Osteopathy – it’s a full body, big picture kind of thing

June 6, 2023

“When every part of the machine is correctly adjusted and in perfect harmony, health will
hold dominion over the human organism…”
– A.T. Still (Founder of Classical Osteopathy 1874)

Hi folks! My name is Tristan Goulah and I am a manual osteopathic practitioner here at PT’MOVEMENT Wellness Centre. My goal, in 5 minutes or less, is to explain why Osteopathy is so cool, and how your body’s ability to heal and regulate is even cooler!

Definition time!

OSTEO – “structure”

PATHY – “suffering”

Osteopathic treatment encompasses a series of principles founded in anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. The basic gist of what we osteopathic therapists have to say: Your body was created with an abundance of amazing structures all aimed to balance, regulate, and move YOU. Let’s make sure they’re able to do that!

So how does this work? Well…


Tissues span over multiple joints and parts of the body to balance us. They can change or maintain lengths to regulate us through pressure, and in engaging together they move us.

(fascia, muscles, bones, ligaments)

an image of a human body with muscles highlighted
the nervous system of the human body


Nerves create on and off patterns all over the body to balance us physically and mentally. Nerve
systems are in place to upregulate and downregulate us with regards to tasks, and the
coordination of these different signals allows us to move with a specific outcome in mind.

(sensory, motor, sympathetic, parasympathetic)


Fluids move in and out of tissues to balance us chemically and communicate and provide for other organs alongside our nervous system to regulate tissue deconstruction and building. They create the pressure and transport the cells needed to move us.

(artery, vein, lymph, and cerebrospinal fluids)

a computer generated image of a human body showing the lymphatic system
a computer generated image of the human body showing the organs


Systems and organs exist to balance us physically and chemically. They also provide and regulate all the substances that our electrical and irrigation systems require. These systems and organs pump, expand, and eliminate so that the balance and regulation of what we produce can allow us to move.

(cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, eliminatory, immune)

Didn’t I tell you that you were a mean green healing machine? And it doesn’t stop there.

In our bodies these systems don’t only work on their own, they also work with, and are reliant on, one another. Any mechanical changes that need to take place in the body are told what to do, and when and how to do it by the electrical system. Then, the irrigation system provides everything these systems require to complete the electrical and mechanical tasks, as well as cleaning up the mess afterwards. Meanwhile the visceral systems provide all the power and support to complete these tasks.

One part cannot do its job without the other.

the muscles of the head and neck are shown

How are these systems impaired? Stress. Not in an “I feel stressed!” kind of way! It has to do with too much stress being placed on a specific tissue or system. Over time we obtain small accidents and injuries which stress our tissues and impede our mechanics. We overdo repetitive or difficult movements and aggravate electrical patterns. We forget, or are unable to breath well while moving, which impacts our irrigation. And we squish and strain the viscera by holding day to day postures, like a crossed leg or looking down at a screen.

An osteopathic therapist’s intention is to observe the asymmetry, restriction, tissue quality, and sensory feedback of the mechanical, electrical, irrigational, and visceral systems when you move through different positions in clinic and between treatments. We then restore the integrity and balance of these structures so they have the opportunity to come back into proper regulation and operate functionally.

a diagram of the human body with different bones
a diagram of the back of a human body

In conclusion, your body is awesome and always seeking balance and regulation through movement of its various systems! And in unique cases where these functions are damaged or altered past a point of natural return (through things like fixing your own breathing patterns or adopting new postures), we can help. And THAT is where this historical quote, the one at the intro, stems from!


a therapist stretching a patient's leg
We Treat. We Train. We Educate.

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