Osteopathy is the art of listening.
Our bodies are constantly regulating themselves in the face of our external environment. This process of equilibrium is the body using the all tools it has to maintain health. The body is always searching for health. Health is never a place to arrive at, but a continual process of balance.
When we are in pain, it means the tools we have to regulate ourselves are exhausted and our body is telling us. We get concerned, distressed, and often upset that our bodies aren’t working for us, but what we forget is that they are doing the best they can with the tools they have – they just need more help. This is where an osteopath comes in.
Osteopaths are trained to listen and uncover the sources of our disrupted equilibrium. By using our eyes and hands we assess the whole body to determine the problems that keep you from the best possible health.
What does a treatment look like?
An osteopath will first assess the body visually and hands on. The client is fully or partially clothed lying on a table for the majority of the treatment.
Treatment is done through subtle movement of tissues, organs, and bones. An osteopath works with the body to restore alignment and health. Osteopaths never force anything into place or override the needs of the body, you do not feel pain during the treatment.
How long does it take?
The first appointment is an hour and a half, each following is an hour. The beauty of osteopathy is that as blocks to health are removed, the body is then free to heal itself from the inside out. This is what Osteopathy’s “discoverer” A.T. Still referred to as the body’s inner physician.
Because of the body’s inherent drive for health, treatments can be spread out to give time for the body to heal. Usually one or two appointments within a week of each other is enough to get the process started, then follow up can range from a few more sessions spread out over the next few weeks or months, or a recommendation of regular monthly or quarterly appointments to help keep the body on track. Osteopathy is best used as a preventative tool.
It’s important to remember that while the pain might have appeared to show up overnight, it rarely has – unless direct trauma such as a fall or car accident is involved. It can take time to restore a true healthy balance to the body, and osteopathy seeks not to treat the symptoms, but the underlying causes of the pain. This approach can take more time, but gives the power back to the body to heal itself for good.
Healing the abusive relationship with our body
Worse than the divide between body and mind is the power struggle between them. Our mind feels it has the right to health, which is true, but it doesn’t listen to the body to achieve it. It imposes “healthy” things on the body and is surprised when the body doesn’t respond in kind. So kale is good for us, but is it good for YOU and what you need in this moment? What about that run when you are really tired? Just because the mind is sticking to the "healthy" routine doesn’t mean it is what the body needs in that moment.
When you take time to stop and listen to what the body really needs you are rewarded. The body no longer has to yell to be heard, and you get to live in harmony with what your body instead of constantly struggling to overcome it, or work in spite of it.
We are often afraid of what we might hear if we actually stop and listen, but you cannot truly start healing until you know exactly what tools body is asking for. Once you begin listening, you are engaged in the process of health – you are now healthy!! No longer is health something that you can “have” once you stop eating sugar, or finish that marathon, but you can be healthy the instant you decide to hear what the body needs and attend to those needs as best you know how. Only you have the ears to hear what your body needs. Everyone else can only guess!