”Stillness is not the absence of motion but rather the absence of resistance” ~ Adyashanti
The primary (soft touch) method of treatment used at Dunsborough Osteopathy aims to activate a patient's own self-healing capacity - and this involves 3 essential steps. Our clinic also utilises an anti-gravity treatment method that is purely mechanical and aims at rapid pain relief - this is less of a wholistic method, and as such less of what is described immediately below is relevant.
The first step of ACCEPTANCE, involves clarifying exactly what is happening inside a patient's body (in a way that the patient themselves is unable to achieve); yet not trying to change or influence things in any way. It is well understood that mirror neurons of empathy within the brain, allow a patient's self-awareness to expand through the presence of an objective observer (therapist) - in Osteopathy this is achieved with hands upon the patient.
The second step involves FINDING THE HEALTH present within a person's body, which is the engine room for generating therapeutic change. The Health is found in the place one is least likely to look: within the depth of Stillness. Stillness is the doorway to the Health - yet one must also wait there until the Health arrives to direct the treatment. When it does, it is experienced in a deeply personal way that is difficult to express in words - unconditional love and gratitude is probably the closest. The ability to find the Health within a patient, requires a particular Osteopathic hands-on training - the ability to find that which the mind habitually passes over. A natural receptivity is also important: for if the mind is closed, the Health is unlikely to be found - and this applies to patients as well (they are just as important in this process). The Health can be hidden anywhere either inside the physical body, the bio-electric field surrounding the body, or even further afield.
The third and final step essentially looks after itself - the body's self-healing mechanism now has expanded self-awareness (from step 1) and increased vitality (from step 2), enough to generate the MOTION necessary to kick-start a therapeutic change - the Osteopath then supports this unfolding process. Depending upon a patient's sensitivity, the therapeutic process may or may not be felt as movements occurring inside the body, as the Osteopath rests their hand lightly upon the surface (whether a patient feels any change makes no difference to the final outcome). In the end, the proof is in the pudding: when an improvement in symptoms occurs as a consequence of seemingly no external intervention, the general response is 'I don't understand how it works, but it works for me and that's all that matters'.
David has a particular interest in Deep Fascial Release; especially when combined with other Osteopathic treatment methods. This approach to treatment has been used to great effect within the Osteopathic Medical profession for over 70 years. This treatment method utilises a US designed therapeutic devices (which generates a wide variation in mechanical percussive frequencies) to soften the deep fascias and activate a therapeutic response from deep inside the body. This therapy also compliments David's other treatment methods; which include Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy; Breath and Awareness Activated Muscle Energy Technique; Anti-inflammatory Poultice application, Lumbo-pelvic Decompression; and the very occasional spinal and other joint manipulation.
With a sensing hand placed upon a patient's body and dialing through fine graduations of frequencies with the other, David is able to feel a softening within the deep fascias of the body as inner tissue resistance is overcome. This therapeutic response occurs when the mechanical frequency matches a perfect harmonic resonance within the tissues. With the perfect frequency, the deep fascias 'dissolve' and the body releases unwanted tension from the inside. An intuitive touch assists in locating the correct regions to be treated; like peeling layers off an onion; each will release individually, and only when each is ready to let go. As the deep fascia progressively relaxes in response to the unraveling sequence of locations and frequencies, the nervous system begins to deeply relax. The benefits associated with this treatment this method (like any other), is governed by a practitioner's experience in the field.
Osteopathic practitioners assist in finding the health present within a patient's body, and will work towards removing those barriers or impediments to it's natural expression (an Osteopath will first find the region of the body that feels the best, and will help this to grow). This is in contrast to a practitioner being guided by symptoms (or firstly naming a disease process), and then working towards suppressing these symptoms. This is the essential philosophical difference between the practice of Osteopathic Medicine and Allopathic Medicine.
WHAT IS DEEP FASCIA?
Deep fascia (or 'investing fascia') is a fibrous connective tissue that interpenetrates and surrounds (both inside and outside of) all muscles, bones, nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels, including all organs within the body. It also constitutes joint capsules, ligaments, tendons and all other fascial layers that create structural integrity and functional capacity within the body. In other words, deep fascia is the substance that holds the body together and creates stuctural form; it also allows these structures to function as an integrated whole. Collagen protein (the plastic element of fascia) determines fascial tensile strength and integrity, and the amount of elastin (the elastic element) determines it's extensibility and resilience.
Fascia is richly innervated by nerves and their sensing receptors. These receptors report information to the brain about pain perception (nociception); change of movement (proprioception); change in pressure and vibration (mechanoreceptors); change in the chemical mileau (chemoreceptors); and fluctuations in temperature (thermoreceptors).
The deep fascia has an intimate relationship to all mechanical structures of the body, and so directly influences their function; it also mechanically influence blood, lymphatic and cerebrospinal fluid circulation; and affects the brain directly via a hard wired connection of the nervous system. All of these interconnections mean that deep fascia has a significant and far reaching influence upon the body as a whole, and the body's capacity to remain healthy.
