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The reciprocal nature of structure and function

One of the fundamental laws in osteopathy and nature is the following: The integrity of a structure governs the function of that structure. This implies that an impeded integrity leads to an impeded function. The opposite however is also true. A loss of function results in a loss of structure. For example: A car that has lost a wheel (loss of structural integrity) won’t drive very well(loss of function). A car that has not been driven for many years (loss of function) rusts and breaks down (loss of structure). In osteopathy we go searching for these two components and restore the structure or function of the body so that good health is assured.

The body is a biological unit, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts

A second fundamental law in osteopathy is that all structures and functions in the body are interrelated. What happens to one part of the body has repercussions for the whole body. This means that osteopathy not only treats the structure and functions that are affected but also looks at the whole body system and treats it as well. If we return to our car analogy, we can state that a punctured tyre not only causes problems for the tyre (the part) and wheel but inhibits the smooth driving of the car as well (function of the whole). This principle makes the osteopathic approach to patients a holistic one.

The natural auto-correction mechanism

Human beings, like every other animal on earth are constantly exposed to the forces of nature. We are constantly battered by climatic changes, germs, gravity, stress, etc. Our bodies continually react, trying to find an optimal balance and remain healthy. This unique ability osteopaths call the auto-correction system. We know from the first two principles that loss of movement and/or function, effects our whole organism. It follows then, that when we have loss of movement or function in the body, the auto-correction system is also impeded, resulting in a loss of health. By restoring mobility osteopaths take away the obstacles that impede our auto-correction system, thereby allowing it to find a new balance. The result is either a full recovery or at least an improved quality of life.