You are likely to have a lot of questions about osteopathy and how it all works, so we have collected the most popular questions for you.

If you cannot find the information you need, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Questions about treatment for animals

Usually very well! Most animals, like their owners, become deeply relaxed during treatment, often yawning and stretching. Some may fidget if the area being treated is sore or they feel protective about it in some way.
Occasionally, as the deep connective tissue strain from a trauma is being released, we believe that there may be a memory of the feeling at the time the trauma occurred. Usually this is fleeting, and leads to a more relaxed state subsequently.
If however, the circumstances related to the injury were deeply traumatic mentally and physically, the individual may get very anxious as this area is treated, and one may need to find an alternative environment in which to treat him, or approach the problem more gradually
In the main, animals react to treatment very similarly to children. If they feel confident in their parent or handler, who is relaxed, quiet and happy with the process, all will usually go smoothly.

For horses we need a calm peaceful situation without distractions, and a safe level covered area for treatment and a level [if possible] area to watch the horse moving. A large clean stable for treatment [not deep littered if possible] and a suitable yard, track or drive to see the horse move would be ideal. In the winter you might like to provide a light fleece blanket if your horse is clipped to prevent chilling whilst treatment takes place, and in summer plenty of suitable fly spray to keep the insects at bay. To get the best out of the consultation it is very important to provide a focused, calm and competant handler; the better your horse behaves during the consultation, and the fewer distractions we receive whilst we examine and treat, the more we can do for your horse.

For small dogs, [we ask that you bring large dogs to the practice where we have an adjustable hydraulic table] we need a calm area free of distractions and noise and a suitable surface like a kitchen table, a non slip pad for the dog to sit or lie on and a calm competant handler.  

Generally, owners report to us that their animals respond very well to Sutherland’s approach as a treatment. Usually if permitted, they will tend to rest and take things easy for a few days afterwards. You might notice that their symptoms seem a little worse for 2- 3 days, we believe that this is as their bodies adjust, and trapped metabolites get washed out of the tissues by improved circulation and tissue respiration.
If you have a working or riding animal, it is best to give it 3-5 days ‘off work’ in order to allow for these adjustments to take place. Occasionally, if there are inflammatory reactions within the tissues, you may be advised to implement an extended rest period, and make other helpful adjustments to lifestyle management. It is important to try to follow your vets and our advice as closely as possible, as this will help to speed up the process of recovery.

This depends upon the nature of the problem, how long it has been there for, and any other contributory factors. The presence of inflammatory reactions, degenerative changes, or management problems, will increase the length of time for recovery to occur, and may affect the eventual outcome. Generally however, owners have observed that most animals will show signs of response in the first 2 to 4 sessions, and for some this may be all the treatment that they need. Others where there is more damage will take longer, as there are more changes in tissue function that need to occur before the problem goes.
Some may have too much damage to make a full recovery, particularly if ambitious disciplines are envisaged, but the majority will be able to enjoy some work again. For some animals top-up, and maintenance treatment will be helpful to keep them active and comfortable- just like their owners!

Firstly, you must check with your vet. Veterinary permission is a legal requirement in the UK for anyone other than a vet to treat your animal. Your vet is responsible for the overall health of your animal and any health checks, and may wish to examine your pet first prior to allowing examination and treatment from a manual therapist. Most vets are very happy for their patients to receive Gentle manual treatment as complementing their program of overall Veterinary care.
Many insurance companies provide cover for Manual treatment also. You will need the OK from your vet for this also, as patients have to be referred to us by the vet for treatment.

Once all of this is in place, please contact us to book an appointment.

Small animals can be seen in our special ‘pet treatment’ room at Honiton Osteopathic Centre. For large animals we do a ‘yard ‘ visiting service. There is a call out fee for this, charges for call outs relate to distance travelled and travelling time. Ridden assessments and saddle fittings require a safe sand school environment.

Currently appointment availability for animal treatment involving call outs is very limited. 

For costs of our services, or further details, please enquire.