THE PIEZOELECTRIC EFFECT
The Peizoelecric effect refers to the ability of certain materials to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress. Both bone and fascia have this capacity to generate an electric charge. Within bones, this electrical charge is what guides the remodeling of bone (through osteoblast and osteoclast cell activity), and is the reason why exercise under the effects of gravity will increase bone density. This is also the same mechanism by which the deep fascias can remodel themselves (lay down fibrosis) when under constant strain.
With the therapeutic application of a mechanical therapeutic frequency (of rhythmic compression and release), the fascias of the body will also generate an internal electrical charge. It is this electrical charge that creates a magnetic field, and it is this magnetic field that amplifies the body's own therapeutic response to treatment. In addition to this, the mechanical energy contained within a chosen therapeutic frequency will engage a region of restriction, and unlock the plastic element of the fascia (explained in detail below) which holds the tissue memory. In the case of softening plastic tissue memory, the elastic forces held within the strain pattern will then dominate, and the body will spring back and return to normal structure and function.
CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS OF THE DEEP FASCIA
An Osteopath's sensing hands are able to distinguish the difference between normally functioning deep fascias, and those that have been affected by a history of stress and trauma. An Osteopath tests for alteration in body position and movement, also variations in tissue tone, texture and tenderness, heat of acute inflammation/cold of a chronic problem, and the sense of general irritability within the nervous system. These observations give the Osteopath a clear picture of where a mechanical problem exists, and to what extent the rest the body has also been affected. The clearer the understanding of a problem, the less physical force that is required in resolve it. Treatment therefore involves 90% listening with feeling and seeing fingers, and 10% doing: this is the key to achieving the deepest possible result with least amount of physical force.
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF DEEP FASCIA
More recent empirical research has shown that deep fascia is able to respond to sensory input by contracting (via myofibroblast cells); by relaxing; or by adding, reducing or changing it's composition through the process of fascial remodeling.
The body's natural fight/flight stress response has also been shown to generate contraction within the fascias (via activation from the nervous system, circulating stress hormones or both), and this allows for an increase in both body strength and resiliency. In times of extreme physical or emotional danger, this acute stress response within the deep fascias of the body is nature's way of improving a person's chance of survival. In circumstances of chronic ongoing stress however (more prevalent in modern societies), this mechanism of fascial contraction actually becomes maladaptive with physiological changes that actually compromise long term health.
Fascia demonstrates elastic and plastic properties. Elasticity allows the fascia to bounce back after a physical force is applied. This can be demonstrated when someone jumps from a height and the elastic nature of the deep fascia (like an elastic band) will absorb some of the blunt impact force of impact; the elastic will then recoil back to it's original shape. Plasticity on the other hand is associated with the fascia's tensile strength. Under normal circumstances, plastic does not stretch. If however the plastic is heated it can then be stretched. If then cooled again, it will greatly resist returning back to it's original shape. Plasticity within the fascia can occurs in such circumstances as a car accident (or other blunt force injuries), where the kinetic energy of an impact effectively melts the fascia, and the 'shape' of the accident is retained as tissue memory. Plasticity also occurs with the pull of gravity in chronic poor posture, where the plastic will eventually fatigue and stretch. The mechanism by which physical force can 'melt' fascia has been shown to be dependent upon the mechanical properties of the cellular matrix (or ground substance) within the fascia itself - it's ability to turn from solid to liquid and back to solid again, once a certain threshold of force has been reached.
The tissue memory of past physical injuries are locked within the tensile plastic element of the deep fascia, and these are resistant to further change. On the other hand, the elastic element of the deep fascia still holds the memory of it's original shape (prior to injury), and will be actively trying to bounce back again. Tissue memory therefore is a holding pattern between opposing plastic and elastic forces. Osteopathic frequency treatment therefore aims to soften the resistant plastic element, and in so doing release the potential energy of the elastic element. The resultant therapeutic response assists in a return to normal structure and function. Interestingly, when an old trauma embedded within the deep fascia is released, the tissues will at times get very hot. This is the result of both an increase in blood flow, and the conversion of original kinetic energy of injury (stored within the body as elastic potential energy) finally released as heat. As we know, energy never disappears, it just gets converted from one type of energy to another.
Chronic emotional stress is also locked within the tensile plastic element of the body as tissue memory, but this occurs via a different mechanism. Under constant (stress induced) contractile tension, deep fascia has the ability to remodel itself; or in other words the fascia will lay down more collagen (scar tissue). As the deep fascia becomes more fibrotic, it also becomes more rigid; this rigidity affects circulation/drainage in the region and will stress the living tissues that require oxygen and the removal of toxins to stay healthy. This additional physiological stress feeds back into the nervous system via the now increasingly stimulated deep fascia sense receptors. Because of stress induced scarring within the deep fascia, a person begins to gradually lose their capacity to relax all together, simply because their nervous system has become over stimulated (not only from outside stresses of life, but also from physiological stress from within their own body).
