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  • Writer's pictureJulie McLean, R.KIN

What is a Manual Osteopathic Practitioner (DOMP)?

Updated: Jan 16

Since telling our clients this past week that Align now offers Osteopathic Care, I have come across common questions that I hope to answer in this blog post.

I have found that people are much more familiar with physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment, but they have not yet heard about Osteopathy. Common questions include, what is an osteopath? What do they do? How are they different from other health care professionals. There are a lot of articles out there that may lose you in scientific terms or that may be geared towards a professional audience rather than public one. So, I hope this post is straight forward and direct.

Concept and Philosophy

Osteopaths believe that the body has all it needs to maintain a good functioning state and to heal itself when required and that all body systems are interrelated and dependent on one another. They think of each patient as a whole, in its entirety; including, bones, muscles, nerves, organs, fluids, where by, each body tissue is connected and can affect one another.

For anyone who has experienced a session with an Osteopath, they may have found themselves wondering why the Osteopathic Practitioner is also looking at their ankle when they were coming in for headaches for example. Here’s why – a sprained ankle may be responsible for your headaches due to your body’s own interrelationships and adaptations. Of course it is never cut and dry, and rarely with one sole reason, so here’s a couple of examples:

1) The ankle injury can change the way the joints of the foot and ankle glide and move – there are 33 joints in the ankle/foot alone! Any change in mobility will impact how well neighboring joints glide and move and subsequently, their neighboring joints. Pretty soon an ankle bone that isn’t moving well is now impacting the knee, the hip, the pelvic, and the spine; including, the neck and the base of the cranium/skull – a very common origin for tension headaches.

2) One of the most common ways an ankle is sprained is rolling on the outside. This pattern will modify the tone in your muscles, pull and create downward tension in your fascia and secondarily affect other structures that are linked and connected to these systems. For example…your lateral fascial chain is connected from the outside of your foot/ankle and travels all the way up to the outside of you cranium/skull and your ear – passing and connecting all the anatomical structures in between, such as, your knee, hip and pelvis. As this downward pull reaches your cranium/skull it pulls the bones that are connected to the deep membranes inside the cranium, creating tension and causing a headache.

Overall, Osteopath's are not only treating symptoms; but looking for the root cause, the one that is at the origin of the issue (causing the problem). In many instances this can be in a different area from the one that is actually hurting; the idea is to not just treat your symptoms in isolation, rather treat your symptoms, as well as, identifying and treating the cause(s). This approach will be more successful in resolving the issue completely so you won’t have to keep coming back again and again for the same treatment.

The Techniques

During training, Osteopath's learn a lot of various techniques to be able to adequately respond to your needs. They include:


This method is used to evaluate the condition of tissues, ease restrictions, help the body’s fluids (blood, lymph, etc.) flow smoothly and restore function. Optimal neuro-vascular flow helps to reduce harmful fluid retention and allows the body’s immune system to work more effectively. Throughout the care, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners will continuously check on the state of the body’s tissues. The goal is to gently guide the tissue back to health without over-treating.


The osteopathic articular technique, involving gently moving two joint surfaces, is used to reduce muscle spasms, ease neurological irritations, assist in joint mobility and help reduce pain and discomfort. It is a less forceful technique than joint manipulation. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners will carefully prepare the soft tissues around the treatment area, positioning the patient so that there is minimal (if any) force needed to perform the maneuver.


As the gentlest osteopathic technique, Cranial Osteopathy is also one of the most significant. It is used to assess and treat the mobility of the skull and its contents. It may also be used to assess and treat the spine, sacrum and other parts of the body. The goal of this technique is to adjust the body’s physiology by restoring balance and optimal neuro-vascular flow surrounding the Central Nervous System and all of its autonomic centers. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners achieve this by treating the body’s inherent biorhythm. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners trained in this technique can feel this rhythm in the patient’s head, spinal cord, and in the sacrum and the rest of the body.


Visceral Manipulation is used to effectively treat organs and viscera of the body, including the lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, intestines, the bladder and the uterus. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners will gently move the structures themselves and the fascia that surrounds them to restore full movement. Applied with gentle pressure, visceral manipulation corrections can improve the mobility of an organ, improve neuro-vascular flow surrounding the organ and ultimately help maximize organ function.

Osteopathic Manual Practitioner Vs Other Forms of Treatment

“What is the difference between Osteopathy and say, physiotherapy or chiropractor treatments”?

Philosophy – Osteopaths believe that a problem can result from anywhere in the body. If you have pain, this will change the way you move, the way you function, thus affecting not only the place where the pain is felt but also elsewhere because of adaptations.

Treatment – Osteopathic Manual Practice treatment is a holistic, global treatment, often about 45 to 60 minutes. Osteopath's believe that by working on soft tissues around joint, the joint will be able to move more freely and clients will be able to move with less restrictions. This type of treatment takes time, so that the treatment can be gentle and the body can release in it's own timeframe. Everyone is different, therefore the timeframe for release work is unique for each individual. This is a type of treatment that cannot be rushed.

Our goal at Align for adding a Manual Osteopathic Practitioner, having 2 Registered Massage Therapists and 3 Kinesiologists as part of our Align team is to help our clients Unlock their Movement Potential. We believe that by helping our clients move well and move often, it is possible to move towards living a Pain Free Life.

Please note that one therapy is not necessarily better than the other, what really matters is that you find a therapy you are comfortable with, and more importantly a practitioner you trust. When it comes to the patient’s interest, working together is always the best option and often involves complimentary modalities.

For more information about Osteopathy you can visit for general information or you can contact us by email at

To learn more about our new Osteopath Vishal Khare, please visit

All bookings can be made online through our website:

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