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Manual Osteopathy for Addressing PTSD: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Introduction to Manual Osteopathy: Manual osteopathy is a holistic, hands-on approach to healthcare that focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions and their interconnected effects on the body. Practitioners of manual osteopathy utilize a combination of manual techniques, including soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization, and stretching, to restore balance and improve the body's self-healing mechanisms. Understanding PTSD and its Effects: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop in individuals who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events. It is characterized by a range of symptoms, including intrusive memories, heightened anxiety, emotional numbing, and avoidance of triggers associated with the trauma. PTSD can have a profound impact on an individual's physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. How Manual Osteopathy Can Help: While manual osteopathy is primarily known for its musculoskeletal benefits, it can also play a significant role in addressing PTSD. The physical manifestations of trauma, such as tension, muscle stiffness, and altered breathing patterns, can be addressed through osteopathic techniques. By releasing tension in the muscles and restoring proper joint mobility, manual osteopathy can help alleviate physical discomfort associated with PTSD. Furthermore, manual osteopathy's holistic approach considers the interconnectedness of the body's systems. By promoting overall balance and well-being, it can indirectly contribute to reducing the impact of PTSD symptoms. This is supported by the body of research that highlights the link between physical and mental health. The Role of Therapeutic Communication: One of the unique aspects of manual osteopathy's approach to addressing PTSD is the emphasis on therapeutic communication. As a manual osteopath, you engage in open and empathetic conversations with your clients. This dialogue fosters trust and allows clients to open up about their past experiences in a supportive environment. Therapeutic communication not only aids in understanding the individual's history but also helps uncover how emotional trauma might be stored in the body. This dialogue guides your treatment approach and allows you to tailor techniques to the specific needs of the client. Techniques for Addressing Past Experiences: Incorporating techniques that encourage the release of emotional tension and the embodiment of past experiences can be instrumental in addressing PTSD. These techniques may include:

  • Gentle Soft Tissue Manipulation: By using gentle pressure and rhythmic movements, you can encourage the release of physical and emotional tension stored in the muscles and fascia.

  • Breathwork and Mindfulness: Guiding clients through breathwork and mindfulness exercises can help them reconnect with their bodies and regulate their nervous systems, promoting relaxation and self-awareness.

  • Positional Release Techniques: Utilizing comfortable body positions along with targeted pressure can help alleviate tension and discomfort, creating a sense of safety and security.

  • Progressive Relaxation: Gradually relaxing and tensing specific muscle groups can aid in releasing deep-seated tension and increasing body awareness.


  1. Levine, P. A. (2010). In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness. North Atlantic Books.

  2. van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Viking.

  3. Cerritelli, F., Lacorte, E., Ruffini, N., & Vanacore, N. (2015). Osteopathy for primary headache patients: a systematic review. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 16(1), 57.

Manual osteopathy can play a valuable role in addressing the physical and emotional aspects of PTSD. By incorporating therapeutic communication and tailored techniques, manual osteopaths can help individuals open up about their past experiences, release stored tension, and promote overall well-being. This holistic approach aligns with the growing recognition of the mind-body connection and offers a unique pathway toward healing from traumatic events. Ann Shivas brings over 9 years of invaluable experience in the field of Osteopathy. Her journey has taken her across the globe, where she has had the privilege of working closely with professional athletes, aiding them in their pursuit of optimal health and performance. Ann's passion for Osteopathy extends beyond the limelight, as she is dedicated to sharing her extensive knowledge with her local community in Comox Valley, Courtney, and Cumberland. Through her work, Ann aims to raise awareness about the remarkable benefits of Osteopathy and its potential to transform lives. For those seeking to experience the advantages firsthand, appointments can be conveniently booked online via this link: Book Now.


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