Likewise when the body's deep fascias sustains a significant imprinting physical injury (such as a fall, concussion, car accident or lifting injury), if this injury is left unattended and allowed to become a chronic pattern, it too will be further reinforced with scar tissue, and the same cascade of physiological responses will be the result..
The good news is that if deep fascia can be 'heated up' enough (with the correct frequency) to release the tissue memory imprint held within the plastic, the elastic aspect of the deep fascia will then be allowed to spring back to normal shape, and the traumatic pattern will be resolved.
It is worth keeping in mind, that as human bodies get older, there is a natural reduction in elastin fibres, and an increase in collagen fibres (we naturally develop proportionately more fibrosis/scar tissue as we get older). This essentially means that we don't bounce back from injury quite the same as we did when we where younger, and likewise as we age, treatments take longer to get the result we are looking for.
Chronic contraction and fibrosis within the body deep fascias adversely affects the local mechanical functions of muscles, joints, bones, nerves, blood, lymph vessels and organs, and also local and 'downstream' effects upon fluid and nerve functions (fluid congestion, lack of oxygenated blood and altered nerve supply).
The receptors within deep fascia are intended to provide feedback to the brain about body position, movement and threat to the tissues, and this works particularly well when the body is functioning normally. When the deep fascia holds the chronic imprint of a traumatic injury however, these sensing receptors work to create maladaptive responses within the body, that begin the compromise a person's health. Stretched fascia within the elastic element of a traumatic imprint is constantly under load, and this force stimulates pressure and stretch receptors within the deep fascia. This information being sent to the brain informs that the body is trying to move (when in actual fact it isn't). The brain (and spinal cord reflexes) will try to counter this perceived (agonist) attempt at movement with antagonist muscle contraction. Local muscle tension will result in localised mechanical imbalance, and this in turn will result in a compensatory reaction throughout the entire body as it attempts to equilibriates to the effects of gravity; a dysfunctional pattern within the body that adds additional stress to the nervous system. Likewise, chemical receptors within the deep fascia will begin to alert to the build up of toxins and change in pH as a result of reduced fluid flow within the region. Pain receptors within the deep fascia will also alert to the presence of any tissue injury (when the force of injury has exceeded the plastic/elastic tolerance of the deep fascia and other tissues). An inflammatory process that is unable to resolve due of lack of drainage and therefore fluid congestion, will become chronic and continue to send alarm signals to the brain. All of this stimulation from different quarters has an ongoing and significant over-stimulating affect upon a person's nervous system, and begins to trigger a feedback loop which progressively worstens the situation (instead of fixing it).
Tension and fibrosis within the deep fascia will result in an over-stimulation of the deep fascia sense receptors (which activate when the fascia is in trouble), this in turn increases stimulation within the nervous system. Stimulation within the nervous system trigger a further contraction of the deep fascias. This additional tightening of the fascias creates an ongoing tension-stimulus-tension feedback loop which continues until the person eventually begins to experience marked loss of movement and significant pain.
Myofascial pain is a further progression; a feedback loop that activates between the deep fascia, the nervous system and the muscles of the body. Acute muscular spasm with pain, subsequent inflammation and trigger points will exponentially add to the pain and immobility experienced by someone with a deep fascia problem. When the fascias are in trouble, the nervous system will tighten the muscles in the region as a protective measure (which under normal circumstances helps the body to repair), but when the problem becomes chronic this muscle spasm becomes maladaptive. When a pain-spasm-pain feedback loop becomes established, it is followed by a cascade of other effects that compromises long term health.
It is worth keeping in mind also, that without a nerve supply a muscle initially behaves like a piece of flaccid steak in the supermarket. It is clinically helpful to understand how dysfunction within the deep fascias can generate muscle spasm. The ultimate method of resolving ongoing pain is to find a fix the underlying problem.
The connection between chronic stress and heart disease, gut health, immunity and cancers are all well documented. An understanding of deep fascia physiology further highlights how unresolved physical trauma and emotional stress, has the potential of generating long-term physical health problems.
The response within the fascia to both emotional stress and physical trauma therefore is the beginnings of a self perpetuating and expanding pattern of whole body dysfunction. If this dysfunction remains unresolved within the body, it will slowly progress through a series of stages including; movement restriction, pain and illness, then decades later disease and final decline.
OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF THE DEEP FASCIA
Being checked over a minimum of 3-4 times a year as preventative maintenance treatment is most commonly recommended, after-all the human body is just like any other machine and will accumulate wear and tear. Resolving stress and injury promptly (when it does happen), may avoid developing a chronic problem further down the track. If one does have a significant history of chronic stress and trauma, then of course finding one's health again may take some time. In an ideal world, a expectant mother's treatment before birth and a baby soon afterwards is the best of preventative healthcare, but for the majority of us, we don't have the option of turning back the clock. It is the intention of treatment however, to assist in reducing the physical effects of a traumatic past.