Questions about treatment for people

No, this is not necessary, although many G.P.s do send patients to us for treatment. Sutherland’s cranial sacral approach and the gentle release techniques that we practice here at the Douglas-Mort Practice are extremely safe, gentle, and use NO excess force on the patient during treatment. We are highly trained and qualified, and have 44 years each of clinical experience, we update our CPD regularly and follow a strict ethical code of conduct. Our high standard of competency ensures that it is perfectly safe for patients to see us without involving their G.P. unless they wish to. However if we feel it clinically necessary, we will not hesitate to refer patients back to their doctors, should the need arise.

 By no means, this approach takes many years of training and development of the knowledge and skills required to be a competent practitioner. Levels of skill and expertise varies between practitioners who come from different backgrounds. Some practitioners have previously completed a full training as osteopaths and have qualifications in osteopathy, others come from different backgrounds. It’s helpful to talk with the practitioners first 

This is very unlikely, usually physiotherapists head up the manual therapy departments, and other practitioners have very limited roles. Postgraduate training in Sutherland’s cranial sacral approach is a big investment in terms of time and finances taking many years to become competent. For example we have been studying, teaching and in practice for over 44years. A good Cranial sacral treatment also needs to be allocated rather more time per treatment than the N.H.S. allows, and most experienced Cranial sacral Practitioners usually have busy case loads making it unlikely that they would have the extra time available away from their practices.

After you arrive for your initial appointment you will be shown to one of our consulting rooms. Here, an interview- called a case history, will be taken by your practitioner. After gaining the details of your problem, your general health and other associated important factors, you will be asked to undress down to your underwear, for a standing examination to be made; we aim to ensure that you are happy and comfortable at all times during your consultation, all aspects of examination and treatment are subject to your full consent at the time, and we will stop and clarify anything that you are unsure about.

You may be asked to make some movements, and some other tests may be made if necessary. After this you will be asked to lie down on a padded treatment couch and relax while your Sutherland practitioner uses his or her highly developed sense of touch to find the problem areas in your body. You may be asked further questions during this time as the examination takes place. If appropriate, treatment using -what our patients have remarked as being very gentle and effective- Cranial Sacral techniques pioneered by Sutherland will be utilised to begin your treatment program. Following this your Practitioner will outline their findings and suggest a program of treatment and after-care advice. Further appointments will be booked as necessary, and subsequent appointments will be shorter and concentrate mostly on treatment.

If you would feel happier bringing a friend or relative to accompany you for part or all of your consultation, please do so. The majority of our patients feel happy not to be accompanied, like their consultation and treatment to be entirely confidential, and feel more relaxed without onlookers. We take the view that it must be the decision of our adult patient, which they feel most comfortable with. With children and young people under 16yrs however, we ask a parent or guardian to be present unless agreed otherwise by all parties.

Occasionally, patients inform us that resolution of their problem has occurred in just 2 or 3 treatments, particularly in young people, this is provided the strain is minor and the underlying disruption to tissue function not pronounced. Mostly, and particularly when the problem has been there for sometime, or been building up for sometime, a course of several treatments over a period of time is required. This is in order to ease the body back to proper function at a rate that enables it to accept, utilise and retain the B.M.T. initiated adjustments, allowing the underlying chronic tissue dysfunctions time to change and return to more normal function.

Usually our patients feel deeply relaxed and comfortable during treatment. Occasionally you may feel a few twinges if we are working on areas that are tender or inflamed, sometimes you may find that areas that you did not know were tight will feel a little tender also – if this is a problem we are always happy to find a different approach to a sore spot or work more slowly. [Babies and young children may get a little irritable at this time, your steady confident support is of great help to make them feel safe, and accept their treatment contentedly.]
You might feel a little bit light-headed after your treatment session, this is quite normal for some patients and is especially due to the very relaxed state that patients report after treatment. It is best to get up slowly and move around gently to start with, usually this will settle in a few minutes. If you feel affected this way, go for a short walk and do not drive until things do settle.

