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Sport Osteopathy
by Chris Hettenkofer

von Chris Hettenkofer


At the 1936 Olympic Games, osteopaths were part of the medical contingent for the first time. Since then, osteopathy has become an integral part of sport and contributes to the performance and well-being of the athletes. Sport osteopathy is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It can be used both as individual therapy and as a complementary therapy.

A sport osteopath must be familiar with the sport-specific loading patterns and biomechanics. Both comprehensive knowledge of training theory as well as sports science are necessary to understand these stresses as well as individually adapting and controlling the training and regeneration. Every sport leaves its own unique impact on the body, with specific posture and tension patterns and accumulated stresses and types of injuries. The psychological stress from training and
competing takes it's toll on the body, mind and person. Through my sports studies
at the Deutschen Sporthochschule Köln, my experiences from athletic training in both 
professional and non-professional sports, my personal training and from participating in sports, I can understand movements, movement-related problems and pain, as well as the psychological stress from training and competition.


My sessions can vary and are based on classic Osteopathy principles, including the ideas of Mohammed Khalifa, Moshe Feldenkrais and Tom Myers. Targeted manual therapy, fine stress management (training and regeneration) and compensatory training (every sport has an unbalanced effect on the body and thus the body requires supplementary therapy to balance it's natural movement) are important pillars of my therapy with athletes.

When does sport osteopathy make sense:

  1. Limitations or loss of functionality: When abnormal movement occurs and becomes severe or impossible and can no longer be corrected

  2. Acute and sub-acute injuries: Immediate or early intervention, using a conservative approach. After operations, osteopathy can promote and support healing through the targeted activation of self-healing systems

  3. Recurring or chronic injuries (strains, swelling, tension, etc.)

  4. Susceptibility to injury

  5. Inadequate regeneration

The ultimate goal is free, harmonious and easy movement. The myofascial system and the involuntary reflexes must therefore be functional. If there are dysfunctions inside the body, tension, pain or injury are the result. The sport osteopath tries to re-establish the functionality so that ultimately movement is fluid and coordinated.*

Wann macht Sportosteopathie Sinn?

*For better readability, the generic masculine is used. Female and other gender identities are explicitly included to the extent necessary for the statement.

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