Supporting Osteopathy - Locally and Globally

Part of our mandate at the Society for Osteopathic Wellness is to spread the word about Osteopathy- in our community and abroad.

Last week, our volunteers stopped into the Toronto Centre for Community Learning and Development to do just that. Residents of Cabbagetown, St. James Town and Regent Park were all in attendance to find out more about osteopathic care.

As part of an “Introduction to Osteopathy,” Society volunteers spent the evening chatting with community residents about the history of Osteopathy and its founders. We shared an explanation of Osteopathic Manual Therapy and what it can treat and what differentiates the science of Osteopathy from other forms of manual therapy.

We’ll be participating in future talks around the community, so stay tuned for listings on our website.

The Society for Osteopathic Wellness is a non-profit organization focused on promoting Osteopathy in Toronto and abroad. Our Cabbagetown clinic has the largest team of Osteopathic Manual Therapists available in Toronto.

Can Osteopathy help with AIDS?

World AIDS Day, observed every December 1st, serves as a reminder that the fight against HIV has not gone away. It’s a very serious disease that still affects  more than 33 million people around the world, including five million young people, and approximately 2,400 people around the world become infected every day. It’s a disease the must be stopped, and there has been major progress in AIDS research and improved health care over the last few years. So much so, that the UN is pushing for governments around the world to contribute to “getting to zero… zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths – by 2015.”

We have all heard about the development of vaccines and anti-retroviral treatments related to AIDS, but the use of Osteopathic Manual Therapy to treatment may not be something you have heard before, so please bear with us. First, a few sentences about AIDS and how it affects the body. Then, a look at how Osteopathic Manual Therapy may help.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Currently, people can live much longer (even decades) with HIV before they develop AIDS, because of combinations of medications that were introduced in the mid 1990’s. Before then, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. However, these medications come with costs and side effects, and need to be taken for the rest of a person’s life.

HIV is an infection resulting from 1 of 2 similar retroviruses (HIV-1 and HIV-2). A retrovirus is an RNA virus that is duplicated in a host cell, using the reverse transcriptase enzyme to produce DNA from its RNA genome. HIV primarily infects vital organs of the human immune system such as CD4ymphocytes (a subset of T cells), macrophages and dendritic cells. HIV infection leads to low levels of CD4+ T cells through three main mechanisms:

  •  Direct viral killing of infected cells
  •  Increased rates of apoptosis in infected cells
  •  Killing of infected CD4+ T cells by CD8 cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize infected cells

When T cell numbers decline below a critical level, cell-mediated immunity is impaired, increasing risk of certain infections. Risk of subsequent manifestations related to immunodeficiency, is proportional to the level of  lymphocytes. Manifestations range from asymptomatic carriage to AIDS, which is defined by serious opportunistic infections or cancers or a CD4

How does an Osteopathic Manual Therapist treat their patient to truly make a positive impact on the overall vitality of the patient? Hollis D.O. reminds us that Osteopathy is nature’s method of curing disease. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reported a study that demonstrated that a layperson taught a couple of techniques in Osteopathic Manual Therapy produced a beneficial impact on white blood cells in AIDS patients. It could be deduced that this result would be greatly improved by a highly skilled and fully trained Osteopathic manual therapist.

Dr. Karen Sandler, D.O. is a member of the American Association of HIV Medicine and is considered an HIV/AIDS specialist. She performs OMT on all of her patients. On her website she presents numerous cases where OMT has specifically helped her AIDS patients.

Andrew Taylor Still laid down all the principles we will ever need to understand how we need to address any disorder or disease. “I found mechanical causes for disordered functioning, or poor work of the head, neck, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, or extremities. I adjusted the bony framework and secured such good results that I was encouraged to keep on and on until now I can truthfully say that I am satisfied that Osteopathy is the natural way by which all of the diseases to which the human family is heir can be relieved, and a large majority of them cured.”

Regardless of the disease or ailment the patient is suffering, it is the responsibility of the Osteopathic operator to properly evaluate the function of each anatomical structures. All perversions in the structure will affect, with no exceptions, the normal function of the physiology below.

“When all the parts of the human body are in line we have health. When they are not the effect is disease. When that parts are readjusted disease gives place to health,” wrote Dr. Still. He  was the first to study this phenomenon over and over again to only find that there was no deviations available to this truth. “I was many years philosophizing, comparing and noticing results which followed taking off strains and pressures. I was surprised to see that fever, congestion and all irregularities gave way, health returned, and the results were good and satisfactory.”


AT Still Osteopathy with a femur

AT Still, founder of Osteopathy


As the month of November draws to a close, the fabulous displays of manliness and mo’ pride impress us more every day. Everything from the David Suzuki to the Charlie Chaplin to the Mark Twain to the… A.T. Still? Yes, even the founder of Osteopathy had some exceptional facial hair.

Whatever the shape of your ‘stache, we give a big thank you to all the men and women who raised funds around the world in support of prostate cancer research this month. We salute your MO-mentous achievements, even if the sides didn’t quite grow in the way you wanted them to.