The light spectrum above (and explained in detail below) is a basic representation of the many complex functions present within the human body. The changes in colour (from Red, Orange, Yellow, Green etc) represent the increasing complexity of human dynamic function: with the physical body always being at the centre.
Consider turned this spectrum on it's end with Red at the bottom. The first and simplest Red building block is required to create a foundation of support for a more complex Orange element that sits above; and so on to Yellow in the same logical sequence all the way up to Violet. Without this graduation of Structural support from below, none of the more complex elements above would exist. On the flip side, each of the more complex Functional elements descending through the spectrum (starting from Violet) bring the essentials of Life to the less complex building blocks below. Without this creative intelligence descending from above, the lower elements would eventually disintegrate and return to their original base elemental state (returning to the earth as dust).
Such are the complex reciprocal inter-relationships between structure and function within the human body - and an explanation of the origins of Health.
"The body must function as an integrated whole, if it is to realise it's potential for Health".
Please now consider the elements of the Health Spectrum explained below, giving particular consideration to the relationships and inter-dependency between each of the adjoining elements.
Non-visible INFRARED: Quantum physics of subatomic particles
REDPhysical elements of the periodic table (C, Ca, Fe, H, O, Na. K, Mg etc): the building blocks of the various tissues of the body (bone, muscle tissue, connective tissue, neural tissue, epithelial tissue, fluid and fat etc).
ORANGE: Body organs and systems (such as the musculoskeletal system, brain and peripheral nervous system, heart and circulatory system, skin, respiratory, renal, digestive, reproductive, hormonal and immune systems etc). * When functioning optimally, the red and orange aspects are perceived by the Osteopath as a relative fast physiological rate of rhythmic movement within a person's body - all life contains movement. This movement extends from a person's centre to the boundary of the skin.
YELLOW: Consciousness: Primitive Brain (Autonomic control of body organs, and self-preserving emotions) and Homosapien Brain (Self-aware intentional movement, reasoned thinking, language and an individualised perception of self i.e. persona/ego). * An Osteopath can perceive the prickling buzz of the sympathetic fright/flight nervous system out of balance inside a person’s body - stress is the origin of many diseases. Fascilitating parasympathetic resting/repairing function is key (which happens naturally when when there is integration into colours above and below).
GREEN: Soul: The ‘engine room’ of one's individual self. Character that is deeper than personality. A contextual awareness of ‘Self’ and ‘others’ that utilises symbolism rather than analytical thinking, and often functions beyond conscious awareness. A capacity for deeper decision making, attachments, purpose and meaning in life. Physiologically expressed as a living bio-electric field (fluid body) surrounding and guiding the physical body - contains the original blueprint of all physiological functions listed above. * When functioning optimally, this aspect is perceived by the Osteopath as a medium rate of rhythmic movement within a person's body. This aspect of physiology extends from a person's centre to the boundary of their bio-electric field.
BLUE: Community, relationship or any immediate supportive environment: Group or tribal support, work or home environments that support (or undermine) the individual. Negative relationships or environments will compromise overall Health.
PURPLE: Nature: Every human being is an integral part of nature, and is reliant upon it’s relationship and support. * When functioning optimally, this aspect is perceived by the Osteopath as a slow rhythmic rate of movement within a person's body. This 'Long-tide' extends from a person's centre to the horizon.
VIOLET: Spirit: A Central Stillness. The place from which all movement arises - in order to change directions one must first know what it means to be still. A doorway to a greater presence within oneself (Higher Self). The driver and creative presence of one's life (as opposed to the engine room of the soul), that is characterised by freedom of movement and a decentralised non-attachment to all things (The individualised "me" and "I" is replaced by the perception of an inseparable "One"). This element is an indispensable aspect of treating babies, children and during pregnancy, and is a common foundational knowing in indigenous cultures. * When functioning optimally, this aspect is perceived by the Osteopath as dynamic stillness (where the regular senses no longer function). This Dynamic Stillness extends from a person's centre to beyond the horizon.
WHITE: God Consciousness/enlightenment (a coalescence of all colours within the spectrum).
* It is worth mentioning that as Westerners, we are more familiar with seeing Red as the most important material element of this spectrum. Both indigenous and other cultures might consider the Violet end of the spectrum more concrete and meaningful in their experience.
"The objective of the doctor is to find health, anyone can find disease" ~ Dr A.T. Still (Founder of Osteopathy 1876)
Thankfully, no health professional has to be perfect themselves in order to assist in your journey towards Health. They simply need to have found their particular gift in their chosen field. Is is then your job to choose a practitioner who can help bring Health into greater expression within you. You may be looking to find Health, or you may simply want to get by. Either way, Osteopathy is available to help.
