1. What is Osteopathy?  (back to top)

Osteopathy has been defined as a comprehensive system of diagnosis and treatment based on the interrelationship of anatomy (structure) and physiology (function).  The entire body, if adequately nourished, functions to heal and maintain itself best when all parts are in correct relationship to one another and free to move within their normal range of motion.  Resistance to disease depends on normal blood and nerve supply. This is achieved by the Osteopath through a wide range of manual techniques that removes all unnatural restrictions to motion, thus freeing circulation - and with it the immune system.

Simply, Osteopaths effectively set the stage for deep healing by encouraging the body's own powerful healing mechanisms to manifest its fullest strength.  As this is usually a foreign concept to Western culture, Dr. Reiss has given this simple example during lectures:  she recounts that in the Emergency Room, a patient would come in with a deep cut across a finger.  She would clean the wound, dress the sides, and stitch it closed.  In 10 days, the patient would return to have the stitches removed from the now-healed injury.  Dr. Reiss didn't heal the finger, the body did.  She was merely setting the stage; aiding the process.

2. What is an example of how Traditional Osteopathy works?  (back to top)

A patient comes in complaining of chronic neck pain and headaches.  She has gone everywhere and tried everything with little success.  Her primary care physician gave her a prescription for muscle relaxants and pain killers, her massage therapist tried deep-tissue work, and her chiropractor, finding the same vertebrae always out of alignment, successfully used weekly high-velocity adjustments.  An Osteopathic physician, however, finds strains in connective tissues that run down the full length of the body.  During a focused discussion on her medical history, the patient remembers falling off her bike while a pre-teen, when she severely twisted her ankle.  For weeks, she took the pressure off that foot by walking off-balance.  Her body adjusted imperceptibly by shifting the pelvis, which twisted the spine, which tilted the shoulders, which restricted circulation going to the head area.  These compensations in the body took place over years, slowly hardening into semi-permanence.   The Osteopath focuses first not on the head but on the ankle, to relieve the initial trauma, and over some time eliminates all the misalignments and strains all the way up.  The underlying problem was not in the head or neck, but in the ankle.  Until that was released, all other therapies treated only the symptoms.

3. How is an Osteopath different from a Chiropractor or Massage Therapist?  (back to top)

Osteopaths are fully licensed physicians with credentials equal to that of MDs.  They have, of all healthcare professionals, the most comprehensive knowledge available on the function, dysfunction, and interaction of all the body’s systems.  The philosophy and goal of Traditional Osteopathy is global in scope - to remove all restrictions to full body motion and circulation, thereby improving  the functioning of the immune system.  They do this by listening intently to the quiet wisdom of the body, by making connection with the fundamental energy within the body, and guiding it back into balance and vitality.  Osteopaths use gently powerful penetrating manipulation performed on all body tissues - bones, muscles, organs, and all connective tissue - from head to toe.  Unlocked from the body are the remnants of old physical and emotional traumas, which frees the full healing powers of the body.  In addition, Osteopaths can utilize all tools of modern medicine and can prescribe drugs when necessary.

For those who have never experienced it, Osteopathic manipulation is difficult to describe, as it is unlike any other form of manual therapy.  It is not massage, Reiki, and seldom if ever are high-velocity spinal adjustments used.  Many patients cannot even feel most of the Osteopath's most effective techniques.  One patient of Dr. Reiss' actually said in the middle of her first visit for a severe chronic back spasm, "Not for nothing, doctor, but it doesn't feel like you're doing anything!"  However, she got off the table, straightened up for the first time in days without pain, and did not even need a follow-up appointment.

Over the past century, small aspects of Osteopathy have inspired popular offshoot therapies - chiropractic, craniosacral, and rolfing being the best known.  For instance, D. D. Palmer, a successful grocer and the first chiropractor, started his new trade after mastering one vertebrae adjustment technique from Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the originator of Osteopathy.

