WHISKY, opium, arsenic and castor oil were commonly prescribed for a swag of ailments in the late 1800s. Not surprisingly the cure rate was low, not helped by unsanitary surgical practices of the times.
Which led US doctor Andrew Taylor Still to come up with osteopathy in 1870, the name a blend of the Greek osteon for bone and pathos for suffering.
More than 140 years later, Australian osteopaths are government-registered practitioners who must undertake five years’ university training, plus 25 hours of training every year.
As primary healthcare practitioners they and are trained to perform standard medical examinations of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems, and are trained to recognise conditions that require medical referral when necessary.
Dr Still believed the body would operate smoothy into old age if properly maintained, and his holistic approach remains at the core of osteopathy.
“We do a detailed case history to find out about the whole person,” Melville osteopath Anna Myers says.
Once a history is taken a treatment plan is established from a combination of approaches: “including manual therapy in which techniques range from very gentle to quite firm, discussion about lifestyle, including posture, stress and pain management or exercise prescription.”
Like many osteopaths, Ms Myers has furthered her training with a graduate certificate in paediatric and neonatal therapy, to enable her to work with babies and young children.
Excessive crying or difficulty in feeding can be an indication of deeper problems, she says: “Sometimes these children’s muscles are slightly tight and [osteopathy] may help that.”
Ms Myers is one of 10 practitioners at the Melville Osteopathy Clinic, McCoy Street, Myaree.
For more info go to melvilleosteopathy.com.au
by JENNY D’ANGER