What’s the Difference Between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?

What’s the Difference Between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?


This is probably the most asked question of Osteopathic Manual Practitioners.  The practice of Osteopathy is less well known, even though Osteopathy was founded before chiropractic. The practice differs from chiropractic in several respects:  philosophy, assessment, how the treatment is delivered, and the duration and frequency of treatments.


While chiropractors focus mainly on the alignment of the spine to treat the nervous system as the primary means to relieve pain, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners look at the body as one unit.  We assist the body to improve its function by facilitating the body’s innate healing ability to correct position, mobility and vitality of all structures.

The structure of the body includes all tissues like bones, organs, nerves, fluids and connective tissue. In this respect, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners view the body as an integrated whole, treating the person, not the symptom.

Chiropractors use adjustments, which are specific and aimed at restoring joint position and function. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners take a broader approach and treat a larger area, paying particular attention to areas that have been traumatized through accidents, illness and surgery.


Chiropractors frequently rely on more diagnostic procedures such as X-rays, MRI scans, and other tests, whereas Osteopathic Manual Practitioners place more emphasis on physical examination, and will generally refer clients on for more diagnostic procedures if required.

Delivery of Treatment

Another area where the two professions differ is how and what is delivered during a treatment.

The Osteopathic Manual Practitioner dialogues with the tissues in a very unique way.  It is said that we have “thinking, feeling fingers”.  We assess position, mobility and vitality and, as we are employing a technique, we feel for different healing points for the body to go through as it is responding and changing.  Believe me, there’s a lot of movement within the body that we can’t perceive even when we are still!  The bones and organs have a pattern of movement, the cerebrospinal fluid is fluctuating, etc.  without movement, there is no life.

Another difference in treatment technique is that Osteopathic Manual Practitioners employ a wider range of techniques overall. Apart from manipulation, we use other techniques such as cranial osteopathy, visceral osteopathy, myofascial release, strain counterstrain, muscle energy, sacral techniques and more.

Treatment Duration and Frequency

Generally, Osteopathic Manual Practitioners spend more time with each client as our approach is more global but the frequency of treatments is less. As the client experiences less symptoms and we feel that the client is holding the corrections to the body longer, then we can allow longer periods between treatments.

Chiropractic appointments tend to be shorter as they primarily focus on adjustment techniques which are quicker to carry out and they tend to see clients more frequently.

In conclusion, the two approaches are quite different.  If you would like to try osteopathy but you are unsure if osteopathy is right for you, I am available for a free 15 minute consultation.  Call reception to book your consultation today.


Catherine Cartwright, D.O.M.P Osteopathic Manual Practitioner



Defeat Depression

Most people associate massage therapy with relieving muscle tension occurred from stress, sports and chronic injuries like carpal tunnel. Have you heard the phrase, “Depression hurts”? Low energy, back pain, and unexplained muscle or joint aches are all barriers that often affect those with this illness. Taking time for massage is just as important for people dealing with depression to help alleviate the physical symptoms, and improve the person’s body-mind connection. When the body is relaxed, the mind can relax as well to help improve overall health aiding in stress management.

Those experiencing depression may vary from excessive sleeping to insomnia, and find that their sleep is often broken and unrefreshing. Studies have shown that infants with low birth weights and elders who received massage treatments benefited in positive sleep patterns, reduced breathing disorders such as snoring, increased daytime alertness with decreased sleep disruptions.

Not only does massage help promote a restful sleep (and maybe the desire for a post treatment nap), but it also affects the brain’s biochemistry. Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone, and is often elevated in those managing with depression. Increased cortisol can lead to weight gain, suppressed immune system, gastrointestinal problems, and suppresses serotonin. Depression may also make one feel as if everything is going a bit slower, resulting in increased pauses before answering, muteness, slowed speech and thinking. Studies done by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine have shown that massage therapy significantly decreases cortisol levels up to 53%, while increasing serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. The neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin send signals to the brain to help balance mood, improve focus and immunity. Endorphins are responsible for diminishing pain, reducing stress and strengthening your heart.

By learning about the different symptoms you are raising awareness of those who may be suffering from depression around you, while helping to end the stigma of mental illness. By reducing the stigma, you create a positive and safe environment for those to come forward for treatment, reminding them that they are sick and not weak. As a massage therapist, I love my career, and the endless ways it allows me to help improve someone’s well being. I get to provide someone with an hour of quiet, or talking; whichever THEY need to feel better emotionally and physically. Which is also why I will be walking with the rest of my team at The Massage Clinic Health Centres, in the Defeat Depression Campaign.  Oakville Defeat Depression Walk

One in five Canadians will at some point experience mental illness, interfering with daily activities, productivity at work, and spending time with family or friends. Depression affects more than 350 million worldwide, and can be caused by a traumatic event, life style, or often a chemical imbalance in the brain. It takes a toll on the body emotionally and physically, making every day a different struggle. Like cancer you can’t just snap out of it and similar to having a broken bone, be expected to suck it up. However, like many diseases, it is so important to have a support team beside you to help battle. And this is where massage therapy can be beneficial. Massage may not cure depression, but it can help manage the symptoms that come with the illness.


Chelsea Romany RMT Personal Trainer



Defeat Depression

The Massage Clinic Team needs your support!

On Saturday May 14th 2016 a team of our practitioners is taking part in the Oakville Defeat Depression Walk through Lions Park. This 3km / 5km walk raises funds to support the Oakville Distress Center and bring awareness to mental illness throughout the community.


Most of us either know, or know of, someone who has suffered some form of depression, mood disorder or other mental illness. Some just needed support through a crisis, period of loneliness, or emotional stress. The Distress Center offers that support with free, confidential, inbound and outbound phone, text and chat services with their highly trained volunteers.


By supporting this campaign funds raised will also be used to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. It will help to raise awareness, knowledge and acceptance of mental illness and encourage those who are suffering to look for early intervention, assistance and treatment.
We are reaching out for your support. Pledge your support to the team, your practitioner, your friend.  Join our team, make your own team!  Let us all work together to meet the fundraising goal.


Oakville Defeat Depression