What is Osteopathy?
It is a drug-free, non-invasive and gentle manual therapy that focuses on improving health across all body systems, and not just the injured or affected areas via soft tissue manipulation.
As osteopathic manual practitioners, we believe that the freedom of the structure of the body determines its quality of function and that the body can self-heal and self-regulate efficiently when the nervous, circulatory and musculoskeletal systems are working at their optimal capacity in unison. This is the ultimate goal of an osteopathic treatment.
Every treatment is a whole-body assessment and treatment approach, where we look at every part of the body, to ensure that we understand how every piece of the puzzle is contributing to overall function and movement. Every treatment is tailored to the individual and is therefore unique, based on the body’s needs.
When should I see an Osteopath?
There is no wrong time to ever see an Osteopath. The gentle approach of an Osteopathic Treatment makes it very beneficial to those in acute pain who may not be able to tolerate other forms of therapy. Treatment at this time focuses on calming the nervous system, relieving any spasm, and increasing blood flow to the injured areas to promote healing.
If you are dealing with chronic pain or a persistent injury, Osteopathy may be a great new approach. Your practitioner can offer a fresh set of eyes (and hands) to your injury. Because Osteopathy focuses on the “Body As A Whole” and not just the site of injury, many chronic problems can be addressed by treating the root cause and not just the symptoms.
How long is an osteopathic treatment? The initial appointment is 60min and follow-up appointments are 45mins or 30mins.
Does a 60min/45min/30min appointment mean I get 60min/45min/30min of hands-on treatment? No. The time for an osteopathic appointment is for the practitioner to have enough time to process the full-body assessment and treatment application as well as post-treatment discussion if necessary. Sometimes the treatment protocol requires the entire session, and other times hands-on treatment may be shorter. It all depends on what the practitioner finds and what they need to work on. Every person is different, and so the time required for hands-on treatment may slightly differ.
What kinds of discomforts/pains/injuries can osteopathic treatment help with?
Any discomfort/pain/injury that is related to the musculoskeletal system can benefit from osteopathic treatment. Anything from headaches, to back pain, to lymphatic swelling, to sciatica and everything in between. Osteopathic treatment can be both progressive and preventative. In most cases, osteopathy can help people return to a level of normalcy, and other times, when damage is permanent and irreversible, osteopathic treatment can be used as a maintenance-based preventative care to preserve what health is left and to prevent the situation from worsening.
What do I wear to an appointment? Osteopathic treatments are fully clothed treatments. Wear any comfortable and loose clothing (gym clothes, lounge clothes, etc) so that movement and range of motion is easily performed.
Is it safe to have a treatment while pregnant? It depends. It is best to leave osteopathic treatment until AT LEAST the second trimester because the first trimester can be a very sensitive time for the mom and the baby as hormone balance can be very volatile in this period. Since osteopathic treatment promotes blood circulation much like other modalities, this can possibly change the hormone balance in the blood.
Isn’t Osteopathy like Chiropractic? No. Although the two modalities share similar philosophies in end goals, the path to which that end goal is achieved is completely different. Where Chiropractors focus on the bony tissue and the signature HVLA techniques (“cracking”),Osteopathic practitioners focus on the soft tissue. Hence, why osteopathic treatment is considered a gentle approach to treatment.
I already see a chiropractor/RMT/physio – how can osteopathy add to my care?
Osteopathy can offer a fresh set of eyes to a problem, especially one that has not been solved yet. Although every modality has its unique reason as to why it is successful, Osteopathy has a unique whole-body approach to every situation. Regardless of the problem at hand, Osteopathy always approaches the problem by treating the individual, rather than the disorder. Treat the individual, and the body will self-heal and self-regulate to take care of the problem.
How often should I come for an osteopathic appointment? It all depends. At first, the treatment may be necessary every 2-3 weeks, but as there is progression in pain management and resolution for complaints, those treatments become less and less frequent and shorter in duration, where either you come back on an “as needed” basis, or monthly for maintenance-based care, just as you would with chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists, in order to get ahead of any other issues that may be brewing from your everyday activities, before they get worse.
Meet our Osteopathic Practitioner
Patrick Suwala graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo in 2015 and then committed to an additional four years of osteopathic education at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in Hamilton and graduated with a Master in Practice of Osteopathic Manipulative Sciences designation (M. OMSc.) from the school at the end of 2020.
Throughout his undergrad at the University of Waterloo, Patrick found his passion in learning the anatomy and physiology of the human body, and for four years he was a volunteer teaching assistant in the human cadaver labs on campus, teaching first year students and many external visitors, including graduate-level manual therapy students about the musculoskeletal structures of the human body.
Patrick quickly grew an appreciation for the art and science of the field of manual therapy through extracurriculars like swimming and playing waterpolo competitively, and decided that this was the right avenue for him to pursue.
Patrick also helps supervise student clinic and teach at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in Hamilton.
Patrick belongs to the Ontario Osteopathic Association (OOA/OSTCAN) and is therefore recognized across all insurance providers in Ontario because of the association’s high standards.