Osteopathy is an established holistic system of manual therapy that recognizes the important interrelationship between the structure and function of the body.
Osteopathy is based on the understanding of the body’s ability to heal itself - given the opportunity.
Manual therapy based on osteopathy
Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity. ~ Hippocrates
About Osteopathic Treatment
Treatment is centered around addressing root the cause(s) of the discomfort, or dis-ease, rather than treating the symptom, to effectively treat somatic dysfunctions ranging from physical musculoskeletal pain to internal organ issues. Osteopathic treatments naturally stir up the body's innate healing response. The accumulative healing effect post-treatment may last for several days.
Appointment Frequency / Manage Your Expectations
Some cases are resolved in one treatment, or only a few treatments. Other patients may require several treatments, maybe even 5 or 10 before seeing a significant relief of pain.
Why? It all depends on, to name a few considerations;
the age of the patient - the older the patient means there have been more years of compensation for imbalances. Babies are typically require less treatments to resolve issues
if the patient has had surgery/surgeries: scarring alters the quality of tissues and can have repercussions in many areas, not only in the areas specific to the location of the scar.
if the patient has experienced any injuries, even old (maybe forgotten) injuries from childhood, including concussion(s)
if the patient had a difficult birthing process
Frequency in the initial stages of treatment is helpful to bring the body towards a more balance state, as rapidly as possible.
For acute conditions it may be recommended to book your appointments once or twice per week, depending on the severity of your condition.
For chronic or long standing issues, it's recommended to book your appointments every week or two weeks, depending on the level of pain associated with your condition.
Karen's appointment schedule typically books up several weeks in advance. Therefore when booking your first appointment, patients are recommended to book a series of three to four appointments. This serves two purposes: a) to secure your appointments in advance, and b) to allow for the most effective outcomes for your treatment. Over the course of treatment, follow up appointments allow for further adjustments and modifications as symptoms improve. Appointment frequency is adjusted and spread out as symptoms improve.
Osteopathic treatment combines four main types of osteopathic disciplines:
1. Osteo-Articular (bones and joints): balancing ligamentous tension and tissues surrounding, and within, the joints.
2. Myofascial Release (muscles and fascia): myofascial release techniques for acute and chronic conditions.
3. Cranial-Sacral (skull and sacrum/dura): balancing the cranial sutures and the dural membrane including the spine and sacrum.
4. Visceral (internal organs): releasing scar tissue, adhesions and visceral tension that can affect organ functions.
What types of conditions can osteopathic treatment help?
Osteopathic treatment is useful in a wide variety of health complaints including:
Arthritis and osteoarthritis
Asthma and respiratory conditions
Back and neck pain
Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Degenerative disc and joint disease
Fertility, menstruation and pelvic issues
Forward Head Posture and related issues
Neurological disorders - sciatica, piriformis syndrome, neuropathy, tingling, numbness
Pediatric - infant colic, plagiocephaly, suckling difficulty
Pregnancy & Postpartum - preparation for labor, breathing restrictions, carpal tunnel, GERD, post-natal care, lactation issues, pubic symphysis and pelvic disorders, etc
Click to learn more about Osteopathy for Fertility, Pregnancy & Pediatrics >>
Soft tissue injuries including sports injuries, strains, sprains, tendinitis
Click to learn more about Osteopathy for Athletes >>
Repetitive stress syndromes
TMJ and jaw issues
Traumatic injuries (post laceration/fracture)
What to Wear
Please Do Wear: Light and comfortable clothing that allows for ease of breath and movement, such as casual stretchy clothing that gives you full range of motion, also it is recommended to wear clothing that allows for posture and skeletal structure can be assessed easily.
Examples: a tank top or t-shirt, and either stretchy shorts, yoga pants or tights.
Please Do Not Wear: jeans, cargo pants, or clothing with pockets, hoods, collars and zippers. Also avoid clothing that is loose and baggy as it can get in the way.
What to do 1-3 Days Post-Treatment
Each treatment typically takes about three days to settle into the body. For the following week or two after each treatment, the body continues to adjust and find homeostasis, allowing compensations patterns to balance out.