4. How can Osteopathy be so beneficial for so many conditions?  (back to top)

Most people in Western cultures tend to associate certain therapies as helping only certain health problems, even in holistic medicine.  Osteopathy's reach is nearly unlimited, because it works to strengthen and restore the body's own powerful healing energies.  D.O.s understand that within the body is the ultimate physician, and that it is the Osteopath's role to bring that inner health forth.  They do that primarily through their manual techniques to remove restrictions to motion in the body - both in structure and in circulation.  All cells of the body require nutrients delivered, waste products removed, and nerve signals flowing to function properly.  The more unencumbered the body is at doing these basic tasks everywhere, the healthier it can operate.  Osteopaths free up these pathways, allowing the body to do what it does best - heal and maintain itself.

5. Does Dr. Reiss offer Cranial or Craniosacral Therapy?  (back to top)

Yes, one of the major sub-specialties of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine that Dr. Reiss performs is "Cranial Osteopathy."  Developed by William Sutherland, D.O. in the 1930's, Cranial Osteopathy is the original and most comprehensive form, practiced only by licensed physicians, that all other cranial therapies, including "craniosacral," are derived from.

6. How many visits will I need?  (back to top)

While this is a common question, it cannot be easily answered.  Every person responds to treatment in an entirely unique fashion.  Typically, Dr. Reiss likes to see new patients once a week for a short while.  This may be just a few visits for an acute problem, though perhaps a couple months for decades-long chronic or degenerative conditions.  If a near-weekly rate of visit cannot be achieved, then progress may not be as rapid.  Once some substantial improvement is seen, the frequency of visits can be reduced - towards the goal of needing just occasional maintenance.

The path to health is also not always a straight one.  Often, early in the course of successful holistic treatments, a patient experiences a seeming setback in his or her conditions with a temporary return of old pain or illness symptoms.  This is referred to as a Healing Response or "healing crisis."  It is brought about by the sudden release chemically of long-stored toxins or energetically of long-held traumas.  There may also be parts of the body, having grown use to misalignment or lack of motion, that may be at first irritated by a restoration of proper structure.  The time it takes for the body to process the changes and clear out the waste is at most usually just several days.  Since it is necessary in full healing for the elimination of these obstacles, the patient is strongly encouraged to resist the natural urge to cease treatment or suppress symptoms with over-the-counter drugs.  Rather, we suggest our patients call our office for guidance should they experience any discomfort or problems after a treatment.

7. Does Dr. Reiss prescribe drugs?  (back to top)

Yes, but only rarely.  For conventional medical care, which normally includes prescription drugs, Dr. Reiss advises that patients go to their conventional primary care doctor.  She chooses not to direct time away from the holistic modalities she studies and practices.  For some acute needs, Dr. Reiss may possibly prescribe a medication necessary to see the patient through the time needed to get to their primary care doctor.

8. Does Dr. Reiss use alternative lab tests (allergy, saliva, hair, stool) to guide treatment?  (back to top)

Some healthcare providers who maintain a "holistic" practice rely heavily on lab results from non-conventional testing facilities.  Dr. Reiss also will occasionally recommends certain limited tests that are well-recognized by either holistic or conventional physicians.  She will do this to rule out a serious condition requiring added conventional care or to establish a baseline to gauge progress.  However, she has seen many laboratory tests across the medical spectrum used as a means to simply catalog more symptoms of the underlying imbalance in the body or spirit.  Her work in Osteopathy, though, by utilizing all five senses acutely trained, can find that underlying cause and restore health.  Once that occurs, all those measurable perimeters will return to normal without the aggressive isolated therapies those tests might suggest.

9. Does Dr. Reiss use any tools or equipment?  (back to top)

The doctor uses only her hands for all Osteopathic treatments - occasionally assisted by a "Fulford Percussor," picured on the right.  This is a hand-held variable-speed vibrating paddle, developed by her mentor Robert Fulford, D.O., that is used to gently break through and release deep, tough restrictions.  Dr. Reiss achieves this, much in the same way Ella Fitzgerald could vibrate a glass into shattering by singing the right note, by holding the paddle lightly against the skin at a specific location after selecting the speed to match the body tissue's vibrational frequency.  It's very soothing; for our child patients it is called the "tickle machine."