On November the 9th the OOA was on “Finding your Bliss” discussing prostate cancer and sharing how Osteopathy can assist in the prevention of prostate issues. To understand how we can help, let’s have an in-depth look at the anatomy of the prostate gland.

Anatomy of the Prostate Gland

The Encyclopedia Britannica Online describes the prostate as a male reproductive organ that surrounds the urethra, and serves as a passage for both urine and semen.

Henry Gray defined the prostate as a firm partly glandular and partly muscular body.  He landmarks were within the pelvic cavity above the superior fascia of the urogenital diaphragm and in front of the rectum.  The arteries supplying the prostate arise from the pudendal, inferior vesical, and middle hemorrhoidal.  The prostates veins receive from the dorsal vein of the penis, merge to become a plexus surrounding the gland and then empty into the hypogastric veins.

Lymphatic drainage occurs in the internal iliac lymph node. Sympathetic innervation is supplied by the superior lumbar and hypogastric nerves.  These nerves are responsible for the speed of contraction during ejaculation.  The parasympathetic innervation is derived from the pelvic splanchnic and inferior hypogastric plexus.

In The Practice of Osteopathy, McConnell and Teall propose the secretory branches of the prostate gland are from the sacral nerves.  Its sensory contribution is located at the tenth, eleventh (twelfth) dorsal, first, second and third sacral as well as the fifth lumbar.

Its glandular function is to produce seminal fluid that contains fructose (energy for the sperm), amino acids, ascorbic acids and prostaglandins.

The Hypothalamus constantly monitors blood levels of testosterone.  When there are inadequate levels it releases GnRH(gonadotropin releasing hormone) and LHRH (Luteinizing hormone releasing hormone) to stimulate the pituitary.  Upon retrieval of this information the Pituitary releases both Gn (gonadotropin) and/or  LH (Luteinizing hormone).   The production of these two hormones affects the testes and produces increase blood testosterone levels.  Testosterone is known for stimulating the growth of the prostrate gland.  Testosterone will also power the growth of cancerous tissue because it cannot differentiate between normal tissue and abnormal.

Prostate Cancer

This is the most common cancer among men especially in men over 40.  Symptoms include altered urination, blood or white blood cells in the urine, pain during ejaculation as well in the lower back or pelvis.  Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of prostate tumors.  Prostate cancer can spread to other areas of the pelvic girdle including the seminal vesicles, rectum and bladder via the bodies extensive lymphatic system.

Treatment for the pelvic girdle and Prostate Gland

In the Philosophy of Osteopathy, Dr Still discusses the causes of abnormal growths below the diaphragm.  Since the prostate is a structure below the diaphragm we must explore all contributing structures to the enlargement of the gland and the abnormal proliferation of cells in this area.  Dr. Sill instructs that the eleventh and twelfth rib may be subject to abnormal bearings, pointing downward near the ilio-lumbar articulation.  In this position, he points out that they will draw the diaphragm downwards partially or fully occluding the vena cava at the fourth lumbar.  Due to this blockage in blood flow there will be a stagnation of fluids in all organs and glands found below the diaphragm.  He also states that this will be the onset of all abnormal growths and tumors of the abdomen and pelvic girdle.

He continues by educating about the failure to free action of the blood in the abdominal cavity will produce numerous visceral diseases including tumefactions.  He points the osteopathic practitioner to explore the mechanics of the innominates as well as the sacrum.  If the innominate bones are found to have altered mechanics with the sacrum an injury to the sacral system of blood and nerves will be produced leading to congestion, inflammation and a crippling condition to the surrounding nerves.

In Osteopathy: Research and Practice, Dr. Still clearly announces that in all the cases of enlarged prostate that he ever treated, he found the ischia to be too close together.  His treatment was to restore normal articulation of the ischia with the sacrum.

The prostate gland has many functions including accessary reproductive concerns as well as the control valve from urine flow.

It also can be intimately involved with the endocrine functionality. This gland has significant influence of the neuro-endocrine immunological process which are highly entangled in our bodies.

With the prostate being so key to the male body’s function as a whole, it’s important to keep it healthy and functional, and Osteopathy can help!



1. Gray, Henry. Anatomy of the Human Body. 1918. 

2 .McConnell, C.P. and Charles Clayton Teall.  The Practice of Osteopathy. 1906.






8. Still, A.T.  The Philosophy of Osteopathy.  1899. Bibliolife.  Kirksville, MO. 

9. Still, A.T.  Osteopathy: Research and Practice.  1910. Bibliolife.  Kirksville, MO.


Come out to see our brand new clinic in Toronto’s historic Cabbagetown! We’ll be there Friday and Saturday to tour you around the space and talk about what Osteopathy can do for you.

To book an appointment with one of our volunteer members of the Ontario Osteopathic Association, call 647-352-5528.


Society for Osteopathic Wellness osteopathy clinic Toronto grand opening