Osteopathic Practitioner /
Sarah Stevens, Osteopathic Practitioner/Registered Physiotherapist
BSc.PT, DOMP, B.P.H.E, CAFCI
Sarah Stevens graduated from University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education in 1997, and from Queen's University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. She has pursued other post-graduate courses in manual therapy and manipulation of the joints, acupuncture, pediatrics and recently osteopathy. Sarah graduated from the Canadian School of Osteopathy, Vancouver campus, with a diploma in
osteopathic manual practice. For more information on Sarah please visit her website:
Sarah has two beautiful girls and enjoys the outdoors hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, and biking with them and her husband.
Three Methods of Osteopathic Treatment
Osteopathic treatment aims to restore optimal health by treating the primary restriction and not just treating the compensations (or symptoms). Osteopathy includes three major methods of treatment: structural osteopathy, cranial osteopathy and visceral manipulation. The art of osteopathy is understanding how these three systems affect each other, and how to blend treatment techniques from all three for the greatest therapeutic effect.
Structural Osteopathy: Structural techniques mobilise joints and relieve tension in muscles, ligaments and fascia. Fascia is a continuous system of connective tissue which surrounds the entire structure of the body – even the lungs and digestive organs. Fascia can become short or adherent to other structures with poor biomechanics, poor posture or when injury or trauma has occurred. Due to its continuous nature throughout the body, an area of fascial tension like a scar can create pain and discomfort in seemingly unrelated areas of the body. Structural techniques can help release this and improve nerve function and circulation.
Cranial Osteopathy: Cranial osteopathy is based on Sutherland’s concept that the bones of the cranium do not fuse with age and there is some micro-movement occuring at the sutures. When cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced in the brain, the brain expands. This creates a tension on the dura that surrounds it, causing the cranial bones to move in a rhythmical pattern. The tension in the dura at one end is transmitted along the spinal cord to the other end, causing the sacrum to have a rhythmical motion also. Cranio-sacral therapy can have a profound effect on the body by improving the circulation of all body fluids, calming the nervous system and removing patterns of strain anywhere in the body.
Visceral Manipulation: Visceral manipulation is based on the principle that organs normally have mobility in response to the body moving and to normal bodily functions. Restrictions caused by surgeries, scars, infections, immobile joints and altered nerve conduction affect the functioning of the organs. Osteopathy offers gentle treatment techniques for the organs and the fascia that supports them, which can improve function by restoring proper motion.
Osteopathic treatment is adapted to each individual and is suitable for clients of all ages, from newborns to seniors.
Conditions treated by osteopathy include: joint dysfunction, arthritic pain, back and neck pain, whiplash, headaches, jaw problems, soft tissue injuries (sprains, tendinopathies), nerve pain (sciatica, tingling, numbness), difficult digestion (acid reflux, constipation), painful periods, chronic pelvic pain, bladder issues and pregnancy discomfort, plus colic, recurrent ear infections, and flattening of the head in babies.
Many childhood issues can respond very positively to osteopathic intervention. The position that a baby adopts in the womb or a birth that is prolonged, too rapid, or assisted by forceps or vacuum can place considerable forces on a baby’s head.
Cranial osteopathy can help mobilise and realign the bones of the head and jaw, and if orthodontia is necessary later it can help the cranium adapt to the changes.
Graduates of the Canadian College of Osteopathy (CCO) receive a diploma in osteopathic manual practice D.O.M.P. The training is an intensive five-year, part-time program open to health professionals or those who already hold a university degree in the health sciences. In BC, manual osteopaths are called “Osteopathic Practitioners” and have distinguished themselves from Osteopathic Physicians.
Osteopathic practitioners are not medical doctors and practice the traditional osteopathic approach as developed by Still and Sutherland. Osteopathy is covered in B.C. by most extended health care plans.