Q. What age can you start Osteopathic treatment?
A. Treatment can be done at any age. The optimal time to begin treatment is in the newborn. Gentle, precise Osteopathic manipulation (including cranial and visceral Osteopathy) can release strain from the birth process and strain related to limited space in the uterus during the third trimester. However, patients of all ages can benefit from treatment.
Q. Why should I come for treatment?
A. No matter what our age, living life can cause a lot of stress/strain in our bodies (physical and emotional) and that can manifest as altered motion of the tissues (feeling “stuck”). This altered motion (not only physical motion, but blood and lymphatic flow too) can set the stages for chronic conditions, including disease. Treatment aids the body in returning that stuck tissue to normal and in restoring health.
Q. How often should I come for treatment?
A. If you have a specific complaint, please come in as soon as you can after it appears – it makes it easier on both of us to help it resolve. In general I recommend that everyone have one treatment every three to six months if you are feeling well.
Q. How many treatments will I need?
A. The number of treatments varies from 2 or 3 to 6 or more. It depends upon the severity of the problem, its duration, and the body’s own response to treatment. Difficult, chronic problems may require long term treatment.
Q. How often will I need treatment?
A. With a specific complaint the best interval for the initial treatments is usually every other week. After that it really depends on the individual and how your body responds to treatment. My goal is to do whatever I can to get your condition resolved.
Q. Does treatment hurt?
A. Treatment itself is quite gentle. Every once in awhile I may find a tender spot and put pressure on it to release it. Patients sometimes have discomfort in the first 24-48 hours after a visit as they process the treatment. If we are doing injection therapy you will be having a needle placed into the body. Rest assured though, that most of my patients tell me they did not even feel the needle go in.
Q. How long will it take to feel improvement?
A. This response varies from patient to patient. I do my best to have you feeling improvement by the time you leave the office. In general, more recent, simple problems respond more quickly than chronic, complicated problems. Some conditions like Autism or significant chronic back problems will require ongoing treatment.
Q. Do you do Craniosacral therapy?
A. Many or perhaps most of my patients refer to the work I do as Craniosacral Therapy. Technically the work I do is called Osteopathy in the Cranial Field. Oftentimes the term Craniosacral therapy is informally used when referring to Cranial Osteopathy, because it is a handy, descriptive term. There is a difference between the two.
Q. What is the difference between Craniosacral Therapy and Cranial Osteopathy?
A. Cranial Osteopathy is an anatomically grounded, structural treatment of the whole person. Cranial Osteopathy involves treatment of the cranium, the sacrum and everything in the body on a structural level, connective tissue level, and a fluid level. It is grounded in the study of Osteopathic Medicine which requires an undergraduate degree and fulfillment of premedical school requirements, plus four years of full medical school, and usually at least three additional years of full-time residency training. It takes many, many years to develop this expertise (at least 11 years after high school). During this training and while in practice, specialization can be obtained in Cranial Osteopathy (a minimum of 40 intensive hours of cranial anatomy review and skill development). The Certificate of Cranial Proficiency, which I hold, requires all of the above plus at least two 40-hour cranial courses, plus a publishable case study, plus written, oral and practical exams, plus five years in clinical practice.
Craniosacral therapy addresses movement of fluid and energy at the cranium and sacrum and sometimes through the body. It is a subset of Cranial Osteopathy and is a simplified approach to a complicated system. Craniosacral therapy is done by a large variety of practitioners with varying amounts of education and experience. Since Craniosacral is taught to practitioners without full medical training (and sometimes without any), and without comprehensive structural training it tends to be less helpful in addressing the underlying cause of medical conditions. While Craniosacral therapists are able to help many patients, it is important to understand the limitations of this discipline. Legally a craniosacral therapist is not a doctor and thus cannot diagnose a patient. We were taught in medical school that “until you have a diagnosis, you don’t know the treatment”. Particular care should be taken when selecting a practitioner for infants or children whose systems are less fully developed. I have found some to be very talented, and some not so much.
Q. Is your treatment similar to Chiropractic?
A. Chiropractic work traditionally uses quick thrusts to address poor alignment of the vertebrae. Osteopathic treatment does treat the vertebrae specifically. Instead of a quick thrust I usually balance the vertebra along with its surrounding muscles, fascia and ligaments. This releases the entire pattern rather than just the joint. I also incorporate many things in my practice (eyeglass prescriptions, injection therapy, and other treatments) that a chiropractor is not allowed to do in their practice. Another important difference is that Osteopathic Medicine is more holistic. Chiropractic generally focuses on releasing nerves that are impinged at the level of the spine. Nerve impingement is very important with Osteopathic Medicine but we also release restrictions throughout the body entire including large patterns of restriction in the fascia, local muscular restrictions, restrictions in the blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid, restrictions within the membranes and bones of the cranium and even restrictions within the brain tissue itself.
Q. Is Osteopathy similar to acupressure?
A. No, acupressure is based on the Chinese model of meridians and pressure is applied to points along these meridians. Osteopathy is based on the Western understanding of anatomy and physiology: specific bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves and blood vessels.
Q. Where can I find a D.O. near me who does this kind of work?
A. The Osteopathic Cranial Academy and the American Academy of Osteopathy have resources available online (find a physician). In the State of Indiana you can check with the Indiana Osteopathic Association. If you are still having difficulty after looking there, please call the office and we will do our best to help.