Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)
Nearly every day, medical science unveils new discoveries from brain scans to anti-cancer drugs. In the midst of these wonders, it's easy to forget that sometimes what patients really need is a healing touch. Osteopathic physicians haven't forgotten. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is this philosophy in action, handed down through Osteopathic tradition.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, or OMT, is the treatment component of OMM. It involves using the hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury. Using OMT, your osteopathic physician will move your muscles and joints using techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance. While Osteopathic Physicians learn the thrusting (HVLA) techniques traditionally ascribed to chiropractors, this is only one tool in the Osteopath's tool belt. Most Osteopath's including Dr. Conliffe, prefer to use much more gentle techniques that engage muscle and fascia to provide the "adjustment" needed. The "pop and crack" approach, through powerful, is not always necessary and can be traumatizing to the body, particularly when overused.
At Bodyworks Musculoskeletal Medicine, Balance Ligamentous Tension (BLT) is one of the primary techniques used. It involves light pressure to engage the tissue with the ultimate goal of eliminating facilitated fascial positioning. By engaging the muscle spindles deep within the tissue, BLT can have a profound effect on local muscle tension, as well as the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and lymphatics of the autonomic system. Often described by the patient as "like a very focused massage," this technique can be used on anyone from our high level athletes to hospital patients to pregnant patients or simply anyone who cannot handle more aggressive techniques.
Muscle Energy Technique (MET) was developed by the late Philip Greenman, who was very influential on the Osteopathic community and formerly taught at Michigan State University. As an Alumnus of that institution, this is Dr. Conliffe's bread-and-butter. MET involves utilizing reciprocal inhibition to activate and simultaneously relax and stretch facilitated muscles. Ninety-nine percent of the time, this technique can be used in place of the more aggressive thrusting techniques in affecting neural facilitation and joint repositioning. This is a way of guiding the body into natural alignment instead of through the use of excessive force. Those new to the technique tend to be skeptical due to a lack of the customary "pop/crack," but those accustom to MET appreciate it's simplicity and effectiveness.