While this is not typical in all cases, there may be soreness, similar to after a workout, for the first few days post treatment while the body is resetting itself. The best remedy for soreness is gentle stretching, and/or soaking in an Epsom salts bath.
It's recommended that within the first 24 hours after a treatment that you do not perform any strenuous activity. The ideal activities during the first 24 hours post-treatment are:
Take an Epsom salts bath the same night after a treatment. This draws out lactic acid and reduces post-treatment muscle soreness, just as it does post-workouts.
For exercise, take a leisurely walk. If you already have a yoga practice, keep it gentle and light.
The second and third day its recommended that you resume your normal routine, however still keep it light. If you are accustomed to working out, lower the intensity. Remember, treatments may take three days to settle into the body, and the body continues to adjust itself, and find homeostasis for days after the treatment. We do not want to alter or undo the benefits of the treatment.
Also see FAQ's below...
"Karen's healing intuition is quite profound. She can sense places on your body that are pain or strain points and then takes time to focus on those areas." Lori B.
"Karen is the absolute best! Just had my 2nd appt. I had hip pain and shoulder pain yes I said had! She is very knowledgeable about her profession and how the body works. Very relaxing and comfortable experience. I highly recommend if you have pain,aches, or just need a tune up she is the woman you need." Tracey B.
"1 year and half, I suffered an injury skating, to the right shoulder. Long healing process, I did in this time massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy, all they helped, but still I was not happy with the range of motion of the right arm, so [ my colleague ] recommended me osteopathy. After only 3 treatments with Karen I regained full range of motion and the right shoulder is completely healed. She is an amazing osteopath and I highly recommend her." Gratiela
"Always a profound and beautiful experience. I always feel so open and free within my body when I leave. One of the Best healers ever. 🙏❤️" Cindy C.
"I stumbled upon✨Heaven on Earth while surfing the net and went into my appointment with a complete open mind and my life is forever changed. After several years of persistent pain & trying massage, acupuncture & physio...my shoulder already, after just 1 treatment today allows me range of motion I’ve not experienced in years. Thank you for sharing your gift❤️ " Daniella Cicchi-Piccolotto
"Hi Karen, I just wanted to let you know that I feel amazing today. I feel we're getting somewhere...... Thank you for your wonderful healing gift. In Peace, Cindy"
"I asked jasmine how her appointment with you was today and she said "great, my back doesn't hurt anymore". Almost instantly I felt my eyes swell. So i said "Say that again". When she repeated it I was so happy I cried in joy! Jasmine has been diagnosed with chronic pain disorder by the youth chronic pain clinic at McMaster hospital. We have tried physio, chiropractic, massage and yoga, It has been 6 years since it started. I never thought I would hear her say that she has no pain. We have been programmed to think she would spend her life "managing" pain. Please keep doing what you are doing. It is life-changing for Jasmine. Thanks so much! Erica [Page-Jasmine's mom]
"Hi Karen: I wanted to take a moment and thank you for helping me with my low back and sciatica pain. I can’t believe what a difference it has made to the amount of pain I was feeling. As you know, I have been struggling with pain for approximately ten years. I have spent thousands on physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, medication and supplements trying to find relief, all of which did nothing to alleviate the pain for any length of time. I was feeling quite depressed from the constant pain and had given up hope that I would ever feel better, or it was tolerable and didn’t interfere with my daily activities. We have only had two appointments and I am amazed at how much better I am feeling. When I start to feel a twinge in my back or my leg, I do the exercise that you prescribed and within a short time I feel so much better. Nothing has helped like this before and I can’t thank you enough! I feel like I am getting my life back. The difference in my energy level is also amazing. Not sure how you figured out the problem and how to fix it, but I am so thankful that you did. You are a miracle worker! I am so happy to have found you. Hope to see you soon." Carol Marchett
"Its incredible that after two years I am able to smell and taste food again. The doctors told me that after my concussion my sense of smell and taste might come back at some point, or it might not. After my first treatment with you I'm already able to smell things and taste foods that I have not been able to for two years. Thank you so much!" P.A.
