The great trees of New Zealand grow by interconnecting their roots with the other dwellers of the forest.
When asked to explain Osteopathy I often feel challenged because it is not so much what we do but how we think about what is going on. Many patients report that osteopaths may do different things from each other but in a sense, it is the same.
Osteopathy is a way of thinking about the incredible resource that is the human body. How if respected it is self-regulating, self-repairing, self-protecting, self-developing. To do this it needs air, water, food, shelter, and community. Sometimes thing go wrong and people need the Skilled Interventions of Medicine or the Skilled Insights and Techniques of the Osteopath.
Mechanical Connections – Muscles joints bones and connective tissue.
Nerves Connections – External for muscles, skin etc and internal for organs.
Fluid Connections – Blood, Lymph drainage, hormones.
Breath Connection – oxygen from the air and every part of our body moves with breathing.
Mind-Body Connection – mindfulness, motivation, creativity.
It is helpful to think through the ways that the issues and tissues connect.
The osteopath thinks of the mechanics of a neck that is jammed up. The neck is connected to the diaphragm (a dome of muscle stretched between the ribs) that may be really tight. The person may have a tummy upset or a lower back issue.
Osteopathy is, arguably, the only system of health care that thinks this holistically about the whole person, through literally every “system” and tissue of the body (although, of course, there are undoubtedly individual practitioners from other disciplines who think along these lines).
To these I would add the Mind-body Connection. How we experience our bodies and our environment and how we use our brain to plan and control ourselves.
It is my role as an osteopath to think through these connections and to plan an intervention for the individual person.