If finding Health is a priority for you (we hope it is), it works best to not get too hung up on “trying” to find it. Don’t worry, Health is always present; and it will find you.
The above description of the Health Spectrum is over-simplified for the purposes of clarity - and gives little explanation of how Osteopathic treatment might actually help. Following the next link on the homepage will offer further explanations.
"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.
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" ~ Albert Einstein
* The following brainwave information has been adapted from 'Brainworks Neurotherapy' London.
"At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviours is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronised electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions (below), but are best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness; from slow, loud and functional - to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes - the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics".
In the field of Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy, different levels of physiological function are also described in terms of different frequencies - and these are perceived through sensing within the body. One might describe these in terms of the ocean and it's different qualities and attributes: such as crashing waves upon the shore (with blunt physicality), the tide that slowly comes in and out (but with an enormous strength to lift), a deeper stillness and beauty (that influences our deeper self in a way that physical force cannot achieve), and so on.
"Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert.
The descriptions that follow are only broad descriptions - in practice things are far more complex, and brainwaves reflect different aspects when they occur in different locations in the brain.
Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves.
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials), are thought to be the basic cortical rythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature make them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to take a major role in brain timing and network function.
Delta waves (.5 to 3 Hz)
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
Theta waves (3 to 8 Hz)
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff’, our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
Alpha waves (8 to 12 Hz)
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts, and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.
Beta waves (12 to 38 Hz)
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity. Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12-15Hz) can be thought of as a 'fast idle', or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15-22Hz) is high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22-38Hz) is highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
Gamma waves (38 to 42 Hz)
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest of brain waves (high frequency, like a flute), and relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. The most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma. Gamma was dismissed as 'spare brain noise' until researchers discovered it was highly active when in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues’. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness, and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness".
Dunsborough Osteopathy utilises a frequency based method of treatment. These frequencies vary from 70Hz to 3Hz (theta/delta transition): and by mechanical means, the patient is gently encouraged down to a deeply restful state; then the practitioner themselves takes over and deepens the process even further still. This therapeutic method both unlocks and releases the deep fascias of the body (as described in the 'Fascia' portion of this website), but also incorporates the principles of 'entrainment'.
In 1666, Christian Huygens, a notable Dutch physicist and inventor of the pendulum clock, demonstrated how 2 pendulum clocks placed on the same wall will naturally come into phase. This occurs because a subtle transfer of energy occurs between the clocks and this sets up a regular interference pattern. Likewise, when the human body comes into contact with a regular rhythm of any of the above mentioned frequencies, the brain itself will adjust to match that rhythm. As a consequence, the use of a frequency based method of treatment, has both a mechanical influence upon the body, and also a neurological one.
The ultimate objective of Osteopathic treatment, is to awaken and activate the self-healing capacity that is already present within a patient. Most often this is achieved by relaxing and slowing a person's nervous system down, until a latent potential awakens within. As far as daily life in concerned, someone maybe able to remain deeply calm within themselves (and even feel a spiritual peacefulness), even during periods of great stress and mental activity. It is possible that the slower frequencies mentioned above are associated with an increasing capacity for self-healing, because they allow the deeper functions of the body as a whole to reveal themselves (as the white noise of active brain function subsides).
Considering Einstein's quote above: it is true that a lot of people's problems today are a consequence of their modern lifestyles, and ambient stress. Our body’s physiology is not adapted to coping with the stress of a modern life (stresses that over time become normal, and seemingly nothing out of the ordinary), and this impedes the body's own self-healing and self regulating mechanism. If a practitioner is working towards achieving a lasting meaningful therapeutic change, and discussed sports, politics or life events with a patient whilst treating, this has the potential to impede a patient's progress. The objective of treatment is to quieten the mind (and it’s tendency towards activity), and open a doorway to a person’s greater inner potential.
Language is an extremely powerful tool in treatment, and can be used to assist in distracting and calming the mind. Over the course of a treatment, conversation can be used to distract from immediate problems, to evoke memories and images and gradually brings a person down to a relaxed state. Eventually the objective is to abandon the mind's activity all together, and open the door to a deeper therapeutic potential.
For those patients who have got stuck in the habit of functioning at a faster rate in their lives (at the exclusion of other aspects within themselves), it is incumbent upon them to arrive at their appointment with a willingness to slow things down, and to be receptive to their own greater potential.
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 in Allo-pathy, the name given to Western medicine). So it is that Osteopathy has little to do with naming bone diseases, and everything to do with feeling for Nature's inner expression of Health. This is the origin of the name Osteopathy.
"The objective of the doctor is to find health, anyone can find disease" ~ Dr AT Still (Founder of Osteopathy 1876)
Osteopathic Medicine involves feeling for restrictions within the deeper tissues and organs of a body - and gently manipulating these structures towards normal function. By 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.
