July 2022, 2022

What is Osteopathy?

Andrew Still Defined Osteopathy as:

“Osteopathy is a science which consists of such exact exhaustive and verifiable knowledge of the structure and functions of the human mechanism, anatomy and physiology & psychology including the chemistry and physics of its known elements as is made discernible certain organic laws and resources within the body itself by which nature under scientific treatment peculiar to osteopathic practice apart from all ordinary methods of extraneous, artificial & medicinal stimulation and in harmonious accord with its own mechanical principles, molecular activities and metabolic processes may recover from displacements, derangements, disorganizations and consequent diseases and regain its normal equilibrium of form and function in health and strength."

I think the first question that needs to be answered is who is Andrew Still?

Dr. Andrew Still was the founder of Osteopathy, and Osteopathic Medicine.  He was also a physician, a surgeon, author and most importantly a husband and a father.

I believe to understand Osteopathy; you must appreciate the man behind the science. 

Following the deaths of three of his children from spinal meningitis in 1864, Still believed that medical practices of his day were ineffective.  At this point he decided to dedicate his life to studying human anatomy and find other ways to treat disease.  

Still coined the term Osteopathy from two Greek words “Osteon” –which means bone and “Pathos” for suffering.  He wanted to covey that human disease and physiological dysfunction are connected with the musculoskeletal system.  Essentially dysfunctions in bone, muscle and ligaments, cause symptoms within various systems in body (i.e. circulation, nervous, respiratory) leading to disease.  Therefore by treating the musculoskeletal system, he believed Osteopathy could treat a variety of diseases.

What does Osteopathy mean to you?

First take the patient that periodically sits with her legs crossed, which develops into hip pain.  The pain is subjective however could be coming from a variety of tissues such as tight muscles, ligaments or even a possible compressed joint. 

Next we have the patient that chronically sits with her legs crossed, not only are the soft tissues affected but blood and nerve flow to and from the area result in changes within the joint, causing further changes to the anatomy.

Finally take the patient that has been doing this same repetitive action for many years, in her case sitting cross legged.  There are changes in soft tissues, changes in joint function, and possible compensation changes in the body such as a limp.  All of this results in anatomical and structural changes to the body.  This eventually leads to disease; in this particular case we call in arthritis. 

If you think of the musculoskeletal system as a crate that houses all of your internal organs it can be concluded that any damage or alteration to this protective packaging can lead to illness.  


October 27, 2016

Hi there and welcome to the Jennifer Lynch Osteopathy blog page.

This page will set out to provide information about the fascinating field of Osteopathic Medicine, and also some insights and self help strategies that I hope will enable my readers to take some control of their healing from a wide range of conditions that I treat daily as an Osteopath. 


Firstly, I should introduce myself. My name is Jennifer Lynch I have been working as a Registered Massage Therapist since 2008 and recently became an Osteopathic Manual Practitioner.   I have worked in a variety of settings, initially within a Physiotherapy clinic and now my own practice which is based in Guelph, Ontario out of my home.  This has allowed me to focus my energy into patient care as well enjoy a variety of outside activities such as playing sports and photography.

I became interested in Osteopathy after countless attempts to address an ongoing hip and leg issue I had for numerous years.  At the age of only 25 I had been struggling with chronic lower back pain and hip pain for many years which limited the kind of physical activities I was able to participate in.  Having been an avid athlete all my life, it was a tough pill to swallow to be told by a medical doctor that I wouldn’t be able to play sports.  In a final attempt I sought the help of a local osteopath and within a few weeks I was pain free and was able to enjoy all my regular activities.  I was very interested in what was so different about this new treatment I had received and this, coupled with a long standing (almost obsessive!) interest in all things medical was what led me to make the decision to apply for the four year degree course that got me where I am today. 

My story is one I hear over and over, of how people get to the end of quite lengthy investigation procedures and are faced with very limited treatment options, finally coming to see me as a “last resort”. Often the unique approach of Osteopathic treatment is able to not only resolve the problem in a relatively short space of time, but by careful attention to educating the patient about the causes of the problem and its maintaining factors, we can prevent it from returning as well. The purpose of this blog is to help with that side of my practice by providing some of this information even when people haven't visited the practice personally. Existing patients will also be able to access further information about the causes of their problems between treatments - after all, knowledge is power!

I hope that as I build my blog, I will also be able to broaden the understanding of my readers of what it is an Osteopath actually does, what kinds of things we can treat and how we do it. I welcome any comments or questions from readers either on my blog itself or if you prefer, through private email or by telephone. I’ll always aim to have an answer for you, and if I don't know, I’ll admit it and point you in the right direction!

Jennifer Lynch