"My knees hurt when I do squats, and I chalked it up to arthritis. I was told years ago that I am a candidate for knee replacement surgery. Its a amazing that in one treatment you were able to solve the issue and remove my knee pain! Thank you so much!" K.J.
"For five years I have had this catch and congestion in my throat that makes me need to clear my throat all the time. My doctor sent me to an ENT [Ear-Nose-Throat] specialist who had no solution for me. After one treatment you fixed me. Whatever you did was extraordinary. Thank you Karen!" N.Q.
"I have to tell you that I am in tears of joy. As you know, I've had back pain for decades due to an injury when I was young. For years I have been getting chiro adjustments and massage regularly, however the pain never stayed away for more than a few hours or a couple of days. I thought I would need to live with this pain for the rest of my life. I can't believe that you have relieved my back pain once and for all. You're a miracle worker. Thank you." C.W.
"I wanted you to know that both my shoulders have not bothered me since your treatment, My neck has been much improved, no continual pain. Looking forward to our next treatment. Thanks again." Don Weyrauch
"I have had the pleasure of knowing Karen for many years and in various capacities. I have personally benefited from her wonderful skills as a massage therapist, energetic healer, yoga teacher, yoga therapist and most recently as an osteopath (in training-July 2015). She has a wonderful innate ability to help her clients heal, is a terrific teacher, and pursues her dharma of service with passion, patience and humour. I feel blessed to have had the pleasure of being her student and patient." Diana Perez, Physiotherapist B.Sc. P.T.; M.Sc. Rehabilitation Science; RYT 200
What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy specializes in the assessment, management, treatment and prevention of neuromusculoskeletal conditions (bones, joints, muscles and nerves) as well as for disorders of general health including visceral (internal organ) disorders.
Osteopathy has a patient-centered approach and works with the body’s natural self-healing qualities. Unlike the conventional medical approach of focusing on the diagnosed condition, the osteopath seeks to determine the cause(s) within the patient, and as each patient is unique, each condition may need a slightly different approach for optimal results.
Osteopathic assessment and treatment uses a large range of visual assessment and osteopathic manual manipulation techniques.
What’s the difference between an osteopath, chiropractor and physiotherapist?
These professions all seek to improve a patients well-being via diagnosis (or assessment) and manual treatment therapies. Each have their recognized specialties and you may feel that one suits you more than the other.
If you have tried other therapies and found that you haven’t received the results you were hoping for, then please feel free to call me, and hopefully I will be able to provide the results you are seeking.
Do I need a referral from my GP?
No, you can make an appointment directly without a referral. GP’s may refer patients to see an Osteopath, however referral by a GP is not necessary.
Patients are encouraged to keep their GP fully informed, so that medical records are kept up to date. This will ensure patients receive the best possible care from all members of their health support team.
What do I need to bring?
Bring along any X-rays, scans or test results that you may have.
What should I wear?
It’s important that you feel comfortable. Wear comfortable stretchy clothing so that you can benefit from a full postural assessment and treatment, and that allows for freedom of movement. Please do not wear tight-fitting pants or jeans.
Your manual therapist/osteopath may suggest to removing bulky outerwear like a sweater or pullover to enable assessment and/or treatment. Also, you will be asked to remove any belts, and/or jewelry that made get in the way of treatment, or that may damage the treatment table.
What happens at my first consultation?
You will be asked about your condition and symptoms, including your medical history, any past injuries, surgeries, medications you are taking.
Examination may include clinical tests, postural evaluation, orthopedic or neurological tests, range of motion assessments and activities or exercises, which determine how best to manage your condition. The examination may include passive and active range of motion tests.
Osteopathy takes a whole of body approach to treatment. Your osteopath may look at the area that is troubling you as well as other parts of your body. For example if you have a sore knee, your osteopath may also look at your ankle, pelvis and back.
Your manual therapist/osteopath may also provide education and home care regime to help you manage your condition between treatments. This may include giving you exercises to do at home or work.
In cases where a referral is required, you will be advised if you can be treated osteopathically, or if you need to be referred to an MD.
Will I be asked to complete paperwork?
