What is an OMP? How does osteopathy work?


An osteopathic manual practitioner (OMP) is the term for a manual therapist who applies
treatment from an osteopathic point of view. Osteopathy is a gentle, hands-on therapy and
structural science. In osteopathy, our core beliefs revolve around the body’s innate ability to
heal/regulate itself, and all layers and systems influence one another. Each part of the body
communicates with other parts through various connecting anatomy such as nerves, arteries,
veins, and lymphatics. When these structures or pathways of communication are not functioning
appropriately, an individual may feel body sensations (pain) or symptoms related to the
disruption in the body’s natural function. These disruptions are expressed by the body, and can
be felt (palpated) by an OMP during assessments of motions of the body structures.


In order to restore normal functioning and facilitate healthy processes of the body, we
use our knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and mechanical structure/relations when applying
treatment. Through palpation and motion of the body, our goal is to re-establish communication
pathways of the body on all layers (nerve, artery, vein, lymphatic). By changing the
position/motion capabilities of the body structures, we can influence how the body regulates and
performs. By improving the communication pathways shared throughout the body, we can
facilitate an environment in which the body can do its best work, naturally.


Key Takeaways:


➔ The body is able to heal and regulate itself when the anatomical structures are
appropriately positioned and moving. Parts that aren’t working well affect other parts.
➔ Osteopathy is gentle and hands on. An OMP can palpate the tissues that aren’t allowing
for proper functioning. Then works to facilitate improvement in the body condition.
➔ No tools, instruments, or equipment are required for treatment.


What does a treatment visit look like? Do you provide treatment plans?


Treatment is provided only after a health history is completed and consent is given. Our
first session together is scheduled to have time to share and ask questions about my practice as
well as discuss your concerns and goals for treatment. Based on what I find and how your body
responds to treatment, I can suggest a timeline for our sessions together. Follow up treatments
can then be booked in order to best address your concerns. As your condition improves and you
are feeling better, treatment can be used as maintenance, preventative, or as-needed.

Treatments last about 20-25 minutes and are based on outcome, not on fulfilling time.
We will start by checking how you have felt since your initial treatment. Before beginning, I will
have a look at your natural habits while standing and sitting, to form a mental “before photo”.
Treatment then usually follows the pattern of positions on the treatment table from sitting, to
laying on your back, sides, and/or stomach – whichever may be applicable to your treatment and
abilities. Throughout treatment, I will be moving different areas of your body or asking you to
move them with or against my resistance. I will clearly communicate my expectations and
answer any questions you may have throughout and after treatment.


After treatment, I may provide some tips in order for you to support the changes
happening within your body. I will not be providing you with homework such as stretches or
exercises. In my experience, osteopathic treatment is best complemented with an increase in water consumption and a light walk after treatment. It is recommended to avoid heavy/strenuous
work or exercise for approximately 24 hours after treatment.


Is this covered under my benefits?


This is very possible! In the last few years, osteopathy has gained greater awareness
and support. While not covered by OHIP, osteopathic manual therapy is commonly covered by
group and individual insurance plans. As a member of Osteopathy Canada (OSTCAN), my
receipts provide you with the information necessary to claim your treatment. Verify with your
plan coverage with the insurance provider.


Common questions about treatment:


➔ What should I wear? Osteopathic treatment might look different from what you are used
to with other care providers. Treatments are done fully clothed. We suggest wearing
clothing that allows you to be covered up, but also mobile. Jogging pants and a t-shirt
are a recommendation.
➔ Will it hurt? Treatments should not be overly painful. Some portions of treatment may be
uncomfortable, but we will talk through this and work within your tolerance levels. You
may feel some soreness in the days following treatment as your body adjusts, but this
should not be severe. Expect soreness similar to going to the gym or an afternoon of
yard work.
➔ How long are each sessions? Can I book for longer? Treatments are approximately 20
minutes in length. Osteopathy is also an “outcome-based” therapy, not “time-based”.
This means that once we observe the desired change in the position and movement of
the anatomy, treatment of that area is complete.

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