Richard Metcalf Registered Osteopath 'Helping You to Heal Yourself'

3 Riley Lane, Kirkburton, Huddersfield HD8 0RX
Telephone: 01484 608118


The Philosophy, Science and Art of Osteopathy

What is osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a practical form of healing that treats the whole body.

Osteopathy is a hands-on holistic healing system which involves the diagnosis and treatment of structural and mechanical dysfunctions of the body. It endeavours to treat the cause of the problem by using very gentle manipulation to relieve physical sresses and strains, which result in a variety of symptoms to restore health and balance.

Osteopathy has been practised for over 140 years.

Can I benefit from osteopathy?

Osteopathic treatment can help babies, infants, children and adults both young and old who are suffering from a wide variety of problems.

Osteopaths do not simply concentrate on treating the problem area, but use manual techniques to balance interrelated and interconnected systems of the body to improve health and wellbeing. Very often, people experience relief in other areas which they hadn't necessarily mentioned to the osteopath.

It is important to remember that it is the person with the problem being treated and not the problem itself so a treatment programme is tailored to each individual.

How does osteopathy work?

According to osteopathic philosophy much of the body pain and disability that people have comes from problems in the function of their body's structural system.

Osteopathy recognizes that the body is an intrinsically self-healing, self-regulating and self-correcting organism. Osteopaths believe that physical imbalances and strains can impede the body's abilty to maintain itself in a state of health. Quite simply, a problem in one part of the body's structure can cause strain on other parts of the system.


It is not merely the absence of disease

Osteopaths consider that health is not simply the absence of disease or pain. It is a state of balance and harmony between the body, mind and spirit of a person. In health, a body should be able to deal with health challenges and restore itself to an optimum level.

Even problems like circulatory or digestive problems can be signs of issues in the body's structure. Treating the structural system often provides relief for these conditions.

Accumulation of stress in the body

Osteopaths work under the principle that there may be a number of contributing factors to the symptoms and will therefore evaluate not only the area which is producing the symptoms, but also associated areas that may be contributing to the issue, including past trauma, environmental factors and the family's health history.

The effects of stressful physical or emotional events in our lives can accumulate over time. Gradually the body may find it increasingly difficult to deal with these effects, and symptoms may start to show.

Does osteopathy hurt?

Osteopathic treatment causes little or no pain.

For 24-48 hours after a treatment you may experience some minor discomfort or aggravation of your symptoms. This is a normal part of the body's response to the treatment. However, if you are concerned then please contact me.

What happens in an osteopathic consultation?

An osteopathic consultation will include:-

• A detailed case-history about your particular problem and associated problems to build up a clear picture of you, your health and your lifestyle. This would include information about the health of all major systems in the body (digestion, heart and lungs, etc), previous accidents and injuries and general lifestyle

• A visual examination where I would study your posture and quality and range of movement

• A hands-on osteopathic palpatory examination where I would use my hands to gently feel for restrictions or structural problems in your joints, muscles and many other types of tissue. 'Palpation' is the use of the hands to examine the body to gather valuable information about stresses and strains in the body

• General health checks which might include taking your blood pressure, testing your nerve and blood supply

• I would then have a working diagnosis, tell you about my findings, and decide whether osteopathic treatment is appropriate or needs referral to your doctor for X-rays or further tests

• Please be aware that for the initial examination I would ask you to undress down to your underwear and that a chaperone can be present if so desired. I would be happy to discuss any concerns you might have with regard to this

• You would then receive your first treatment


Many patients present with symptoms that they have had for a very long time, or that keep recurring. Osteopaths are interested in understanding why a problem has developed so treatment is aimed at trying to prevent this from recurring.

An osteopathic diagnosis aims to determine the cause of the symptoms (eg. muscle tension, ligamentous strain etc) and why the problem has developed. This may involve linking significant events from the past with current areas of tension or restriction in the body

Treatment Plan

Osteopaths like to involve the patient in maintaining their own health, and will make sure the patient understands what is wrong with them and why. The treatment plan will be explained, and may include advice on lifestyle changes, exercises and postural changes.

How do osteopaths treat?

Osteopaths have a highly developed sense of touch or palpation. They have a detailed and extensive knowledge of anatomy (the body's structure) and physiology (how the body functions) and can detect very subtle physical imbalances in the body.

They use a wide variety of techniques throughout the body, many of which are very gentle and subtle. This relieves areas of tension, helps improve circulation and fluid drainage and enables the body to return to a better state of balance and health.

Osteopaths may have different specialities including sports injuries, paediatrics (care of babies, toddlers and children), visceral (related to internal organs of the body) or cranial osteopathy which encompasses all of these specialities and is appropriate for the the whole body including the head.

Osteopathy is an art as well as a science and skilled osteopaths work intuitively with great empathy with their patients.

Things to Remember

• Osteopaths are skilled health care professionals

• Osteopaths deal with pain every day

• UK osteopaths treat 6 million people every year who are suffering from many different types of pains and problems

• Osteopaths can help you both with treatment and give advice to help yourself

• Osteopaths treat both acute and chronic problems

• Osteopaths treat to prevent pain recurring.

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