Direct Osteopathic Approaches Explained for the Ordinary People

If you've never set foot in a medical class, most, if not all, that a doctor says or writes sounds like jargon. It is understandable considering the complexity of the human body and the lengths to which you will have to go to understand basic human functions like breathing.

When the body suffers an anomaly or injury, medical practitioners must find a way of treating it. This can be done by manipulating the body's organs to speed the process of recovery. A good example of such techniques is osteopathy. Osteopathy can be done directly or indirectly. Here are some of the approaches used in direct osteopathy explained:

Muscle Energy Technique (MSE)

The muscle energy technique is an indirect approach in osteopathy where the practitioner uses a distinct counterforce to trigger and maintain voluntary contraction of the affected muscle. MSE relies on varying the intensity of the counterforce and precise control of the direction of the force imparted by the practitioner. Ideally, this procedure helps to lengthen a distorted, shortened or spastic muscle that is suffering from spasms. You can also use MSE for strengthening a specific muscle or group of muscles that might have been weakened by an injury or infection. Lastly, muscle energy technique also comes in handy when dealing with oedema (swelling) or congestion within a tissue.

Myofascial Release

The focus of myofascial release is to relieve patients from muscular tightness and shortness. Most of the patients who need this procedure suffer from a loss of function and flexibility of the muscle due to an injury and ongoing pain in the shoulder, back, hip and any other areas with soft tissue. However, myofascial release is also useful in treating conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and migraine headaches. Essentially, this technique involves the application of mild, sustained pressure on the myofascial connective tissue to relieve pain and restore the movement of the muscles.


Human joints are the primary factor in every movement a person makes. Whether you are walking, running, sitting, stretching or using gestures, you rely on your joint to make every movement possible. In case a joint is compromised, you can use articulation to get it back in order. Here, the practitioner will use direct manipulation of the accessory movement of the joint. The movement is amplified passively to trigger normal gross motion of the joint. Articulation requires specialised knowledge of how each joint works so that it can be manipulated as required.