You will be asked to provide your medical history and details related to your current condition in order to do a thorough assessment, and to assist your manual therapist/osteopath in determining the optimal treatment options. A manual therapist/osteopath needs to obtain your approval to treat you, so you will be asked to sign an ‘informed consent’ form.
How many treatments will I need?
This is very dependent on your individual condition or issue.
Often, adequate changes to relieve your pain may be made relatively quickly. With minor acute strains, this may occur within the first treatment or two. More long standing issues, or severe injuries such as ligament or disc injuries will normally require a series of treatments.
If you suffer with persistent postural problems you will benefit from regular maintenance treatments every once in a while; with frequency depending on the nature of your issue(s).
You will likely be given Home Care exercises to help manage your condition, just like brushing your teeth morning and night. Doing your prescribed exercises will go a long way in managing your issue, and will also serve to maintain the gains made during treatment, as well as reduce the frequency of treatments needed.
Your specific requirements will be assessed in your first appointment and you will be encouraged to discuss your treatment plan with me.
Is osteopathic treatment painful?
Due to the physical nature of the treatment, it is not unusual to sometimes feel sore or stiff in the first 24–48 hours after treatment (like the soreness after a workout). Your manual therapist/osteopath will explain any likely reactions that you could expect.
Most osteopathic treatment should not cause undue discomfort. If your injuries do require hands-on treatment of painful and tender areas, your manual therapist/osteopath will aim to make you as comfortable as possible.
If you are already in pain sometimes treatment can improve this quite quickly. However, if your muscles are tight or your joints and nerves affected you may feel some temporary discomfort. This should be short-lived and you can always tell your manual therapist/osteopath how you are feeling during your treatment.
If this soreness persists or increases significantly, call your manual therapist/osteopath to discuss your concerns.
Contraindications & Side Effects
There are few, if any, absolute contraindications to osteopathic manipulation which have no actual side effects other than - in some cases - temporary soreness for a day or two after therapy, similar to the soreness experienced post-workout.
Do I have a say in what treatment I receive?
Yes. It’s important that you share your journey on the road to recovery, by being involved in your treatment and the advice offered. This will also include following exercises and changes to the everyday that will in turn help you return to the form you once were and function properly.
What if my condition changes over time?
It is important you tell your osteopath if your medical condition changes over time. This includes any new injuries or change of medications.
Are there additional diagnosing or treatments?
Depending on your case, following treatment, your osteopath may decide that additional diagnostic protocols such as X-ray, scans or blood tests are required. Your osteopath may refer you to another health professional.
What training and qualifications do osteopaths have?
Training lengths and content varies from school to school, however all manual therapist/osteopaths must be registered with a licensing board, and so must be fully qualified, fully insured and meet a set criteria of continuing professional development every year.
What is Osteopathy?
According to the Ontario Federation of Osteopathic Professionals: "Osteopathy is an established recognized system of healthcare which relies on manual contact for diagnosis and treatment. It respects the relationship of body, mind and spirit in health and disease; it lays emphasis on the structural and functional integrity of the body and the body’s intrinsic tendency for self-healing.
Osteopathic treatment is viewed as a facilitative influence to encourage this self regulatory process. Pain and disability experienced by patients are viewed as resulting from a reciprocal relationship between the musculoskeletal and visceral components of a disease or strain."
Does Osteopathy work?
Osteopathic manual techniques have been used for nearly 150 years and are growing in recognition as an effective treatment method for a variety of conditions. So much so that Osteopathy is not only becoming a preferred method if treatment for patients seeking relief of pain, and for a long list of ailments and conditions, but also as a preventative and/or health maintenance system.
How does Osteopathy work?
Osteopaths use manual manipulative techniques to improve the body’s posture and movement. This may involve adjusting myofascial and musculoskeletal tension and tension patterns where imbalance is present, realigning to diminish or improve asymmetry and also improving joint movement where restrictions are present.
Osteopathy treats the whole body, and therefore to give a complete treatment, it is often necessary to treat a body-part or body-parts that might seem unrelated to the injury site.
Osteopaths have found that by making improvements to the body in this way, the patient’s body heals quicker due to effects such as diminished physical stresses within the body and improved blood and venous flow, and nervous system conduction.
