commonly asked questions

1. Why Should I see an Osteopath?

It is appropriate to see an Osteopath for a variety of reasons. You may have pain, discomfort or stiffness in some part of your body e.g. your back or neck, shoulder, hips or knees. It may be that your respitory system is vulnerable and you suffer from recurring episodes of asthma, bronchitis or sinus congestion and infection. You may have an awareness that your gastro – intestinal health seems to fluctuate frequently relative to your diet and levels of stress. Perhaps you just cannot seem to wake up feeling refreshed from your sleep and that malaise is a constant battle in your life. Mind and body are not separate entities; you cannot have an issue with one without affecting the other. Emotional stress does manifest itself physically, whether we are aware of it is another matter. It is not necessary either, to intellectualise exactly what the emotional issues are, just that we may be manifesting some of them physically in our bodies. As such, as Osteopaths, we are very much aware of this association/link and can work with patients to help release old patterns of holding onto our stress. We may just have a sense that we feel we could and want to feel healthier though we’re not sure what is limiting us. Here are some of the reasons why you might consider seeing an Osteopath:
  • Back and Neck pain
  • Joint pains – shoulder, wrists, hip, knees etc
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Digestive disorders
  • Period pains and irregularities
  • Recurrent infections
  • Sinus problems
  • Asthma and chest complaints
  • Stress
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Osteopathy for Children
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    2. What is Cranial Osteopathy?

    Whilst “cranial” does literally mean the skull, cranial osteopathy is a treatment modality of total health care for the whole body.
    It was developed by Dr. William Garner Sutherland DSc (hon.) who was a pupil of Dr.Still at the American School of Osteopathy. Whilst in his senior year at the school, Dr Sutherland viewed specially mounted skulls and noticed with great interest the intricate bevelling that existed between each bone. He concluded that this was in order to permit a rhythmical and very slight expansion/contraction of the brain inside which is quite independent of the movements of breathing and heartbeat. Dr Sutherland went onto spend the next 30 years researching the relationship of the craniosacral mechanics as he named it.
    Later Dr. Sutherland found that it was possible to detect variation in frequency, amount and quality of cyclical motion between different patients and even in the same patient, depending on age, state of general health, emotional state and history of the specific injury. This discovery of cranial motion led to the understanding that this involuntary motion of the skull and its contents is present in all tissues of the body and is a basic property of all living tissue “every cell and all the fluids of the body express this rhythmic involuntary life and motion throughout life. This mobility and motility are important factors in maintaining health in the vital homeostasis of structure and function for the central nervous system, the endocrine system and other units of function within the body’s physiology” becoming known as the primary respitory mechanism.
    As discussed in “What is Osteopathy?” the body is a whole integrated unit whose functional integrity is dependant upon each system and subsystem working synergistically and as such, disturbance to any part of the body will effect change in the primary respitory mechanism. The converse is also true; any dysfunction in the primary respitory mechanism can influence the rest of the body.

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    3. How many treatments will I need?

    The amount of treatment required varies from person to person. Everyone reacts differently to stress and traumas and likewise, how people respond to treatment varies depending on factors such as their own medical history and state of general health. We do however; begin to get an idea of how people respond to treatment after the second or third treatment.

    4. Are we ACC treatment providers?

    Yes we are ACC treatment providers and you do not need a Doctor’s referral. If you have had an accident, you can fill out the appropriate forms at the clinic.

    5. How long is the first consultation?

    The initial consultation with our Osteopath is one hour long and costs $115 or $80 if it is covered by ACC. Subsequent treatments are $90 or $65 for ACC treatments.

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    6. Are we Insurance Approved?

    Yes, as we are registered Osteopaths, providing your policy covers Osteopathy; your insurance company will cover treatment at this clinic. We recommend you contact your insurance company directly to ascertain your cover.

    7. Do Treatments Hurt?

    Normally treatment is not painful. However, if the patient is already experiencing significant pain when they present to the clinic, whilst we endeavour to use gentle non-evasive techniques, treatment may cause some initial discomfort for a short period of time. We are mindful however of treating in a way that is not traumatic for the patient.

    8. Do you have to be in pain to see an Osteopath?

    No, whilst you may not be experiencing pain, an osteopathic assessment may reveal ‘sub-clinical’ problems ie problems that are not yet producing symptoms. For example it may be apparent that due to lack of good function, inflammatory changes and a sedentary lifestyle – that there are vulnerabilities which if left unchecked may lead to problems further down the track.

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    9. Why would I choose an osteopath over another kind of treatment provider?

    Whilst there is an overlap between Osteopathy and some other therapies in terms of some of the conditions that we treat, the underlying principles of Osteopathy vary significantly from other therapies.
    As Osteopaths we are not just concerned with the spine, we are concerned with the whole body (its structure and ability to function as it is designed to) i.e. bones, joints, cranial structures, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood, internal organs etc. We do not specifically look at just one tissue type, but rather, look for that persons ability to function optimally in terms of gross spinal and peripheral joint mobility and also with regards to the health of the internal viscera i.e. lungs, liver, gastro-intestinal tract etc.
    Osteopaths use a wide range of techniques from soft-tissue techniques for muscles, ligaments and tendons, adjustment of joints if appropriate (some Osteopaths use this technique sparingly), visceral techniques for internal organs such as kidney, liver and gastro intestinal tract, to cranial osteopathy which is a very gentle, non-invasive technique used for a wide range of symptoms from headaches/migraine, ear and sinus infections. The overall aim is to fully integrate the body, so it’s functioning efficiently without pain or disease allowing that person to function optimally to their potential.

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    10. Does stress play a role?

    Absolutely, Psychosomatic pathways do play a significant role in the presentation of symptoms. “Stress” isn’t just in our heads; it will manifest itself in our physiology – as it’s important to be aware of this (patient and practitioner) in providing a prognosis (how long it will take to get better).

    11. Which athletes can benefit from Osteopathy?

    It is appropriate for every sport. Osteopaths work in professional sports teams across the world. Andrew was the team Osteopath for the double gold winning NZ Board Sailing team at the World Championships in 1998. Andrew also treats a number on New Zealand’s elite sports men and women across all codes.

    12. What training do Osteopaths have?

    As of 18th September 2004, Osteopathy became regulated by the same statute that governs general practitioners, dentists and nurses. The Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act. This means it is illegal to use the term ‘Osteopath’ unless the practitioner satisfies the strict entry requirements of the Osteopathic Council of New Zealand.

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    13. Are all Osteopaths the same?

    Every Osteopath will differ in how they treat according to their own preferences, the particular problem they’re treating and the wishes of their patient. The theory of Osteopathy is scientific and yet how you practice is an art and as such varies from practitioner to practitioner.

    14. Do Osteopaths refer to other Practitioners?

    An important part of Osteopathic Training is knowing when it is safe to treat a patient and when we should refer to another practitioner. Being able to differentially diagnose is vital for safe and competent practice. Whilst a symptom may appear to originate from one part of the body, it is important to be aware that it may in fact be a symptom of dysfunction in another part of the body. As such, if for whatever reason it is not appropriate to treat a patient ostepathically we will refer to the appropriate practitioner. We have a network of allied health practitioners who we may refer to.

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