Any obstruction that impedes the circulation of fluids within the body is the focus of osteopathic assessment and treatment. These impediments may take the form of structural or non-structural blockages. Structural or physical impediments include generalized twists, curves, or pulls within the body, as well as specific misaligned bones, organs, or tissues. These faults may affect the control of systems that regulate fluid circulation and the life-sustaining and regulatory products that the fluids carry.
Over time, the body gradually loses its ability to efficiently self-regulate and self-heal. Some of this loss may be due to the aging process, trauma, accident, illness, surgical scarring, childbirth, repetitive activity, the prolonged influence of gravity on posture, or the cumulative effects of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual stresses.
In most cases, the patient has had some combination of the above experiences. These experiences may manifest themselves locally at or near the original site of occurrence or, more frequently, the symptoms may be felt far from the site of occurrence. For this reason, the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner must assess the whole body. Although treatment may be directed toward several specific areas, the effect of that treatment is often felt throughout the body. It is for this reason that the Osteopathic Manual Practitioner also treat the whole body.