I previously highlighted the issues with The Institute of Osteopathy’s Convention 2016 and training being provided to osteopaths in conditions they are not allowed to advertise to treat. Unbelievably, the same thing has happened a year on at the iO Convention 2017. Take for instance the session “Lymphatic treatment during pregnancy”. This workshop focuses on the “physiological changes of the liver functions” and goes on to suggest a link between “impaired lymphatic circulation” and “low back pain, headaches, nausea and constipation”. Now, nausea and constipation are conditions that osteopaths are not allowed to advertise to treat. In the case of headaches, the claims they are allowed to make are very restricted and focused only one specific type of headache: cervicogenic. Why is that? Simply because there is no evidence that the treatments provided by osteopaths are helpful for these conditions. The training that’s being provided here is clearly in breach of the guidelines issued by the General Osteopathic Council (regulatory body for osteopathy in the UK), the Advertising Standards Authority and the Committee of Advertising Practice. What’s really puzzling is why any osteopath would think that they could help these conditions in the first place. It only takes a very basic understanding of the way the human body works to realise there is no way the treatments an osteopath can provide (manual therapy) can possibly have any effect on nausea or constipation. Maybe it’s because osteopaths aren’t actually medically trained at all and they therefore lack sufficient understanding of the way the human body works?
The next workshop at the conference was called “The portal system & natural therapeutics”. It is also focused on the liver and says “Its role in detoxification will be illustrated and how us, as osteopaths may provide suitable adjustments”. Is this actually for real? In the 21st century are osteopaths really suggesting that they can provide manual “adjustments” to affect the function of the liver? This is pure quackery. It’s quite incredible that The Institute of Osteopathy who brand themselves as “the UK’s leading professional membership organisation for registered Osteopaths” can allow this to take place. Far from providing relevant training to osteopaths, this is actually teaching them complete nonsense.
Underlying Osteopathic Principles
The convention also provides training on some of the underlying principles of osteopathy. The session “Applying the Wisdom of A.T. Still” gives some insight into how much of the early development of osteopathy and underlying osteopathic principles conflict with the way the human body actually works. The abstract for that session includes the following (emphasis mine):
“Osteopathy was established upon a law of nature unexplained by science – nature’s innate tendency to express health – and therefore he argued that we need a different philosophical framework than scientific materialism for understanding the living being. A philosophy that includes science, but also acknowledges that every living cell possesses an intelligence far greater than our own reasoning faculties.”
So there you have the basis of osteopathy. It was created by someone who thought that “every living cell possesses an intelligence far greater than our own reasoning faculties”. Oh dear. How about the fact that our “reasoning faculties” are made up of these cells? It’s now easier to explain why there are so many problems with osteopathic treatment – it was invented without any understanding of science or how the human body actually works. That’s probably why osteopathy treatment is so ineffective. Even for low back pain, the “home ground” of osteopaths, it’s no longer a first-line treatment.
The Institute of Osteopathy gave out several awards during the convention. Unfortunately, they didn’t take much care over the people chosen to receive an award. For instance, the “Principal of the Year Award” was given to James Ruddick of Summertown Clinic. The Summertown Clinic provides a whole host of unproven “treatments” including cranial osteopathy, acupuncture, reflexology and homeopathy. None of these have any basis in science or evidence of effectiveness for any condition. If you dig a bit further into their website you can find a range of gems such as “Babies often greatly benefit from cranial osteopathy as it helps resolve strains from the birth process.” This is very misleading because the birth process does not result in “strains” that need to be resolved via cranial osteopathy or otherwise. The Advertising Standards Authority has already made it very clear to osteopaths that this is a misleading and unproven claim. Choosing one of the main osteopaths from this clinic for the “Principal of the Year Award” shows how deeply entrenched unproven treatments and misleading claims are in the osteopathic profession.
Yet again the iO Convention serves to highlight all that is wrong with osteopathy. If you want to be treated by someone who believes in “treatments” that have no connection with reality then go to see an osteopath. Otherwise, you’d be well advised to look elsewhere.