Dr Still was a frountier doctor and surgeon, who was Union surgeon in the American civil war. His father was also a doctor and methodist minister, and Dr Still's early years where spent in Indian reservations. Because of his time spent in areas untouched by western civilisation, knowledge of the native Indian language and an immersion in their culture - Dr Still developed a profound appreciation for nature, and our place within it. The native Indian health treatment included spinal manipulation. Of course, an exposure to Christian philosophy and teachings and his knowledge of anatomy as a surgeon, all combined and formed the basis for what was to become the future Osteopathic profession.
For the past 140 years, Osteopaths have been taught to feel and listen with their hands, to treat each patient as a unique individual and to perpetually learn from their patients. Instead of applying a 'technique', 'system' or 'recipe' approach to treatment, they would develop their knowledge on a daily basis by listening to and learning from the human body itself. Osteopathy therefore has been a productive profession in a creative sense, with a great many different approaches to treatment within the single profession. There are a great number of original Osteopathic methods of treatment that have been adopted over the years into other health professions.
Examples of treatment methods that originated within the Osteopathic profession include Craniosacral Therapy (Cranial Osteopathy), Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy), Muscle Energy Technique, Positional Release (Strain/counterstrain) and Bowen Therapy; and there are others that still remain soley with the Osteopathic profession.
By way of observation, once a 'treatment method' is removed from the vine, it tends to stay (more or less) that size and shape thereafter. Osteopathic training is known for applying the essential principles of Osteopathic Medicine, and not focussing 'techniques'. These essential principles allow the different methods of treatment within Osteopathy to grow and emerge over time (as Osteopaths continue to dig and explore), and for individuals within the profession to develop their own unique approaches to treatment.
There are a variety of treatment methods within the profession of Osteopathy - each adhering to the 3 primary Osteopathic principles of Wholeness ('The body is a unit'), Vitality that arises from Intergration ('Structure and function being reciprocally inter-related'), and Natural Self-Healing ('The body has a Self-healing and Self-regulating mechanism'). Osteopathic treatment methods are also described in terms of being either 'Structural' or 'Functional' - the difference between these are explained below.
A STRUCTURAL approach views the human body as a machine, and looks to achieve therapeutic change with gentle mechanical force: using the bones as leverage, to alter or influence all other tissues: muscles, joints, ligaments, fascia, nerves, organs and fluids of the body (hence the name 'Osteo' (bones)-pathy (feeling). Different body parts are created within nature, to resist compression, distraction and to perform a unique function - and this predetermines the nature of their structure. Nothing in the body exist without a reason. Any alteration in body structure away from this originally intended perfect design (generally as a result of trauma) will alter it's mechanical characteristics, and so also the way it functions. The body is an interconnected whole: so any movement lost in one region will either affect, or be accommodated for elsewhere. Treatments therefore aim to decompress any of those physical elements which have become abnormally tight: this in turn reduces the mechanical, circulatory and/or neurological strain placed upon other interrelated regions.
A FUNCTIONAL approach views the story behind the human machine - and looks to achieve change through cooperating with the body's own indwelling awareness and self-healing capacity. By way of examples: In the field of Neurology, it is understood that when a person has a limb amputated, awareness of a phantom limb still remains. Further in the field of Prosthetics, it is observed that amputees can effectively walk again, only when their phantom limb (function/body awareness) is still present and becomes integrated with a new artificial limb (structure/anatomy). A person's whole body will then trust that the artificial limb is exactly where they feel it to be . Further, in the field of Functional Neurology, experimental research using virtual reality (to deceive subjects into believing they are moving their painfully restricted necks in rotation far less than they actually are), find that subjects are able to achieve previously unthinkable increases in pain-free range of motion. This research indicates the importance of the phantom/awareness/functional aspect of the body - where body awareness can influence body structure, without any structural problem being present.
The FLUID BODY is an important aspect of Biodynamic Osteopathic treatment, and is perceived as an egg shaped field surrounding the physical body. The 'Fluid Body' as the name suggests, has characteristics similar to protoplasm (refer to the 'Video' section for details): which can change shape, position, tone, texture and hold an image or imprint of function: depending upon various environmental influences. Whereas the Physical Body is affected by the accumulation of physical trauma, the Fluid Body is affected by other environmental influences such as positive (expanding) feelings of love, safety and security, supportive home and work environments, time spent in nature, spiritual practice, or negative (constricting) effects of stress, shock, poor food choices, drugs, toxins, disease states and metabolic stress. A healthy and actively expanding Fluid Body (or Function) acts to support the physiology of the Physical Body (Structure). As an example, if someone experiences a stressful event that shakes their foundation in life, often the fluid body will retreat from their legs. That person will feel a sense of being ungrounded, with little sense of anything beneath their feet. Structure and function of the legs are no longer integrated, and the lower legs lose their natural vitality and lift. As a reaction to this ungroundedness, often a person's breathing diaphragm will tighten: the body's way of generating some compensatory stability - but this often results in the chest collapsing with restricted breathing, a subsequent reduction in fluid return to the heart via the lymph nodes, so increased congestion and decreased immunity, plus the possibility of back and neck pain or headaches though postural strain from a restricted chest - all the result of a single functional change in life. From a treatment point of view, the objective is to address the primary issue - that is to restore fluid body expansion, and then with gentle encouragement, the physical issues will easily resolve.