Although patients report that Sutherland’s cranial sacral treatment feels very relaxing whilst you are being treated, it is quite usual to feel some discomfort for about 3 days or so after treatment, as the body adjusts to the treatment process. This we believe is due to the process of positive changes in the balance of the muscles, joints and connective tissue, and the removal of toxins trapped in the compressed areas prior to treatment. At this time it is best not to do too much, particularly involving strenuous, heavy or awkward work, prolonged sitting at the computer or travel long distances. Whilst gentle exercise to keep the joints moving and circulation going is usually helpful.

To get the best from each treatment there is a lot you can do to help, please follow as closely as possible all of the recommendations specifically given to you by your Sutherland practitioner. Most conditions, unless advised otherwise are better for gentle movement, so try to arrange not to spend the rest of the day sitting at a desk. It is good to move around gently, your condition permitting,- activities like swimming- allowing your head through the water-, tai chi and walking are usually beneficial.
It is also important to try not to arrange a long drive or journey, for at least 3-4 days – even as a passenger- to avoid the ‘whole body vibration’ stress on your system. Avoid strenuous activities, D.I.Y., sport, heavy lifting, digging, gardening, twisting or reaching and try not to get yourself chilled if possible.
It is also helpful to try to avoid mental or emotional tension for a few days after treatment, so saying ‘no’ and avoiding stressful people and situations is advisable. Formulating a plan for the future to help yourself deal more effectively with these problem areas will help in the long term. Sensible attention to diet, lifestyle and sleep will also help a great deal.

This depends upon the nature of the problem that you are suffering from, your state of health and well being, how long the root of the problem has been present within your system, your environment and work load, and other factors affecting your levels of tension and stress with life at the time of your treatment program. Most problems will begin to show indications of some improvement after 4-6 visits, others may take longer especially if inflammation, scar tissue, or underlying poor health is present. Many however will be to all intents and purposes completely resolved after this number of visits. Usually it is possible for us to give you some idea in the initial 1-3 visits, as to which category your problem fits.     

Occasionally a patient will over-do things in some manner, or have a mishap when their body is still changing from a previous treatment, and disrupt the process of readjustment occurring in the sensitive tissues of the body. This may cause an exacerbation of the problem and may need a sooner follow-up visit to settle things down again.

Sometimes there is injury induced, or age related wear and tear in your body, and this may mean that periodic top-up maintenance treatment is necessary to keep everything functioning happily, and to enhance your level of comfort. Frequently there are ongoing unalterable commitment, temperament, work, environment, underlying constitutional disease processes, or lifestyle difficulties, which make the individual prone to recurrence of their problems, and this can occur in any age group. These situations we can help by offering advice and treatment as required. 

Osteopathy and osteopath are protected titles and cannot be used unless the individual is a registrant of the GOSC. An osteopath who has studied the cranial approach may sometimes call themselves a cranial osteopath. 

Many cranio sacral practitioners are in fact already qualified osteopaths who have followed an approved course of training in osteopathy, and courses in either cranial osteopathy or cranio sacral therapy but have simply opted not to register with the GOsC , or decided to resign from that organisation for a variety of valid reasons. 

The majority of Cranial sacral practitioners will be highly skilled professionals registered with other complementary health organisations and follow a strict code of ongoing training, conduct and ethics.

Cranio-sacral therapy was according to anecdotal historical reminisses essentially ‘coined’ by Upledger in around 1976 as a result of him noticing the work of trained Cranial Osteopaths. Upledger went on to try some of the ideas, and started teaching them to everyone ranging from other Osteopaths to beauticians and hairdressers. Although some people attending these short courses and training programs did already have  an understanding of, anatomy, physiology, pathology and Osteopathic philosophy, some did not as they were not already practitioners. 

It is therefore always important to ask the practitioner about their background, training and experience before booking an appointment.

Osteopathy and Chiropractic have similar roots, Daniel Palmer is atributed as being the originator of Chiropractic. Coincidentally or not, Palmer is purported to have started Chiropractic shortly after accompanying Dr Struthers, an Osteopath, who was a 1893 graduate of  A.T. Still’s College of Osteopathy- to observe a class of Osteopathic students at Still’s college in 1895. Palmer then returned home after spending some time observing the studies of the Osteopathic students; obviously inspired by his visit to Dr Still’s college of Osteopathy Palmer then started Chiropractic, his version of osteopathy!