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What is Classical Osteopathy?

Classical Osteopathy and Whole Body Integration are holistic approaches to healthcare that focus on treating the body as a whole system rather than just treating individual symptoms or body parts. This approach will emphasise the importance of restoring balance and alignment to the body in order to promote overall health and well-being. In this blog, we will explore what classical osteopathy is, the principles of whole body integration, the benefits of these practices, and how you can incorporate them into your health routine

Alison Waring Osteopath york

Understanding Classical Osteopathy 

Classical Osteopathy is a form of manual therapy that was developed in the late 19th century by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. It is based on the belief that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself, and that by restoring proper alignment and function to the musculoskeletal system, the body can better heal and regulate itself. Osteopaths use a variety of hands-on techniques, such as joint articulation, manipulation, cranial osteopathy and other in-direct techniques such as balanced ligamentous tension, to help improve the body’s structure and function.

The Principle of Whole Body Integration

Whole Body Integration is the concept of looking at the body as a whole interconnected system, rather than just focusing on individual parts or symptoms. This approach recognises that every part of the body is interconnected and that dysfunction in one area can affect other areas as well. By treating the body as a whole, practitioners of whole body integration aim to address the root cause of issues rather than just managing symptoms. This often involves a combination of manual therapies, lifestyle modifications, and mind-body practices to promote overall health and wellness.

These old classical osteopathy charts below show how lines of forces i.e gravity acts through our spine. As we are constantly righting ourselves against gravity, our spine will compensate to protect the special senses such as the vision, hearing/balance centres and jaw function which all need to be in line with the horizon. Lines on the left and right diagrams show lines of force travelling from the front of the spine to the back and then the back to the front-respectively. 

By combining these lines, as in the central diagram, we get a 3 dimensional picture of how the head sits directly above the pelvis. Where these force lines combine, it produces a very important area where the head effectively balances in front of the 4th Dorsal/thoracic vertebrae.

With permission from the Institute of Classical Osteopathy

Benefits of Classical Osteopathy

One of the key benefits of classical osteopathy is its ability to improve overall body function and alignment, which can help alleviate a variety of issues such as musculoskeletal pain, headaches, and digestive problems. By restoring balance to the body, osteopathy can also help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation. Additionally, many patients find that osteopathy helps improve their overall quality of life by reducing stress and enhancing their body’s ability to heal itself.

Incorporating Whole Body Integration into your health care routine

To incorporate whole body integration into your health routine, consider seeking out an Osteopath trained in classical osteopathy and who follow the work of the Institute of Classical Osteopathy and or have studied the post graduate diploma in classical osteopathy course. These practitioners can help you develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals. In addition to manual therapies, consider incorporating practices such as yoga, Naturopathy, Buteyko Breathing Technique, meditation, and mindfulness into your daily routine to promote overall health and well-being. By taking a holistic approach to your health, you can help support your body’s natural ability to heal and thrive.


In conclusion, classical osteopathy and whole body integration offer holistic approaches to healthcare that focus on treating the body as a whole system. By restoring balance and alignment to the body, these practices can help improve overall health and well-being. If you are interested in incorporating these practices into your health routine, consider seeking out practitioners who specialise in a classical approach to osteopathy and exploring a variety of mind-body practices to promote overall wellness.


Alison Waring

Alison Waring BSc (Hons) Ost, DO, ND

Osteopath and Naturopath

Alison is a Registered Osteopath, Naturopath and Buteyko Practitioner and graduated at the John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy and the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone, Kent.

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