Osteopathy is a system of healthcare grounded in human anatomy and physiology.

It is bound by the principles of natural science, of how the body functions and its interaction with its environment. It is the science, philosophy and principles that define Osteopathy, rather than any particular form of diagnosis or treatment.

The science and principles of osteopathy are applied to a wide variety of musculoskeletal issues. As the osteopath takes the case history, examines, diagnoses and treats the patient, they are using the principles of osteopathy to develop an understanding of the person and their problem. They consider the nature of the condition, how it relates to its surrounding structures, what the vitality of the body system is like, and how the person’s body is functioning as a whole. All of these factors have a bearing on the diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

It is the philosophy and principles of osteopathy that render it unique and different to comparable modes of physical therapy, such as chiropractic and physiotherapy.

The following principles guide the practice of Osteopathy.

Osteopathic Principles

The body is a unit of function and the person is a unit of body, mind and spirit.

The body is capable of self-regulation, homeostasis and health maintenance.

Structure and function are interdependent. This concept avoids the artificial separation of physiology, anatomy and biochemical systems.

Rational diagnosis and treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation and the inter-relationship of structure and function.

History of Osteopathy

Osteopathy was founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still and emerged in America towards the end of the 19th century. Dr. Still was a Medical Physician who was disillusioned with the medical practice of his time. Through the dedicated study of anatomy and physiology, over many years he developed a system to enhance the body to return to and maintain health. Dr. Still called this system Osteopathy because he realized that dis-ease often begins with a disturbance in the functioning of the body framework. Like many clinical investigators of his time, Dr Still considered the patient to be his field of study and spoke of Osteopathy as a science in terms of anatomy and function, a philosophy in terms of a set of principles, and an art in terms of the application of these principles in practice. He founded the first Osteopathic school in Kirksville USA in 1894.


Balmain Osteopaths is a family oriented clinic that has been part of the Balmain Rozelle community in the inner west of Sydney for over 20 years. We value communication, care and personalised services that contribute to the wellbeing of our patients, staff and practitioners.

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