A specialist in the neuro-musculoskeletal system, the spine and the musculoskeletal system, the chiropractor takes care of the various mechanical pathologies of the body. Indications, benefits, the difference from osteopathy … Update with Stéphane Docoche, chiropractor and founder of Urgence Dos, a chiropractic service in business and at home.

What is a chiropractor?

The chiropractor is a healthcare professional who diagnoses, prevents and takes care of neuro-musculoskeletal disorders of the musculoskeletal system of the human body as well as their consequences. ” These dysfunctions can cause pain or limitation of movement. Chiropractic is a natural method, preventive as well as curative “, explains Stéphane Docoche. The chiropractor offers his patient care adapted to his needs and when the situation requires it, he can refer him to a competent doctor.

Definition: what is chiropractic?

Chiropractic or chiropractic, is a technique based on manipulations, performed mostly unarmed, aimed to release nerves and treatment of vertebral subluxations responsible for muscle-tendon disorders, but also organic by blocking the nerve impulse. This method comes from a theory according to which the nervous system connects the elements of the spiritual, immaterial sphere (the psyche, the soul) to the physical, material sphere (the body).

What are the differences between osteopaths and chiropractors?

” Globally, chiropractors all have the same basic training (in France there is only one training center with an annex) while the level of osteopathy training is variable (there are many schools in France) “, specifies the specialist. ” The chiropractor can perform cervical manipulations without medical advice while the osteopath will need a medical certificate from the doctor to perform them “, he emphasizes. Chiropractic focuses on the health of the spine and joints and its impact on the nervous system. It is more focused on the nervous and osteoarticular systems, while osteopathy is more about the visceral and fluid, cranial systems. “The osteopath can only exercise with his hands. The chiropractor can use instruments in addition to his adjustments “, explains Stéphane Docoche.

What does a chiropractor treat?


The chiropractor treats in particular:

  • spinal pain such as neck pain (torticollis, cervical sprains, whiplash),
  • back pain (pain between the shoulder blades, intercostal neuralgia),
  • low back pain (lumbago, lumbar sprains),
  • osteoarthritis, herniated discs, sciatica, sciatica, cruralgia, cervico brachial neuralgia.
  • some forms of migraines, headaches, tension headaches, pain in so-called peripheral joints (knees, shoulders, elbows, hands, feet, hips) such as sprains, epicondylitis (tennis elbow, golfer elbow), tendonitis.
  • certain stress-related pathologies such as anxiety, sleep disorders.

Chiropractic massage techniques, and chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation

Chiropractic massage therapy


Massage therapy is the movement and stimulation of body tissues by a therapist, such as the manipulation of muscles in Swedish massage or that of joints, bones and tendons in chiropractic and osteopathic massage. Most traditional healing practices involve massage, and the majority of people living with HIV find that massage reduces stress and alleviates anxiety. Massage can also be beneficial for the immune system.

Swedish massage is the most accessible form of massage in Canada. It aims to stimulate blood circulation and relax knotted muscles. Kneading, massaging, pressing and stretching facilitate joint mobility and relieve pain, stress and fatigue. Swedish massage can also help the immune system to function better through relaxation. Massage can also relieve peripheral neuropathy.

Regulation of massage therapists varies across Canada. Some extended health insurance plans cover massage therapy services.

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese massage which aims to balance the body’s energies. Some people living with HIV use shiatsu for stress and fatigue relief. In Canada, at least two types of shiatsu are offered, and massage therapists offer either or both. Masunaga shiatsu (or Zen shiatsu) is very similar to the medical practices that prevail in East Asia. It aims to recreate balance and harmony in the body by stimulating the circulation of qior life energy (see section on Traditional Chinese Medicine). This form of massage is very similar to acupressure. The second type of shiatsu, namikoshi shiatsu, is also called original shiatsu. This type of massage combines Western scientific notions of anatomy and physiology with the Eastern traditions of masunaga shiatsu. Namikoshi practitioners focus on pressure points associated with the endocrine system, which forms a network of glands responsible for circulating hormones throughout the body.

Shiatsu is not regulated in Canada and there is no national organization of shiatsu massage therapists.

Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulations

Chiropractors strengthen the body’s natural healing power by working especially on the framework, the skeleton, and more specifically on the spine and the nerves that cross it. Chiropractors do not use drugs or surgery. By manipulating the spine, they can relieve stress and musculoskeletal problems, such as headaches and backaches. Although most conditions treated by chiropractors are unrelated to HIV, people with HIV use their services to treat symptoms such as headache, headache or insomnia. Although their primary work tool is spinal manipulation, chiropractors also use ultrasound and the application of heat and light.

Osteopaths use manual manipulation techniques that resemble those used in chiropractic, but place more emphasis on the soft tissues, muscles, and ligaments of the body. Osteopathy would also be useful to treat headaches, fatigue and muscle and joint pain. Osteopaths combine the techniques of osteopathy with conventional medicine and are licensed as physicians in England and the United States. In Canada, the practice of osteopathy is subject to a greater number of restrictive measures. Due to these restrictions, osteopathic practitioners are rather rare in Canada.

Some health care providers work as both chiropractors and osteopaths. Chiropractic is regulated in most parts of Canada. However, the practice of osteopathy is not regulated in Canada. The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto and the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières are the only educational institutions accredited to train chiropractors in Canada.

Chiropractic services are partially covered by the health insurance plans of some territories and provinces. Most private insurance plans cover at least some chiropractic treatment.

The Canadian Chiropractic Associationhas a search engine that helps direct people to qualified practitioners in their area. In most parts of Canada, practitioners are regulated and must be certified in order to practice their profession.


Reflexology aims to influence the health of various parts of the body by applying pressure to the “reflex” areas of the feet and hands. Each reflex zone is connected to a region of the body. By applying pressure to these areas, one influences the health of the corresponding part of the body. Reflexologists do not use lotions or oils during their treatment, nor do they diagnose specific illnesses. Reflexology is used to relieve stress and tension, improve circulation, and remove toxins. Reflexologists also work on reflex zones which can stimulate the immune system.

Reflexologists are not regulated in Canada. To become members of the Canadian Reflexology Association, reflexologists must complete approximately 30 hours of formal training and 60 hours of practical training.



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