What are the Osteopathic Principles?


Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that aims to identify and treat the root cause of pain and dysfunction in the body.

In this article, you will discover the four main traditional principles of Osteopathy and how they still influence and guide osteopathic treatment today.

The Four Main Principles of Osteopathy

The body is a unit 

All parts of the body are interconnected and influence one another. Osteopaths view the body as a complex, dynamic and interrelated system, so dysfunction in one area can lead to problems and compensatory patterns elsewhere. This is recognised now in many other professions. 

For example, someone with neck pain will reduce the movement of the neck to protect themselves. Over time, this can affect the scalene muscles at the side of the neck, which also helps with breathing. Breathing may be affected further as the person starts more shallow breathing, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of the diaphragm, which may impact the motility of the viscera in the abdomen, thereby reducing the quality of digestion. 

Another example is how an Achilles tendon injury causes a person to limp, leading to a change in muscle activation around the knees, hips and lower back.

In short, any impact on one part of the body will have an effect elsewhere in the body and on the person. 

Osteopaths aim to restore balance and promote healing through a holistic approach by treating the person rather than just individual sites of the symptoms.


The body is its own Medicine Chest

The human body has the ability to regulate and heal itself. Osteopaths believe that the body has an innate ability to heal itself and that their role is to support and ease this process.

For example, If you are in pain from a muscle injury, you may take painkillers. This will reduce the pain, but they have no impact directly on the injured muscle. They do, however, allow you to move more, which helps remove restrictions and improve blood flow to the injured site.

Osteopaths will identify and remove obstacles to healing by treating structural imbalances and joint and soft tissue restrictions and prescribing rehabilitation, to allow the body to heal itself naturally.


The bodies structure and function are interrelated

Osteopaths believe that the body’s structure is intimately connected to its function and vice versa. This includes the bones, muscles, viscera, nervous system and all other tissues.

If, for example, you have a stomach ache, you may bend forwards, round your shoulders and hold your tummy to reduce pain. This can lead to upper back and shoulder tension. If you walk tall looking ahead, it can help you feel less anxious and more confident while ensuring your lungs and muscles breathing work more optimally.

Osteopaths can improve function and reduce pain and dysfunction by restoring the proper structure and vice-versa.

The Rule of The Artery is Supreme.

Blood carries all the nutrients that your body requires to survive and flourish, as well as the defence and repair mechanisms that you need to combat injuries and illness. It is the life force of the body.

If the blood flow is restricted to a certain area, the function of that area can be restricted, and any injuries or illnesses that may occur in that area could take longer to recover. The Osteopath will always aim to encourage optimum blood flow around the body.

Osteopaths also believe …..

  • That the nerves play an important role in self-regulation and the optimum flow of fluids around the body.

  • When the body is no longer able to adapt to excessive external factors or stresses within the body, the disease can occur.

  • There can be physical adaptations to the body from a disease that also can contribute to the disease state.


Personalised Osteopathic Treatment

Osteopathy is a treatment that is tailored to the individual. Osteopaths recognise that each person is unique. And that their symptoms and underlying causes are likely to differ.

Osteopaths can identify each patient’s needs and develop a personalised treatment plan. This is done by performing personalised and holistic treatments. 


Prevention is better than cure 

Osteopaths also promote healthy habits, such as lifestyle, posture, exercise and nutrition. They believe this is the best way to maintain health and prevent illness. It also helps patients avoid future problems and maintain optimal health.


The principles of Osteopathy are grounded in a holistic and patient-centred approach that supports Osteopathic philosophy rather than empirical laws or contradictions of medical principles.

Osteopaths aim to provide effective treatment and long-lasting relief from pain and dysfunction. Recognising the connections of the body, the healing factor, and the importance of structure and function.

Additionally, Osteopaths can help patients reach optimal health and well-being. They achieve this by tailoring treatment to the individual and promoting healthy habits.

Start Your Journey to a Pain-free Body!

If you’re interested in Osteopathy and wish to experience the benefits of non-invasive, personalised, and effective osteopathic care. Seek treatment from experienced Croydon Osteopaths and book your appointment today.


Arc Osteopathy in Croydon offers effective, non-invasive, and personalised care. With 17 years of experience, you can be assured that you are in good hands. Book an appointment today and experience effective Osteopathic treatments personalised just for you.



Understanding the basic principles of Osteopathy is important. With this, you can appreciate why Osteopathy is necessary for improving your health.

There is power in knowing, and in knowledge comes enlightenment. If you are curious about the different aspects of Osteopathy, you can visit our site for more exciting reads.