"All Nature’s elements reside within the human body, as a perfect inter-relationship between form and function."
In 1876 Kirksville Missouri USA, the name "Osteopathy" was chosen to describe a new medical profession which was to have a special aptitude for "bone-feeling" - or using the hands to understand the relationship between all bones of the body, and everything else that is attached to (and influenced by) them. The Greek root word "Osteo" refers to "bone", and "path" refers to either "feeling" (as in em-pathy) or "disease" (as is Allo-pathy, the name given to modern medicine) . Osteopathy has little to do with naming bone diseases, and everything to do with feeling for Nature's inner expression of health.
Osteopathic Medicine involves feeling for restrictions within the deeper tissues and organs of a body - and gently moving these structures towards normal function. In returning them to a state of integrated structure and function, an Osteopath reveals the body's natural self-healing and self-regulating capacity. The final health outcome is a restoration of normal osseous (bone), articulatory (joint), ligamentous, muscular, fascial (connective tissue), visceral (organ), neurological, arterial, venous, lymphatic, immunological and cerebrospinal functions - the basic essentials of life.
Osteopathy is a receptive and holistic manual medical system, which considers that each individual has the structural and functional characteristics of body, soul and spirit. Each of these elements are inter-related and inseparable from one another, and so fall within the scope of Osteopathic practice.
At the very beginning of life, an egg shaped bio-electric field (‘fluid body’) is present to surround and guide the growth and development of the human embryo: this field contains the original blueprint of the body in it’s intended design. This same egg-shaped functional field continues to envelop the physical body structure and maintains it in health throughout adult life - by continually informing the physical form of it’s blueprint origins. Any departure from normal (an alteration in body structure), that continues to be enveloped by an instinctive self awareness (fluid body function) will result in a natural self-healing response. A split in structure and function, and hence a loss of instinctive self-awareness and self-healing, may then form the basis of future disease.
The ‘physical body’ is directly affected by the physical forces of injury: it absorbs the kinetic energy of impact, and retains this energy in the form of tissue memory. The ‘fluid body’ is similarly affected by trauma and can also hold a memory, but this occurs via an entirely different mechanism. The fluid body will change in size, shape, position and composition when there is acute or chronic emotional stress, shock, fatigue or perceived threat, also from nutritional and metabolic strain, and finally a relative absence of the positive attributes listed in the paragraph below. This deeply instinctive and aware fluid body (with well-established interconnections to nature and it’s environment, and most often functioning below conscious awareness of the mind), will respond like any other organism: retreating from perceived danger, and expanding when nurtured.
The fluid body positively responds (and expands) with such influences as gentle touch, patience, kindness, self-belief, unconditional love, peace, quietness, stillness, appreciation of beauty, trust, surrender, and a connection to both nature and a higher power of one’s own understanding. These elements bring an increasingly deep therapeutic leverage to a treatment process, since they awaken deeper levels of trust and therapeutic co-operation from within the patient’s own instinctive body. With a greater degree of inner vitality present, and an improvement in internal body awareness achieved through a practitioner’s therapeutic touch, the body resolves physical dysfunction deep from within. This is the essential mechanism to describe the spontaneous healing which can occur with the 'laying on of hands': a mechanism refined with anatomical precision within the Osteopathic profession. This greatly oversimplified explanation of hand-on bio-energetic Osteopathic treatment has been presented to assist readability - in truth, this approach to treatment entails 8 years of ongoing Osteopathic post-graduate education.
Problems can arise when the fluid body (function) no longer corresponds to body anatomy (structure). This process is clinically demonstrated when a person’s lower legs (for example, either through physical shock or a de-stabilising emotional trauma) experience the fluid body shrinking into the body’s centre and out of the legs all together (a phantom awareness otherwise revealed when a physical leg is amputated). With the absence of a supporting 'phantom' fluid body, a person's physical leg becomes relatively void in awareness (‘as if it wasn't really there’) and it therefore becomes more difficult to accurately control and stabilise it’s movements. In such a case of structural/functional misalignment, the body may find difficulty resolving the effects of physical trauma embedded within the leg itself (such as a swollen sprained ankle that won't heal even months later), since self-awareness precedes self-healing. Such a fluid body imbalance within a person’s legs also has significant implications for the rest of the body: which mechanically depends upon a symmetrical, stable and dynamic foundation from below. Any fluid body imbalance (whether it be localised, or throughout the body as a whole) impedes internal self-awareness and so the body’s own self-healing and self-regulating capacity.
”It is enough for me to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe and try humbly to comprehend an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifest in nature. ~ Albert Einstein
Observable physical asymmetry and imbalance held within the human body can actually arise from both physical, emotional and spiritual considerations. Whilst it might seem immediately obvious that physical trauma (or tissue memory held within the body for example) as a consequence of a physical injury would require a physical method of treatment to resolve, and a functional (stress based) trauma would require a fluid-body bio-energetic method of treatment: this assumption is not strictly correct. When the physical body (both structural anatomy and fluid body function are integrated as a whole, and there is unimpeded co-operation from the body's own self-healing mechanism), even the most subtle of interventions can generate an enormous degree of internal therapeutic force, more than enough to overcome and unlock the inertia of an embedded physical injury. The perceived necessity of a mechanical (manipulative) approach for treatment therefore, has more to do with an individual's personal affinity for a certain treatment method than the actual mechanism of injury itself.
