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Yoga is a powerful tool for healing. There are many healing arts, however, that can help overcome injuries, increase strength and flexibility, develop greater body awareness, etc.

One of these is osteopathy. I reached out to Monica Blackburn of MFB Osteopathy, to learn more about the practice and benefits of osteopathy. She responded with wonderful, thoughtful answers. I’m going to post her info on osteopathy today and put her excellent tips for general health and wellness in a separate post.

Monica practices in central London, and does acupuncture and sports massage as well as osteopathy.
Contact her on: info@mfb-osteopathy.com
Monica MFB

What is osteopathy exactly?

Osteopathy is a manual therapy that helps alleviate musculoskeletal aches and pains. Osteopaths treat pains in any area of the body, not just backs. Your osteopath takes a detailed case history, including information about your diet, exercise & lifestyle, and then performs an examination to find the root cause of your pain. As a holistic discipline, we treat the whole body, not just the painful bit. Your osteopath will then give you some home-care advice to both speed up your recovery time and prevent recurrences. 

How is it different from conventional sports medicine or chiropracty?

Osteopathy differs from other manual therapies in its philosophy and treatment techniques. We believe in “optimal function” whereas chiropractors believe in “perfect alignment.” Osteopaths don’t see the body in a symmetrical manner, as we don’t ever start that way. Our treatment focuses on working to “normalise” forces and pressures through the body so it functions to the best of its ability. Osteopaths are more hands-on than sports medicine or physiotherapists. Our treatment includes deep soft tissue/myofascial release techniques, joint stretching and manipulations (the clicking one!) to help joints move better and prevent the muscles from pulling the joints back out of alignment.

What is your background?

I have always been interested in the human body and health. Before Osteopathy, I did a degree in Pre-Medical Sciences with the intention of going into something medical. I grew up in Portland Oregon, USA – quite a liberal & alternative place – so I was always more interested in the non-traditional side of healing and in preventative health. I toyed with different disciplines including being a nutritionist, acupuncturist, naturopath and physiotherapist.

How did you get into osteopathy?

After moving to the UK, I came across Osteopathy. Every person I spoke to swore by their Osteopath and I thought, “I want to be that person!” I studied at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine in London, because of its naturopathic outlook. I practice cupuncture, naturopathy and nutrition within my scope of an Osteopath.

What are the most common problems or injuries you see?

My clinic is surrounded by offices so I see a good mix of sporting injuries and desk-related aches & pains. The most common problem I see is neck and upper back pain. The 21st century isn’t doing us any favours. We spend pretty much all our time in front of a screen — at work, at home, even during our commutes. This, coupled with poor posture and muscle imbalances around the shoulders and neck, means increased strain on the muscles. This tension ultimately pulls joints out of alignment and leads to pain and even headaches.

How does acupuncture complement osteopathy?
In my clinic, I use acupuncture in different ways. A patient might be in too much pain to allow me to touch them, so acupuncture can be used to bring their pain and sensitivity levels down, so I can then practice my osteopathic techniques.

It can also be used for long standing (chronic) conditions that are being stubborn in getting better; so in this case the acupuncture needles are used to re-stimulate the area and immune system back into a healing process.

I can use acupuncture in a more myofascial way to treat trigger points (muscle knots) and connective tissue adhesions. This is a more mechanical affect to free up the tissues, so they can glide and contract more freely.

Questions? Contact Monica info@mfb-osteopathy.com