January 2013

Osteopathy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

According to new research, osteopathy may relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBS commonly starts between the ages of 20 and 30 and is twice as common in women as in men. The frequency of the condition in the general population is estimated to be somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. Up to 70 percent of people with IBS are not receiving medical care for their symptoms.

Osteopaths often focus on the neuromusculoskeletal system and perform manipulations to treat a wide range of problems. Osteopaths traditionally believe that the primary role of the health care provider is to facilitate the body's inherent ability to heal itself. Today, osteopathy in the United States combines conventional medical practices with osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy and education about healthful posture and body positioning.

The recent study included 30 individual with IBS. Participants were randomly assigned to receive osteopathy or a control treatment of sham osteopathy. Participants attended three sessions over 28 days.

After seven days. IBS symptoms significantly decreased in severity in the osteopathy group, compared to the control group. Anxiety and depression was reduced in both the osteopathy group and the control group.

Further research on this topic is warranted.

For more information about osteopathy, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Florance BM, Frin G, Dainese R et al. Osteopathy improves the severity of irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot randomized sham-controlled study. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Aug;24(8):944-9. 
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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