Mark Olver trained as an Osteopath at the European School of Osteopathy in Maidstone Kent in the UK, where he obtained his Diploma in Osteopathy (D.O.) and his Integrated Master's Degree in Osteopathy (M.Ost).  Mark is currently completing a postgraduate diploma in  Paediatric Osteopathy/ the Osteopathic treatment of children, through the European Academy for Traditional Osteopathy at the Swiss Osteopathic Center for Kids (SOCK).


WHAT IS OSTEOPATH? by the Canadian Federation of Osteopaths


Rachel an Osteopath from Australia talks about Osteopathy

Frequently Asked


                            (Drawing by


   On your first visit to an osteopath a thorough case history will be taken, some general medical screening may be done, followed by an in-depth evaluation of the structures of your body.  The safety and precision of the treatment is ensured by the detailed medical history.  A full body examination will be performed because it is important to assess the function and effect that all the structures, however distant, have on the painful area.

   An osteopath may initially focus on the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones and connective tissues), which reflects and influences the condition of all other body systems and makes up about two-thirds of the body's mass.


   Suitable underwear, as part of the examination and treatment may require examination of spine and limbs as well as treatment of muscle tissue. One may choose to wear shorts over underwear, or a sports bra or bikini top for women.


For Adults:

    The initial consultation is usually an hour. A follow up will typically be 45mins to an hour.  Some osteopathic treatments may be as short as 15mins depending on the approach used by the practitioner.

For Young Adults:

    The same as for adults

For Young Children & Babies:

    The initial consultation is usually 45mins and follow up 30mins.


   One may feel tired or invigorated after a treatment. One may be sore or stiff a couple of days after treatment as the body adjusts in response to the treatment. One may also have dreams or nightmares if a part of the body has been released that was related to emotions or memories from a past trauma.


   An osteopath helps the body heal itself by initially diagnosing the cause and nature of the complaint and then using manual techniques to address the structures involved in the dis-ease/ pain. Osteopaths use their skills to identify structural problems that are preventing the body's natural tendency toward health and self-healing. Treatment is adjusted to the requirements of the individual and is aimed at improving whole body function. Before treatment an osteopath will explain to you their findings from both the case history and physical examination, helping you to understand the diagnosis. The osteopath will form a treatment plan with you.



   Osteopathy was founded by Dr Andrew Taylor Still in Kansas a midwestern state in the USA.  Osteopathy aim is to stimulate the body's own healing mechanism, rather than trying to destroy or suppress a particular disease process. 'Osteopathy is a philosophy of health not just a series of techniques applied to the body. This philosophy acknowledges that in health the body should be able to automatically adapt to different demands, and maintain itself in a state of balance and harmony. The body is always doing its best to maintain a state of balance, and can recover from or adapt to many traumatic events. However its resources for coping are not endless, and sometimes events occur that are too much for the body to correct without assistance. This is where osteopathy can help. (Hayden, 2000)'


        Andrew Taylor Still (1828 - 1917) was an American physician.  Osteopathy emerged through Still's life journey (A Life Chronology of the First Osteopath). Still's immersion in the study of the nature of health, and dis-ease coalesced on the 22nd of June 1874. Still's moment of clarity," 'I saw a small light in the horizon of truth' ,'like a burst of sunshine the whole truth dawned on my mind, that I was gradually approaching a science by study, research, and observation that would be a great benefit to the world.' (Still, 1908)" 'This approach to Health he termed Osteopathy, possibly to denote the important role that osseous tissues play in the structure and function of the organism (Lee, 2005).  'We look at the body in health as meaning perfection and harmony, not in part, but in the whole (Still, 1892).'  'Osteopathy is to me a very sacred science. It is sacred because it is a healing power through all nature. (Still, 1910). ' Although Still had discovered Osteopathy, in his own words he said he had only 'grasped the tail of the squirrel in the hole of the tree'.  In 1892 Dr Still opened the first school of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri.

   The Osteopathy principles essentially are the roots of the tree of Osteopathy from which all the treatment approaches have branched, some of these are given in a nutshell below.

    The basic four principles of osteopathy:

  • The body is a unit (body, mind, spirit).
  • The body is a self-regulatory mechanism.
  • The body has the inherent capacity to heal itself.
  • Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.

    Further expansion of the above principles are given below

  • When the normal adaptability is disrupted, or when environmental changes overcome the body's capacity for self-maintenance, disease may ensue.
  • The movement of the body fluids is essential to the maintenance of health.
  • Nerves play a crucial part in controlling the fluids of the body.
  • There are somatic components to disease that are not only manifestations of disease but also are factors that contribute to maintenance of the diseased state.

    'To obtain good results in osteopathy, we must blend ourselves with and travel in harmony with Nature’s truths' (Still, 1892).  'What is harmony but Health? It takes harmony of every nerve, vein, and artery in every part of the body'. (Still 1908)


The Aim Of Osteopathic Treatment

   ‘ The aim of osteopathic treatment is to increase the individual patient's quality of life and to improve the structural and dynamic balance of the patient's body systems, minimizing its energy requirements (Liem, 2005).

   The aim of the Osteopath is to work with the natural healing forces that are present in the individual patient. In learning to do this the Osteopath follows the osteopathic principles as his guide. Every technique and approach in osteopathy has emerged through following the principles of Osteopathy. These principles are forever present in the natural world. As Dr Still (founder) says all he did was discover what was already there. 

   'I do not claim to be the author of this science of Osteopathy.  No human hand framed its laws; I ask no greater honour than to have discovered it.' (Still, 1908) 

   One could say ‘An Osteopath uses the connective tissues as the doorway to improve the function and health of the individual’.  One can think of the Osteopath as the connective tissue piano tuner, who gets the keys in synchrony and harmony so that when the three C keys are struck together they function as one whole unit of function.

Further Infomation Regarding Osteopathic Treatment  

   Osteopaths are trained in standard manual medicine diagnosis. This is good as it allows different practitioners to communicate and is useful in cases where patients need referrals or second opinions from other medical practitioners or exercise professionals. Osteopaths very seldom work just on the patient’s site of discomfort but work on the patient as a whole to improve the patient's overall function. It is through the improvement of overall function that the healing forces are now able to focus on healing the tissues that are causing the pain, so returning them below the pain threshold and so allowing the body to return back to its normal balance. The osteopath does not heal the patient, the healing forces within the body do that, the osteopath just brings the patient to a point of balance in the tissues where healing is optimal to occur.

Life Style Changes For Optimal Health

The Osteopath may give the patient suggested lifestyle changes, such as nutritional changes, exercise advice, exercise rehab all of which will help the patient to heal from within.

When Is Osteopathy Treatment Best Sought and What MusculoSkeletal Conditions May It Help?

   Osteopathy has its best results in that grey area where the patient is somewhere on the continuum between optimal health and Pathology

   Osteopaths do not Treat Conditions, but Patients. Click the squirrel below for a list of common musculoskeletal conditions that patients find respond well to an Osteopathic treatment approach. (Drawing of Baby Squirrel by Karen)



Moved to New Location
in Bryanston



Booking of appointments is essential

Tel:          081 842 5237  {please leave a message if I am treating}
Address:   279 Bryanston Drive, Bryanston,  Sandton, in South Africa
Email:       Mark Olver

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Elements of Osteopath

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