My last post-graduation course was in Switzerland, Crans-Montana Swizz Osteopathic Clinic for Children 4th yearssecond course 29.1-1.2.2018. The whole course is 6 years and its about childrens osteopathy. It is held 3 times/year, lasting 4 days at a time from which 3 days is studying different subjects that are thought by few different teacher and one of the days is treating less fortunate children and their families with the osteopaths that are attending to the course. Most of the course are thought by Werner van der Camp, a certified biodynamic teacher. This was the case this time also. I am going to write about the thoughts that rose from his teachings.
Andrew Taylor Still founded osteopathy at the end of 1800. He lost many family members and was frustrated how much damage was done to the body with medication at the time. He wanted to know how Health functions. He believed in strong self-healing, self-regulating mechanism which could heal almost anything if it didn’t have any restrictions. His thought about health was revolutionary and straight quotations of his are used regularly within our profession. Osteopathy slowly built its place next to western medical science and fully won its groundings after Spanish flu. Before the time of antibiotics, osteopathic treatment that increased bodys immunity saved many people from dying to this disease. People started to get interested about the power of osteopathy. At first, osteopathy was actually mainly used in infectious diseases, with great success. (More about Dr. Still can be read from John Lewisis book From the Dry Bone to the Living Man.)
“Find it, fix it and leave it alone.” Is a common quote from Dr. Still. It has been interpreted in many ways. There is a conception of a lesion inside Osteopathy. This means an area or activity in the body that has been imbalanced from its original purpose. This makes it a term that includes many different problems in the body. It can mean an altered performance of the body due to physical trauma, illness based activity change in the body systems, or for example change due to overexertion. These days a common interpretation of this comment is that an osteopath is supposed to find this kind of lesion from the body, fix it and then the body is left alone in order for it to fix itself. Anyhow, it is an interesting thought to look at this quote in relation to other quotes from Dr. Still. “Finding Health should be the object of an doctor, anyone can find disease”. If this is a principle from where Dr. Still worked from, the former quote could be seen so that instead of focusing on the problem of the patient, the object of an osteopath would be to emphasize the Health of the patient (Find Health) (activating fluidflow, immunity and hormonal activity), from where the body is given space to act on the situation at the best possible way (fix it) and then let the body do the treatment (leave it alone).
“Body, mind and spirit are all interrelated.” A. T. Still. Western medicine, for a long time, has acknowledged the connection between mind and body. Meditation, calming your mind, is more and more on the surface and the effect of stress to your body has been a subject of discussion for a long time. Scientific research has been done about how mediation effects our brain (For example: Davidson, R. J., & Lutz, A. (2008). Buddha’s brain: Neuroplasticity and meditation. IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, 25(1), 171-174. PMCID: PMC2944261) and how stress effects our immune system (For example: Reed, R. G., & Raison, C. L. (2016). Stress and the immune system. Environmental Influences on the Immune System (pp. 97-126). Springer Vienna.). Dr. Stills idea was more versatile than this. He added soul to this equation. He was a religious man and he strongly believed that behind the power of the body and the mind is a higher power. Everyone can call this as they see most appropriate, whether it is God, Universe, Joy, Nature. Actually also Dr. Still used many different names. The more I learn about health, physiology, anatomy, embryology and about the soul, I am more and more certain that he really was right. If we would try to see Health without all these elements, it would be somehow short, at least for me. Treating the whole is acknowledging all of these.
Connection to nature, to society, to other people, connection to god feels as important as the balance in the body and the mind. I am sure you can recognize the feeling that takes over in a snowy forest, when sunlight is glazing through the thick layer of conifer branches and your body surrenders to a deep breath? Or that incredible joy that seems to find every corner of your cells when a baby is searching for your eye contact, with a great effort is able to create a sound and grands you with a huge smile full of light? These are all part of Health, part of our life’s wholeness. All of these are reasons for us to look at out own life from many different perspectives, especially when we are going through tough times. What is happening in my body? What is happening in my mind? What is happening around me? What choices do I make in my everyday life? Are these long relaxing breaths part of my everyday life? Am I able to feel huge glimpses of Joy, do I see the beauty of the world? Am I able to understand my body’s reaction in this situation? Is this situation related to last weeks fall and why was my body unable to handle the trauma that it caused? Why have I fell tens of times before and my body has been all right all the times before? Does my wholeness, my Health have too much to carry? Does it have enough time to reload itself, so that it could take on new challenges?
Your Health is a wholeness that is composed from your body, mind and your spirit. You are your unique self. You have a body that nobody else has. Your body has a history, its own experiences form past years. Your mind has a learned way of acting. Your soul enjoys happenings of your life. You daily nutritional choices have an effect on your body and mind. Everybody has a different daily routine. Health is a perfect wholeness. Your Health is constantly working as well as it can with the substance that it is given. Body has a pursuit for health. Self-healing, self-regulating system is constantly working, healing scratches on your skin, infections challenging your lungs, or that knee that you hit to the table. The object of Osteopathy is to support this mechanism trying to pay attention to the Wholeness as well as possible.