oman sitting at a desk stressing out with a headache
Osteopathic manual therapy (OMT) is based on the principles of osteopathy, a medical philosophy that emphasizes the interrelationship between the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system, and the overall health and well-being of an individual.

Isn’t Osteopathy About Bones and Muscles?

Not necessarily. Osteopathic treatment encompasses all systems of the body. One of the many goals of OMT is to promote relaxation within the body and act as a stress management tool. This is accomplished through a variety of techniques, including soft tissue manipulation, stretching, and mobilization of the joints. OMT is usually used to treat a wide range of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, and joint pain. However, osteopathy can also be used to decrease the sympathetic tone of the nervous system in order to help alleviate the weight of stress and anxiety symptoms such as stress headaches, panic attacks, social/relationship anxiety, postpartum anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and shortness of breath,just to name a few. 

How does osteopathic manual therapy help with these symptoms?

There are several ways in which OMT can promote relaxation within the body. One of the most important is by improving blood flow and circulation. OMT techniques such as soft tissue manipulation and joint mobilization can help to improve blood flow to the affected areas, which can reduce tension and the activity of stress hormones and therefore promote relaxation because of the gentle nature of such techniques.

Osteopathic manual therapy can also help to reduce muscle tension and stiffness. Many people carry tension in their muscles, particularly in the neck, shoulders, and back. This tension can cause pain, discomfort, and even stress headaches. OMT techniques such as stretching and soft tissue manipulation can help to release this tension, allowing the muscles to relax and reducing stress, pain and discomfort.

Many people carry stress and tension in different areas of their bodies, and this can have a negative impact on their overall health and well-being long-term. OMT can help to reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and improving the body’s ability to handle stress through techniques used to decrease the body’s elevated “fight-or-flight” nervous system response, and ultimately help you get back on track with quality rest and relaxation.

Is there research to back these claims?

Research has shown that Osteopathic manual therapy can be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, including back pain, neck pain, headaches, and joint pain. In addition to its pain-relieving effects, OMT can also promote relaxation and improve overall well-being. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine found that OMT can reduce stress and anxiety symptoms in patients with chronic pain.

In the study, patients received six weeks of OMT treatment, and their stress and anxiety levels were measured before and after the treatment period. The researchers found that the patients who received OMT experienced significant reductions in stress and anxiety levels compared to those who did not receive treatment.

Another study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that OMT can reduce muscle tension and improve relaxation in patients with chronic neck pain. In the study, patients received four sessions of OMT over a period of two weeks. The researchers found that the patients who received OMT experienced significant reductions in muscle tension and improvements in stress and anxiety disorders compared to those who did not receive Osteopathic manual therapy.

Overall, osteopathy can be a highly effective form of treatment for promoting relaxation within the body. By improving blood flow, reducing muscle tension and stiffness, and reducing stress and anxiety levels, OMT can help to improve overall health and well-being. 

Zen Wellness Clinic has been a very well-established massage therapy clinic in Milton, Ontario for the last 12 years, and now offers osteopathy for the Milton community. If you are interested in exploring the benefits of Osteopathic manual therapy for yourself, book your appointment online today, or if you have questions, book your free 15 min consultation call with our Osteopathic manual therapy practitioner Patrick Suwala or Jenna Labranche for next steps in your health journey!

Meet our Osteopathic Practitioners


Patrick Suwala

Patrick Suwala

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.

Jenna Labranche

Jenna Labranche
Jenna earned her Master in Practice of Osteopathic Manipulative Sciences Diploma (M.OMSc) after completing a 4 year program at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy. Prior to becoming an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, Jenna completed her undergraduate degree in Bachelor of Science, Honours Kinesiology at The University of Waterloo, earning her R.Kin.
Jenna has a love for sports, fitness, and being outdoors. She has been involved in sports since a young age including being a Competitive Dancer and Rep Softball player. After ongoing injuries and pain with no relief she was then introduced to Osteopathy which changed everything. Her experiences led her into expanding her knowledge of the human body to become an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner.

Serving the town of Milton since 2022, Jenna looks forward to bringing her skills to our team at Zen. Providing a holistic approach using the principles of Osteopathy, manipulation is applied gently to facilitate the body’s ability to self-heal and self-regulate. Through an individualized treatment and the understanding that the body is a dynamic unit of function, Jenna works with the interrelated systems of the body to bring health to the structures for optimal function. Investigating on the ‘why’ there is dysfunction and discover the root cause of the problem.

Combining her love and passion of the human body, being active, and helping others makes being an osteopathic manual practitioner both enjoyable and rewarding. Through extensive knowledge, empathy and understanding, her goal is to get you back to your daily activities and doing what you love!

Book a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your condition and how Osteopathy may be able to help