What is Osteopathic Articular Balancing?

OAB is a system of gentle manipulative techniques based on assessing and treating muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments by removing tensions and restrictions in the animal's musculoskeletal system and balancing body structures. OAB helps to improve function by relieving pain, maximizing movement and increasing performance.

Developed by Stuart McGregor, DO, considered by many to be the father of modern animal osteopathy, the OAB method reflects an osteopathic approach to the treatment of small animals, dogs and equines alike. Stuart graduated from the European School of Osteopathy, UK in 1984, where he wrote his dissertation on 'The Principles of Osteopathy Applied to the Horse’.  This is the first known written work about osteopathy for horses.

Prof. Stuart McGregor explains the physiological principles of Osteopathic Articular Balancing method used by animal osteopaths in the treatment of canines and equines alike.

OAB physiology. An animal's health manifests in their ability to move, and relies on a balanced relationship between the different systems of the body such as the locomotion system, the nervous system,  organs, fascia and other supporting tissues. 

Structural biomechanics are crucial for a correctly functioning central nervous system. Articulations of the skeletal system are the critical points of interconnectivity between all anatomic structures: healthy joints receive and emit messages with other parts of the body, and play a pivotal role in the overall health of the animal. 

  • Assessment. OAB examines the functional anatomy of each joint, along with the neurovascular structures, muscles, ligaments, capsule attachments and folds. The therapist incorporates soft tissue mobilization of the associated bones while looking at direct and indirect relationships between the bones of the body.
  • An OAB therapist uses gait assessment as well as palpation to identify a potential source of imbalance or pain, as well as how and why it is impacting a joint where the animal’s problem is manifested.

Treatment. OAB treatment helps to maintain nerve supply from the vertebral joints, improving blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, reducing stiffness in the joints, and helping maintain flexibility.

Through the application of gentle and specific OAB techniques, an osteopath intervenes and disrupts the dysfunctional pattern, releasing the affected joint and ultimately allowing the animal to achieve a state of optimal health.

Prof. Stuart McGregor , considered by many to be one of the founders of modern animal osteopathy is the Head Instructor for London College of Animal Osteopathy, a leading institute for studies in canine and equine osteopathy.

7 Facts to know about the OAB method

  1. OAB is a structural approach to osteopathic assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of many health conditions in equines and canines.

  2. The OAB method is a classical, long-lever osteopathic technique that uses gentle mobilization and manipulation to both assess and treat joints, muscles, and fascia with no side effects or adverse reactions. 

  3. The OAB method is at the core of any osteopathic treatment. It offers the therapist a protocol or an organized search pattern to find dysfunction and treat it.
  4. OAB helps with common injuries, such as strained tendons and ligaments, and more complex conditions, i.e., arthritis, joint stiffness, and compromised mobility.
  5. Osteopathic preparation and treatment optimize performance and competitive longevity in equine and canine sports. OAB treatment prepares tissues before the competition and aids muscle recovery following exertion, preventing and minimizing the incidence of more severe injury.
  6. OAB is highly effective in preserving the quality of life for an aging animal by helping reduce joint pain, strengthen the musculoskeletal system, and increase overall mobility. 
  7. Prof. McGregor is the only osteopath who has taught the OAB method to hundreds of animal health professionals, osteopaths, and the veterinary community for 40 years around the world.

What our students say...

Bethany Rice, USA
Equine Trainer
Student Int’l DipEO program

"I love the results! It’s fascinating to be able to start seeing the areas of dysfunction in a more clear and more educated way. Instead of “something just isn’t right,” I’m starting to be able to say “this specific thing isn’t right.” Then influence it into better functionality. My training clients are thrilled. This is doing what I’d hoped, enabling me to fill the gap between training issues and veterinary treatment. I’m looking forward to becoming increasingly proficient in applying OAB treatments."

Niven E.
Dog Owner
Wales  UK

"Stuart has treated my dogs for the past 24 yrs, two of which had various long term problems with mobility and digestion. He used a variety of gentle methods, and all 3 of the dogs absolutely loved his treatments. As they aged, the first two needed regular attention and he helped to keep them mobile for much longer than they would have been without his treatment. Now he's helping my 6 yr old with a leg problem which recurs from time to time. She can't wait to see him and almost bounces out afterwards."