy on babies and children. If the child had a traumatic birth, both mom and baby can receive treatments to ease the pain and stresses it puts on their bodies. For example, if forceps were used or you had a cesarean birth, Osteopathy can help with cranial compression or incomplete re-inflation.

For example, cranial Osteopathy can help calm babies and improve their sleep (and by relation, yours as a new parent too). Osteopathy can also help your baby get relief from colic, gastroesophageal reflux, digestive issues, and restlessness. 

7. Osteopathics can support work-related injuries

Many professions include repetitive motions that can cause injury. These commonly include reception or desk workers, painters, IT professionals, nurses, plumbers, electricians and doctors. Regular Osteopathic treatments can help you keep your body systems functioning optimally and ensure that the repetitive motions of your daily life or job don’t cause serious injuries. Osteopaths can also recommend some lifestyle adjustments that encourage a regular break from repetitive tasks and stretches you can perform between treatments.  

8. Canada has more manual Osteopaths than the US

According to the National Academy of Osteopathy, Canada has 5000 Osteopaths, whereas the US has only 2000. The leading countries for trained Osteopaths include France (17,460), Germany (7,000), and Italy (6,000). 

9. Osteopathy is likely covered in your extended health plan

Most major extended health insurers recognize osteopathy. In BC, it is not covered under your MSP coverage, but your extended health plan likely has full or partial coverage for treatments. 

10. You don’t need a doctors referral

While your primary care doctor or natural health practitioner may refer you to an osteopath for treatments, an official referral is not required. You can book directly without requiring a doctor’s note or recommendation. Osteopathy is also safe for use alongside other natural or western therapies, but consult your healthcare providers for details. 

11. There are 2 types of Osteopaths

Osteopaths fall into one of two categories: Medical or Manual. Osteopathic Physicians or Surgeons are under the legislation and licensing of provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and practice both western medicine but with the benefits of the whole-person approach to care. They can also prescribe medication, and some can perform surgery.

Manual (sometimes known as Traditional) Osteopaths focus on the holistic approach to care, including balancing the body’s muscles, bones, joints, and soft tissues.   

Are you looking for pain relief?

If you’re looking for pain relief and you live in and around Vancouver, Thuja Wellness has Osteopathic practitioners with appointments available for you. Age or ability isn’t a factor as we can help all ages from newborn to the elderly. 

Book your first or next Osteopathic appointment on our website today.