10. Does Dr. Reiss request x-rays be taken?  (back to top)

No, the doctor often find x-rays and other images techniques to be of little or no use in her practice.  These images are 2-dimensional and static, exactly what a living body is not.  She typically finds her Osteopathic touch to be far more effective in diagnosis and treatment for removing restrictions to full motion and circulation.  The rare request for medical imaging may be when Dr. Reiss suspects, through her years of experience in ER medicine, a fracture or potentially debilitating condition that would be best treated with the addition of conventional means.

11. Does Dr. Reiss use Homeopathy or any other holistic modalities?  (back to top)

The doctor has studied many holistic modalities and is informed on many others, but she focuses on Traditional Osteopathy and on a secondary level nutrition and lifestyle counseling.  Homeopathy has significant philosophical overlap with Osteopathy, but it is a field of study as large and complex as any in medicine when practiced properly, and thus Dr. Reiss would recommend patients find a dedicated homeopathic professional for those services.

12. What age groups does Dr. Reiss treat?  (back to top)

All ages, from birth to elder passing.  Infants and young children actually respond quickly to Osteopathic treatment, as the body has not yet hardened into its dysfunction.  She treats pregnant women to ease delivery and relieve stresses on the pre-born infant.  Dr. Reiss can also use Osteopathy on the terminally ill to help ease their final transition.

13. Does Dr. Reiss offer primary care?  (back to top)

Dr. Reiss is a Board Certified Family Physician.  However, as a holistic specialist in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, she asks all patients who need medication management, periodic laboratory testing, drug treatment for acute illnesses, or other conventional therapies to continue with their current primary physician.  She will then provide complementary holistic therapy coordinated with that doctor.  If you are not in need of such regulated conventional care, Dr. Reiss may be able to provide the level of primary care you need to improve and maintain your health.  Since every established patient has a dedicated ˝ hour often scheduled many weeks in advance, and we do not overbook, medical emergencies cannot always be accommodated immediately.  However, all possible effort will be made to schedule patients with acute needs as soon as possible.

14. Does Dr. Reiss accept insurance?  (back to top)

Dr. Reiss is a Medicare provider.  We also work with a patient's commercial insurance company when they have out-of-network benefits, like a PPO or POS plan.  Follow this link to more information in our Office section, or please contact us for specific details regarding your coverage.

15. Do I have to stop seeing my other holistic care givers?  (back to top)

While some of Dr. Reiss's Osteopathic colleagues prefer that their patients not see chiropractors or other body workers for fear of that other practitioner undoing the still-fresh restoration of structure, she herself does not normally advise on such prohibitions.  Many of the doctor's patients enjoy seeing other healthcare therapists concurrently, and Dr. Reiss does not wish to intrude upon those relationships.  If there is an area of anatomical delicacy or special concern, the doctor will notify her patients to have other therapists avoid the spot or treat them with extreme care.

16. Why isn't Osteopathy better known?  (back to top)

There may be no better reason than poor marketing.  About 5% of all physicians in the United States are D.O.s.  However, for much of the past 50 years, this  group has been pulled internally in opposite directions of the medical spectrum.  The majority (90%) has spent much of its resources educating that D.O.s are the equivalent as MDs, and in fact practice conventional medicine in an identical fashion as their MD counterparts.  However, the small 10% remainder has been trying to emphasize the unique differences from MDs - the holistic training and manual therapies that only D.O.s can offer.  With no consensus within their own profession, little outward public awareness has thus been realized about the special and powerful nature of Osteopathic therapies.

17. I do not live close enough to see Dr. Reiss.  Where can I find a holistic doctor who does similar work?  (back to top)
The blend of holistic services that Dr. Reiss offers (as pictured on our Home Page) is, to her knowledge, unique in the United States.  However, if you are looking for a Traditional manipulating Osteopath, we recommend contacting the Cranial Academy.