Deeper still beyond the structure and it's underlying function, is a CENTRAL STILLNESS through which the blueprint of a perfect body design emerges - a reminder of how the body was originally intended to be. It is this central orientation that brings stability, organisation, coordination and ultimately a self-generated therapeutic healing response. "Be Still and Know" ~ Dr William Sutherland DO (Founder of Cranial Osteopathy).
BIODYNAMIC CRANIAL OSTEOPATHY is a functional approach to treatment which considers any mechanical distortions within the body structure, functional alterations to the Fluid Body and a deeper centralising stillness (Blueprint). This expanded methodology of Cranial Osteopathic treatment is taught by Dr James Jealous DO. Embryological development, growth to maturity, and also the body's self-healing and self-regulating capacity are all governed by the deeper intelligence contained within each and every person. A Biodynamic Cranial Osteopath will notice various regions of mechanical restriction within a patient's body, but will then look to find a central stillness within (or doorway to the person's greatest potential. . The body has a self-healing mechanism already at work, in the process of trying to resolve a dysfunction in structure or function, but having got lost or stuck in the process . It is therefore the body itself which guides the Osteopath in an unfolding treatment process: and so with gentle assistance, returns to the point of structure and function becoming interconnected as a whole, and Health expressing itself as natural movement with the tissues.
The CRANIAL RYTHMIC IMPULSE (CRI) can be perceived as movements within the body of a patient when Structure, Function/Fluid Body and Central Stillness are integrated. There are different rates of movement, each associated with different levels of Structure, Function (and the more subtle aspects of physiology). These same rhythms of life are expressed within protoplasm (the same substance contained within cells), and so within all living organisms - see the Video section above for an experimental demonstration of this.
During TREATMENT an Osteopath feels and listens to a patient's body, with the aim of cooperating with the natural self-healing capacity already at work within. When one finds a therapeutic process within, that has lost it's way, very little intervention is required to re-initiate a therapeutic change. When a patient is asked by friends or family to explain their experience of Biodynamic Cranial Osteopathy, they will invariably say "I don't quite understand how it works, since my Osteo doesn't seem to do much: but it just works for me!"
OSTEOPATHY was founded in the U.S. in 1876 by Dr Andrew Taylor Still, a doctor and army surgeon. Today, U.S. Osteopaths have the same legislative practice rights as medical practitioners. Throughout the U.S. both Modern Medical (Allopathic*) Hospitals - as in Australia, and Osteopathic Medical Hospitals, each provide a full range of health services - from acute trauma and emergency medicine, to all specialist fields. Osteopathy also has an original specialist interest in Manual Medicine, and the self-healing capacity of the human body. In Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and throughout Europe, Osteopathy remain drug and surgery free - as it was originally intended to be..
* Allopathic means 'against disease'. Allopathic is the term used when referring to Modern Medicine: hospitals, specialists and GPs, whose treatments act directly against a disease process, with drugs, surgery etc. Osteopathic, means 'bone feeling'. Osteopathic ''feeling' manual treatments act to encourage the body's own self-healing capacity. Osteopathy is a complete medical system, that utilises the body's natural pharmacy within.
When guided by the presence of Health within a patient's body, therapeutic decisions aren't made purely upon the basis of which mechanical problems are found. Rather, one looks for the Health already present within the patient's body, expressed as a specific local region of increased vitality and activity. It is such a region that indicates a patient's own body's healing mechanism already at work, working to overcome the resistance of an issue needing to be addressed. The objective of treatment is therefore to work in harmony with a patient's own self-healing mechanism.
Treatment involves using one's hands to softly free-float that restricted region in question, enough to unlock it, and allow the patient's own healing mechanism to do it's intended work - fluid movement is then restored. The Health doesn't just stay in one place however, it shifts around the body as progressive layers fall away (such as the peeling of an onion). The practitioner must follow the Health, in order to ensure that a treatment unfolds in a sequence appropriate for that individual person. As a treatment progresses, the Health begins to encompass larger regions of the body, until the whole person becomes integrated - it is only then that a significant self-generating healing process begins. Natural Self healing follows Integration and Wholeness.