Osteopathy comes from an era of more primitive natural medical technology, without refined surgical procedures, antibiotics or other lifesaving medication. It offers a holistic approach to promoting health, and is therefore subtler than orthodox medicine.
Even though the origins of osteopathy were established as a "manual medicine," nowadays osteopathy is often perceived as a method for treating low back pain. However, osteopathy is living up to its founding purpose, and continually gaining recognition, as it proves to be an effective and increasingly popular choice for all types of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, as well as visceral (organ-based) conditions.
What treatment techniques do you use?
A broad range of manual techniques may be used. The choice of technique(s) will depend on a variety of factors, whether its due to the issue itself, or the condition of the patient.
Direct (strong) and indirect (gentle) structural techniques may involve:
Joint mobilization and manipulation - gentle, no high velocity "cracking"
Stretching and traction, and/or compression
Deep tissue myofascial release and massage
Cranial / Cranial-Sacral Osteopathy
What is Cranial / Cranial-Sacral Osteopathy?
Cranial osteopathy is one of a large range of techniques used by osteopaths for treating patients with musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal symptoms.
Osteopaths may place their hands over the head, and/or the sacrum, and may place their hands over other areas of the body during tissue palpation.
Do you just ‘crack backs’?
Osteopathy offers a very diverse range of techniques and hands on manipulation. Despite a common view that osteopaths crack necks or only treat spines, this isn’t true. While there may be some osteopaths that use these techniques, I personally choose not to crack backs, or necks.
Do you treat sports injuries?
Yes. Osteopathic manipulation is well suited to treating sports injuries. As a testament to the efficacy of osteopathic techniques, many physiotherapists are also adopting these techniques in their treatments.
I have low back pain, can you help?
Manual therapy such as osteopathy is an effective treatment option for low back pain.
I’ve had back surgery, can you still treat me?
Yes, I treat many people who have had spinal surgery. Often patients who have required spinal surgery will still have problems with spinal stiffness and achiness and these people often respond very well to osteopathy.
If I’m pregnant, or just gave birth, can I still have an osteopathic treatment?
Yes you can, and treatment may be extremely beneficial as your body changes throughout your pregnancy. Osteopathic treatment can help alleviate pregnancy-related or postpartum-related pain and disorders, such as sciatica, back pain, GERD, pubis symphysis disorder.
I may also suggest home-care exercises to relieve pain and improve your posture and breath-capacity during pregnancy, as well as ways to accelerate your healing process post-delivery.
Do you treat babies and children?
Yes. Treatment is gentle and safe for children. There are a wealth of treatment techniques especially designed for treating children of all ages including more complex conditions.
Can I bring someone with me?
Yes of course. Children under 18 years should be accompanied by their parent or guardian. Patients with mobility issues are encouraged to bring a support person.
History of Osteopathy
Osteopathy and chiropractic share a common origin.
Their roots can be found in folk traditions of “bone setting,” and both were systematized in the late 19th century in the United States: Daniel D Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, is said to have met with Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy, before setting up his own school. The therapies remain relatively similar, and many textbooks and journals are relevant to both. The term “manipulative therapy” refers to both osteopathy and chiropractic.
Although Palmer initially denied being trained by osteopathic medicine founder A.T. Still, in 1899 in papers held at the Palmer College of Chiropractic he wrote: "Some years ago I took an expensive course in Electropathy, Cranial Diagnosis, Hydrotherapy, Facial Diagnosis. Later I took Osteopathy [which] gave me such a measure of confidence as to almost feel it unnecessary to seek other sciences for the mastery of curable disease."
Osteopathy has evolved and currently there is a consensus that high velocity bone-cracking techniques that are also commonly used in chiropractic treatments, produce short-lived relief. While other osteopathic direct and indirect techniques have shown to produce more permanent relief, while posing less risk to the patient.
Osteopathy was founded in the 1800's by American Doctor Andrew Taylor Still. Over the last century many brilliant DO's have further contributed to the vast repertoire of effective and proven treatment techniques, including Dr Viola Frymann, Fred Mitchell, Sr, D.O., and many other Osteopathic Doctors.