What is Osteopathy?
Osteopathy is a unique and effective form of modern holistic health care that aids the patient's natural self healing and self repairing systems. To this end the osteopath learns to recognise and understand why the patient has not able to heal and repair after injury, just like we did when we were young. So whilst all patients want their symptoms relieved what they really need is the causes of their symptoms addresses. This is almost always some level of existing blend of tension in the body, mind or emotions that stops the natural ease of movement required for good natural healing and wellbeing. This tension is the manifestation of what we today call stress. It is why we have the term dis-ease.
For quite simply when we are in a stressed state the natural healing and regenerative processes and the immune system are turned down or off. By the time we are chronically stressed as so many people in the modern world are we do not regenerate and heal as we once did. That today most people are living their lives through the interface of computers and phones whilst sitting is only making it all worse.
My personal experience of over 20 years in practice is that the very gentle form of osteopathy known as cranial osteopathy is a great and effective way to address these issues because it so well suited to engaging with acute and chronic tension at the levels of the body, mind and emotions. Allowing the body, mind and emotions to relax to levels that have been described by patient in Wellington as, "better than a week in Fiji!" This is why one of the most common reason given for referred patients coming for treatment is that "he does magic!" Magic simply being what happens when the natural healing process are once again given full reign to express.
When we come to understand the true holistic nature of natural healing the question – what can an osteopath treat? Becomes more complex than a list of possible conditions. For it is always a process that involves the patient and the osteopath. Because the fact that one patient can stop getting headaches with treatment does not mean that all patients can, or at least not now. For many conditions require that the patient makes changes in their life situation or even their attitude to life if they want to let go of a current set of symptoms and move on with their lives. This is not always possible now.
Your First Treatment
When a patient comes for the first session we go through a case history to try and track down what has brought the patient to this point in their lives. This may be simple like they have lifted a plant pot badly on the decking, or it may be more complex involving stress at work and emotional tension. There is always time to look at and talk about what is going on.
Time is also allowed to examine how your body is currently able to move with a variety of very gentle motion tests. Sometimes it this also relevant to examine the function of the nervous system and other systems using special tests such as reflexes or muscle strength testing.
Treatment is usually started with you lying on your back. If you can't lie on your back then on your side. It is here that the key diagnostic work is done and where the real skill set of the cranial osteopath comes to the fore. For with experience it is possible to have an amazing level of awareness of the whole living space within the human body. It is this skill set that means that patients say things like "I have been coming to your practice for years but I still don't get what you do." With out understanding this skill set through experience it will always be challenging to understand this work.
Some patient feel lots going on in their bodies whilst lying on the couch and others feel next to nothing. Feeling the treatment happen is not essential to the process. Generally the more treatment people have the more you will come to feel and the more change that will happen.
Having a cranial osteopathic treatment is to engage with an ongoing physiological process in your whole Being. It is therefore more than just having a car wash that is over after you drive out. Most people feel a reduction in their symptoms during the treatment. Though many feel the main positive change over the next few hours, next day or next couple of days. The time frame seem more to do with the patient that the problem.
It is best to drink plenty of water after treatment to help flourish through whatever gets released in the body as it changes. It is also great to have an easy day after treatment especially if it is a rather deeper process going on. From the day after you should be able to return to normal life as the symptoms allow.
Frequency of Treatment
Most very painful lower back or neck pain problems might benefit from two treatments in the first week but usually treatment is weekly. How many treatments depends on the age and condition of the patient and the severity and how long they have had the problem. Hence some issues take 1-2 treatment where as others might take 3-4 or 5-6. Once the original issue is settled then there are many of a certain age who benefit from ongoing maintenance treatment. This can be from once a week to once a year so it is designed to fit into the specific dynamics of an individual in an individual life. Most patients are pretty good at knowing when it is that it is time for treatment. Either their headaches begin again, the neck get tight or they just begin to feel out of balance. Usually it is their habitual personal symptoms from dealing with the tension issues of their own modern life.