After a thorough history is taken and any pertinent physical examination is provided, the patient will then lie down on the table, face up.
I am seated next to you with my hands usually underneath or over some part of the body. I will gently build tension in my hands, to support and allow the tissue to release.
I use very little force during treatment. I engage the inherent rhythmic fluid movement in the tissues to discover the way in which your body is holding tension, and support the tissues as they move towards freedom.
Your body is constantly seeking freedom and ease, on its own, every moment. I am merely augmenting its natural process. It is a participatory relationship. I am constantly learning what the patient needs, to establish health.
Dr. Rollin Becker would often say, “The patient is the physician, and the teacher.” It is the physician’s duty to listen and learn; to support and allow, so that an optimal state of health can be realized.
Dr. Sutherland said:
“Allow physiologic function within to manifest its own unerring potency rather than apply a blind force from without.”
And Dr. Still said:
“To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.”
I feel for restriction. I feel for freedom. I know anatomy. I respect the inherent wisdom within. I may lean into an area to hasten the process, but still the forces are very small.
The transformative process occurs through active listening. At each visit, I treat the whole person. To treat only the area of complaint, misses the point. To be effective I need to find where the “problem” actually lies. The symptoms may be in one location, but the “cause” often lies in another. It is for this reason that osteopathy is considered “holistic.”
I know when the treatment is finished because the tissues become quiet. There is a sense of smooth fluid continuity. The body has stopped fighting itself; it is congruous and resonant, without interference patterns. This is the principle of Functional Unity. It is the endpoint of each treatment, and the definition of Health.
Each treatment takes between 30 – 40 minutes.
The principles upon which treatment is based are constant. The intention to restore fluid continuity, balance, and freedom is universal. Each Osteopath, however, is unique in the quality of their hand contact and their style of treatment. Treatment styles may be as varied as a signature.
Osteopathic treatment alters the dynamics of tensions held by the tissues. You have been given the opportunity for a new baseline state. I recommend that all patients do their best not to create any physical or emotional stress for the first two days after each treatment. The following is a handout I give each patient at the end of their first visit: