Interesting Historical Anecdotes

The founder of osteopathy, Andrew Taylor Still, suffered from regular bad headaches as a young boy of 10 years old. He discovered an ingenious way to cure them. He tied a rope swing between two trees eight to ten inches off the ground. He wrote, “I lay stretched on my back, with my neck across the rope. Soon I became easy and went to sleep, got up in a little while with headache all gone.” Was this an early discovery of the way osteopathy works?  [Source: Still A.T., Autobiography. Published by the Author. Kirksville, Mo.,1897, p 19]

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Monday to Friday     9:00AM – 6:00PM
Saturdays                   9:00AM – 1:00PM
Call us on 01765 601 447, or fill in your details in our contact form and we will get in touch with you.
Osteopathy is a holistic manual therapy which aims to encourage your body’s natural capacity to heal itself through identifying and treating areas of strain, weakness, restriction and abnormal movement. Osteopathy has statutory recognition. Your osteopath has undergone an extensive training and is registered with and regulated by the General Council of Osteopaths. At Ripon Natural Health Centre we place great emphasis on the relationship between osteopath and patient. Good communication, trust and confidentiality are at the heart of that relationship.

First Appointment

We intend your visits to our clinic to be as relaxing and as beneficial as possible. When you arrive you will be asked for your contact details and the name of your G.P. and surgery. At the beginning of your appointment your osteopath will need details about your presenting problem, and your medical history, including current treatment and information about your lifestyle and general health. Nutrition, stress, occupation and exercise may all have a bearing on your symptoms and general health. It would be helpful to bring with you a list of your current medication and dates of surgery, illnesses and accidents. All the information you give is confidential. Your first appointment will last an hour and after taking your history and examining you, a treatment plan will be discussed. If there is time and you are happy to go ahead, we would aim to start treatment during your first appointment.


Physical examination will include consideration of your posture, your spine and skull, your extremities and the specific areas in which you are experiencing symptoms. It may also include specific examinations such as abdominal palpation (feeling the tone of the stomach muscles and the abdominal organs), assessment of your nervous system (muscle strength, reflexes etc.), blood pressure measurement and so on. It is normal to be examined and treated in your underwear but if you wish you may wear the gown provided or come in t-shirt and shorts. Covers are also available. Please tell your practitioner if for any reason you do not wish to undress. You are welcome to bring a friend or partner as chaperone if you wish.


Osteopathic treatment will often include advice on exercise, diet and lifestyle. Your osteopath may also use or advise other forms of treatment, for example, acupuncture or needling, or may refer you to your G.P. for further checks. Osteopathic treatment can vary considerably, depending on both you and your practitioner’s choice of technique. Please give us feedback on what you feel is most helpful. We are consulted for many different reasons and osteopathic treatment is very adaptable. Our patients include children and babies, athletes, pregnant women and the elderly. Your osteopath will attempt to get to the root of your problem and explore ways to prevent further episodes. We believe in prevention and maintenance of good health; we encourage general check-ups and not just to have treatment when you have a problem. An interesting study of patients who were allowed managed access to chiropractic treatment showed reduced back pain and less overall health care costs [Source: Arch Internal Medicine 11:164 Oct 2004]. More research of this kind needs to be done but it is in line with our belief that osteopathy is of benefit in the maintenance of good health.

Safety and Consent

Osteopaths, like all health professionals, are required to provide information of safety and risks associated with particular treatments and to obtain informed consent from patients prior to giving that treatment. This is in line with society’s general increase in awareness of health and safety issues.

Physical treatment

Physical treatment falls into several categories.
  • Soft tissue: massage, pressure and stretching
  • Articulation: taking a joint gently and rhythmically through its normal range of motion.
  • Visceral: working on the organs by, for example, gentle pressure applied via the abdomen.
  • Muscle energy: the patient contracts a muscle whilst in a particular position.
  • Cranial and functional techniques: delicate, sometimes imperceptible, movements, positions or pressures which follow the ‘ease’ or natural direction the body is taking.
  • Internal procedures: such as working inside the mouth or per rectum to adjust the coccyx.
  • Manipulation: a joint is ‘gapped’ or separated with a fast sudden movement.

Your treatment will be discussed with you after the case history and examination have been made. We need you to understand the treatments proposed and give your permission for us to perform them. We will continue to check how you are feeling from time to time during treatment, making sure you happy for us to proceed. On occasion written consent will be needed for specialised procedures such as internal adjustments. Please talk to us and ask questions if you have queries or concerns at any time. There are usually several ways of achieving the same result and if you have a preference or wish to avoid a particular technique please tell your osteopath. Our aim is to work with you to find the most suitable and effective approach.

Post Treatment

An osteopathic treatment may include one or several of the categories of techniques. It is quite normal to experience some stiffness or soreness after treatment and this may last for several hours or days, typically the day after treatment, in a similar way to the after-effects of exercise. Occasionally, and in particular if you have spasm or inflammation, you may experience a temporary aggravation of your symptoms or the pain may change location as your body attempts to correct the problem. These kinds of effects are usually followed by an improvement in your symptoms. If you are unsure do not hesitate to contact your practitioner. Osteopathy is a very safe therapy. The techniques that have raised concerns of possible serious side effects are manipulation to the neck and the lumbar spine. With regard to the neck, concern has been centred on the possibility of damage to the arteries supplying the brain, particularly in people who may have a weakness of these vessels, which may, in effect, produce a stroke. The risk for this has been estimated at 1:1,000,000 to 1:666,666 [Source: International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine 13.3 Sept 2010]. To give some idea of comparative risk, existing evidence suggests that neck manipulation is much safer than anti-inflammatory medication, of which some brands, like ibuprofen, can be bought over the counter [Source: Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy 18.8 Oct 1995]. The major concern in manipulation of the lumbar spine has been the possibility of damage to the nerves leaving the spinal cord, which might affect the legs and/or the bladder. The risk for this has been estimated at approximately 1:6,000,000 [Source: South Medical Journal Feb 2007]. Again, evidence suggests that manipulation is much safer than anti-inflammatory medication. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask your osteopath. We have articles available on some of these topics which you are welcome to borrow. Please contact us for further details.