What is the difference between physiotherapy and osteopathy?
Talking about the difference between a physiotherapist and an osteopath is one of the questions we are most often asked in our professional and personal lives. Physiotherapy and osteopathy are two complementary healthcare approaches that aim to improve mobility, relieve pain and promote overall health. Although the two professions sometimes overlap in their areas of expertise, there are significant differences (other than reimbursement by social security) between physiotherapy and osteopathy in terms of treatment philosophy and methods. Understanding these differences can help you choose the best approach to meet your individual health needs.
Physiotherapy is a form of movement therapy: kinesis means movement and therapeuein means care. Physiotherapy, also known as physiotherapy in some countries, is a profession focusing on the rehabilitation of patients with mobility problems, and the prevention, rehabilitation and management of musculoskeletal disorders. Physiotherapists are second-line therapists, acting on medical prescription.
The aim of a physiotherapist is to help individuals preserve, improve or restore their mobility and physical function, reduce pain and improve their quality of life. Physiotherapists work with patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly, and in a variety of healthcare settings. Their overall aim is to promote health and well-being using rehabilitation techniques and pain management strategies.
Here are some of the specific objectives of a physiotherapist:
- improve physical function and quality of life by increasing mobility, strength, coordination and endurance,
- recovery of physical function after surgery.
- injury prevention,
- relief from chronic or acute pain,
- rehabilitation to help patients regain mobility, strength and function after injury, surgery, illness or accident, ..,
- patient education on ergonomics, posture, self-care, etc,
Based on their patient's assessment, the physiotherapist develops a personalized treatment plan that is more logo-regional to the patient's pain. This plan may include therapeutic exercises, manual techniques, physical modalities (such as heat or cryotherapy), trunk stabilization exercises, relaxation and breathing techniques, recommendations for lifestyle adaptation, neurological rehabilitation, ... Physiotherapy uses tools such as electrodes, ultrasound, ...
Therapeutic exercises are the central element of physiotherapy. They are designed to strengthen muscles, improve coordination and joint mobility, promote healing, correct posture and restore physical function. These exercises are tailored to the specific needs of each patient.
In France, physiotherapy is partially reimbursed by the Assurance Maladie (60% of the agreed fee, with the exception of "comfort" sessions). Patients must have a medical prescription for reimbursement. Reimbursement rates vary according to the severity of the patient's condition. Patients may also have a complementary health insurance (mutuelle) that covers some or all of the remaining costs.
Osteopathy means "the way of the human body". This therapy, founded by Andrew Taylor Still, was based on 4 main principles:
- the unity of the body: the human being is a whole whose anatomical spheres are in total interaction,
- The body has its own ways of fighting disease, and the osteopath is there to improve this self-healing process,
- the body's structure governs its function, and vice versa,
- the artery rule: according to Still, freeing the blood and nerve pathways ensured that the various organs were properly irrigated and exchanges were encouraged.
Osteopaths strive to restore balance and promote the overall health of their patients by adopting a holistic approach.
The osteopathic consultation consists of 4 stages: history-taking, clinical examination, treatment and advice, and is a first-line therapy.
An osteopath's aim is to help patients regain and maintain good health. It is a non-invasive, manual medical approach to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a variety of health problems using manual techniques.
From newborns to the elderly, everyone can visit an osteopath for different reasons: musculoskeletal, nervous, postural, ENT, gynecological disorders, sports injuries, pregnancy, post-partum, restrictive brakes, plagiocephaly, etc.
It is important to note that osteopathy is a complementary medicine that can be used alongside other traditional medical approaches. Osteopaths often work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care for their patients.
Osteopathic treatment uses a variety of purely manual techniques to assess and treat restrictions in the body's tissues, including muscles, joints, ligaments, fascia, etc. The osteopath works holistically, using a holistic approach.
In France, social security does not reimburse osteopathic sessions, but several complementary mutual insurance companies do. To be reimbursed, osteopathic sessions must be carried out by a qualified osteopath (i.e. a D.O. osteopath). Reimbursement amounts and conditions vary from one mutual insurance company to another. It is therefore important to check the terms and conditions of your health insurance contract to determine the level of reimbursement provided.
Athina De Vogel
2 rue Alexis de Tocqueville