The physical force required to achieve a beneficial therapeutic outcome in treatment, will be influenced by whether the body either resists or co-operates with the practitioner’s intervention. When both patient and practitioner approach the therapeutic process with the gentle attributes described 3 paragraphs above, then the body will actively co-operate, and a physical therapeutic result is achieved (seemingly miraculously) with little or no physical force being required. With a lesser emphasis placed upon these attributes, the body is more likely to resist therapeutic intervention, and a stronger manipulative approach is then likely required.
David’s priority is that patients receive the best possible care, and that treatments are chosen that best suit a person’s individual needs at that time. He makes a point of speaking to all prospective new patients prior to confirming an initial appointment. If it is firmly established that someone is specifically looking for a physical approach to treatment (with less focus upon the functional aspects of the body), then a different practitioner will likely be recommended. Alternatively if someone has an interest in preventative healthcare (that may incorporate the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of one's life), then this approach to treatment will be well suited to them.
For those patients who have an interest in such a holistic treatment approach, but historically have found difficulty relaxing and letting go within themselves: David will mechanically assist in relaxing the nervous system by releasing tension held within the deep fascias of the body (with a mechanical percussion frequency hammer made in the US). Sometimes we need a little extra help getting over the line: this is a familiar presentation in our Western Culture, where chronic ambient stress of modern living, a disconnection from Nature's calming influence and a material rather than inner spiritual orientation are commonplace.
Just 10 minutes from town, Dunsborough Osteopathy is nestled away in a peaceful bush setting with a winter creek flowing nearby. Osteopathic treatment applied in the presence of nature, helps people to more deeply relax.
Albert Einstein is quoted to have said that "no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it": and so it is that when treating stress and tension held within the body (accumulated from living a modern lifestyle), the objective is to leave the world that we know behind. In the presence of nature, one naturally begins the process of integrating structure and function within.
An Osteopath's inherent skill is in listening (with their hands) deep inside a person's body, and being guided by Nature contained within. David takes great care to keep treatments simple and precise, and allows plenty of room for the body's own self-healing capacity to do it's work.
David’s primary interest in practice is treatment before and during pregnancy, and mothers/babies after birth. For treatment of adults, his aim is to assist in the re-discovery of this same original health within, that shows itself as joyful vitality, lightness and freedom in movement.
"The spiritual health of a community is reflected in the laughter and smiling faces of it’s children. The adult's journey therefore is to re-discover this original health, for it is this that generates the power to heal."
The practice of Osteopathic Medicine is actually both a science and an art. Because of this, at some point (sooner than later as it happens) one abandons the need to understand, and opens oneself to learning something new (this seems like a paradox, but it is true).
Osteopathic treatment ultimately becomes an open and receptive process. All theories, explanations, justifications and ultimately the need to understand are all thrown out the window, and what remains is a completely blank canvas onto which images emerge and a treatment begins to naturally unfold - this is exactly what it means to be an artist. Osteopaths will observe and support a treatment as it unfolds, and then describe therapeutic outcomes in terms of observed structural and functional change. The anatomical science of Osteopathy is ever-present in the background, and informs of a continually expanding therapeutic landscape.
The more recent advent of evidence based medicine and the need for scientific proof will be discussed very briefly later on in this website. For the time being it can be said, that retail drug therapy lends itself very easily to this scientific method. Patient individuality being expressed in the form of unpredicatable and unexplained adverse drug reactions however, points to the possibility that drug therapy doesn’t have patient health as isn’t first priority. Scientific proof therefore is no guarantee of quality treatment.
Finding health within people (so that they might look after themselves) is a long held principle of Osteopathic Medicine, and a long term and sustainable approach to healthcare.
Osteopathy is a registered health profession with AHPRA (Australian Health Professionals Regulation Agency), and as such adheres to the same standard of practice and ongoing training requirements as GP’s, Specialists, Dentists, Psychologists etc.
Dunsborough, Western Australia
The human brain has developed a remarkable capacity for critical reasoning and problem solving; this is it’s essential strength, and it’s achievements are reflected in the positive elements of our modern society. The mind is characterised by a linear way of thinking , and thrives upon seeing things in terms of cause and effect. As a consequence of it’s linear and analytical nature, the mind also contains an essential weakness. This weakness arises from the mind perceiving itself as being seperate from other people and seperate from nature. The complex and interweaving connections that allow a human being to function as a whole (essential yet small part of a complex ecosystem and universe) are most often discounted when the mind cannot find immediate and obvious meaning. Without a perceived place in nature and the universe, the mind then pursues safety through (positive and negative) relationships with others, and through controlling (rather than listening to) nature. Much of this characteristic is reflected in the negative attributes of modern society.
Science has demonstrated the existence of “mirror neurons” within the brain, the ‘neurons of empathy’. Empathy is the capacity to feel what others are feeling inside one’s own body (mirror neurons therefore bridge the gap between thinking and feeling, the gap between people, and between ourselves and nature). Utilising mirror neurons to such a degree that they tip the balance towards feeling within a person’s perception, requires either a natural born affinity or a process of learning. As previously described, the name “Osteopathy” means “Bone Feeling”, or utilising empathy as a means of feeling deep within another person’s body, a process that continues to develop over years and decades of practice.
Westerners have little first hand experience of their own interconnection with nature (as more primative cultures do), nor of their own inner self-healing capacity. The information that follows, aims to explain the interrelationship between brain function and the self-healing process, and how to maximise the benefits of Osteopathic treatment.
"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it"