Method's Information Osteopathy / Etiopathy


Osteopathy (Greek “osteon” = bone, “pathos” = suffering) and etiopathy (Greek “aitia” = cause) are subareas of the manual medicine. They are healing methods that use special techniques to improve the functionality and mobility of the skeleton and skeletal muscles to stimulate the body’s self-healing powers.


The healing of diseases by means of various manual manipulations is known in many cultures. The first corresponding evidence can be found with the Egyptians (3000 BC), in China (2000 BC) and with the Chaldeans in Babylonia (1000-600 BC). Among the techniques of manual medicine used today are chiropractic, osteopathy and etiopathy.

Osteopathy was developed by the American physician Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), who founded the first school of osteopathy in 1892. At that time it was assumed that all body structures, especially the spine, are in motion with the internal organs and the nervous system. The new therapy experienced a real boom in the first half of the 20th century in the USA. Today, osteopathy is taught as an independent subject at several American universities. Since 1972, it has been possible to obtain the title of Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), whereby the osteopathic doctorate in America is equivalent to the medical doctorate: American osteopaths prescribe medication, use injections and perform operations. Manual treatment is usually not their main focus.

In Europe, osteopathy took a different development. A student of Still, John Martin Littlejohn (1866-1947), brought osteopathy as a manual form of medicine to London. There he founded, in 1917, the still existing “British School of Osteopathy”. In England osteopathy is now one of the established procedures of complementary and alternative medicine. The method has found many followers also in other countries, for example France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.

In France, a variant of osteopathy, the so-called etiopathy, was developed in the 1960s. A sports accident and the resulting sciatica neuralgia prompted the French philosopher and mathematician Christian Trédaniel (born 1934) to study manual treatment methods such as chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy in detail. After in-depth studies, Trédaniel developed his own method of diagnosis and therapy, which – similar to osteopathy – is based on a combination of manual techniques and modern knowledge of anatomy and physiology.



The concept of osteopathy is based on the following basic ideas:
– Body, mind and soul form a functional unit.
– The body has mechanisms for self-regulation and self-healing.
– All bodily functions depend on blood and lymphatic fluid being able to flow unhindered so that an optimal supply and disposal of tissue is guaranteed.

Based on these principles, osteopaths assume that the body can only function optimally if it is able to perform its natural movements. This means not only the obvious movements of joints and extremities, but also the unconscious movements of internal organs and body structures such as connective tissue (fascia), heart rhythm, intestinal peristalsis or the fluctuation of cerebrospinal fluids. The structures of the body influence each other in their function. Permanent malfunctions in one area overload the body’s compensation possibilities and can trigger complaints and diseases in other parts of the body.

The goal of an osteopathic treatment is to identify movement restrictions in the body, to restore the natural mobility and thus clear the way for the body’s self-healing powers. Movement restrictions (“dysfunctions”) are treated at different levels of the body tissues: The so-called parietal level deals with the supporting and retaining apparatus of the body with bones, muscles and fascia. The visceral system focuses on the internal organs and their mobility, while the craniosacral system works on the skull bones and sacrum.

Etiopathy also considers the body as an integral functioning unit of internal organs, tissues and muscles: The body organs are supported and protected by the surrounding tissue and musculature. For the organs to function optimally, the tissue must be elastic and deformable. Minor injuries or damage, which are often not even noticed, can disrupt physiological processes such as linfatic and blood circulation and can limit the elasticity and malleability of the tissue. If this restriction of movement remains permanently, pain and illness can result. According to the theory of etiopaths, for example, inflammation of the nasal mucosa can results from joint blockages of the cervical spine,or cranial bone since many nerves supplying the nasal mucosa are located in this area of the spine.