by Alison Daniel

One of the most common question I am asked is what the difference is between osteopathy, chiropractic and physiotherapy. These three therapies are all based on the human body with the same anatomy and physiology, so I believe the primary difference lies in the philosophical approach to treatment.

As an osteopath I subscribe to the ‘Osteopathic Philosophy’, which is based on 4 key tenets.

These tenets are:

  1. The person is a unit consisting of body, mind, and spirit.
  2. The body is a self-healing and self-regulating mechanism.
  3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
  4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding and integration of the 3 above tenets.

When I am treating, I take into account these elements of the osteopathic philosophy. This starts with an understanding that each patient doesn’t only consist of their physical body, but also their mind (both mental and emotional) and their spirit. This concept of functional unity within the patient gives an individualized approach, and takes into account how the body can be influenced not only by physical dysfunction, injuries or trauma but also by one’s emotional or spiritual state.

The next tenet speaks to the ability for the body to heal and regulate itself. I don’t really consider myself to be healing someone’s body. Instead I am just here to facilitate helping the body finding a place of comfort and ease where it can heal itself.

Next up is the remarkable relationship that exists between the structure and the function of a human body. By this I mean everything from the obvious changes in function (such as a limp) when structure (such as a sprained ankle) is changed. These changes are big, acute and obvious, but often in chronic dysfunction or pain these changes are much more subtle. This is the detective part of my job – searching for why a patient’s body has responded in the way it has, and how I can help it change to a more comfortable, positive relationship between structure and function.

And finally the 4th tenet is pretty self-explanatory – as an osteopath my job is to integrate all three elements – consideration of the body as a unit, respect for the body’s ability to heal and regulate itself and the unraveling of each individual’s relationships between structure and function.

From this I hope you can see that my approach is all about being specific to the patient – to their body, their mind, their spirit, their structure and their function, and finding a way to help bodies heal to be happier, more comfortable and more functional.

Osteopathic treatments are one hour for an initial assessment and 45 minutes for a follow up appointment. If you would like to book an appointment please contact Gaia Clinic, or if you would like to know more please feel free to email me at