The most fascinating aspect of treating babies and young children (generally up to the age 2-3), is that mother and baby are interlinked to such a degree that they function as a Whole, almost as if a single person. When assessing a baby's body and one finds a mechanical and/or functional disturbance present there, Health/a therapeutic process won't always be present/conveniently at hand to fix that particular problem. Obviously in such a case, one would not consider treating the baby/child by forcing a therapeutic change, since their body would not be ready and adequately resourced for such a change. In such a circumstance one looks towards mum for the answers. When assessing mum as well, invariably the Health/a therapeutic process will be present there. The presence of a therapeutic process signifies, that mother is the priority in that moment. Once mother has been treated, the Health will then return to the baby (as it occurs when treating a single person's body also, where a layer is removed and the health then shifts to a different location, in this case it simply switches between mother and child) - the treatment can then continue for the baby, with all the resources necessary for a self-generated healing process. It is in observing this phenomenon, that one comes to appreciate the interconnection and Wholeness of a mother and child.
The greatest mystery of all, is that not uncommonly when treating a mother I.e. following the Health and allowing for a local release, expansion and integration to take place within her body - upon then re-assessing baby/child, it becomes apparent that the structural and/or functional disturbance that was present not 15 minutes prior is no longer present. The baby has returned to full perfect function without any direct treatment being necessary,
My explanation of how a mother might be treated, and a baby also responds without being touched, is that a baby has an instinctive hierarchy of needs when survival is concerned. The primary need of survival is that mother is available, whole and healthy. When mother is perfectly fine, the baby feels 100% safe, and so can be 100% present for their own inner needs - this includes having a sense of their own centre, an instinctive self-awarness, and so a natural activation of their body's self-healing mechanism. If a baby's attention is drawn to their mother, because they instinctively feel something isn't right, they will lose their own centre, and so their natural self-healing capacity will be impeded.
During Health focused treatment of a baby/child, therapeutic change occurs at the right timing, and in a sequence that ensures the necessary therapeutic resources are present to gently address mechanical/functional disturbance. As a consequence, treatments are always calm and gentle, and the number of treatments required to achieve an outcome is also far less than would otherwise be the case.
Following and trusting the Health in the treatment of babies, young children and mothers, is an intriguing and rewarding process, and incorporates the Osteopathic Principles of Wholeness, Integration and Natural Self-Healing.
Osteopaths above all else, use their hands to listen, will trust and be guided by a body's natural instinctive intelligence. Clinical results demonstrated over the past 140 years of Osteopathic Medical history are testament to the effectiveness of the body's own Self-Healing and Self-Regulating capacity.
The ideal time for preventative treatment is during the pre-conception period, as one prepares one's body for pregnancy. Treatments can also begin during pregnancy, and after birth also. Generally the earlier one begins, the greater the potential for Wholeness, Integration and an unimpeded Self-Healing capacity.
As previously discussed, the body is designed and intended to function as an interconnected whole. Yet this isn’t the case for the past majority of people. The simple act of living a human life under the effects of stress and gravity means that very few of us have an unblemished history. An accumulation of traumas of a great many types, eventually show themselves as restriction and imbalance within the physical body – and of course painful symptoms and degeneration are the final result.
The good news is that such symptoms provide the motivation necessary to unearth the Wholeness, Inner vitality and Self-Healing capacity that is retained within us.
When a person’s whole body begins to function in an integrated way, it is able to generate it’s own Antigravity.
So what is Antigravity?
In Osteopathy, Antigravity is termed Longitudinal Fluctuation. It is a rising vitality within the body, that is generated when the body is integrated and functioning as a synchronised whole. Within the body, the Longitudinal Fluctuation feels like a river running uphill through the spine, and it is that which assists in lifting (through body awareness) the spine as a whole, supporting the chest and neck, and expanding the head from the inside – all of which allow Osteopaths to do their work – utilising the body’s own (self-generated) internally opening and lifting vitality.
In this case, “The function of the Whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
This Antigravity element exists as a natural physiological function (or inner vitality) when the body functions as an integrated whole. The body remains asleep to this function, when it operates as many disjointed and unrelated parts (some regions compressed and inert, and others floppy and inflamed).
Humans have been living under the effects of gravity for over 200,000 years, and have developed adaptive physiology to accommodate and maintain an upright posture. Even after almost ¼ million years of living under the effects of gravity, perfectly open and upright posture is still normal for a human being – assuming that is, that a person is functioning as a complete and integrated whole.
In preparation for pregnancy and birth, this Antigravity is of great importance. When functioning as a whole, this internal lift within the body brings foundational support and a stabiising core strength. This internal stability is also essential for the latter ability to soften and disengage the pelvis, pelvic floor and diaphragm ready for delivery. The body will only every truly let go, if there is also genuine support present from within. There are many other physiological functions associated with baby positioning, engagement and the process of delivery that are influenced by midline (or core) organisation, but these are beyond the scope of this short blog..
Ultimately, Osteopathic treatment aims to bring a natural supporting Vitality to the Whole person, such that they can relax and let go from within, and so release their own Self-healing capacity. With a natural softness and transparency (instead of tension and inflammation), a pregnant woman will begin to glow with Health. This is one of those rare occasions in life when we are able to observe the same glowing Health that resides within us all, yet for the remainder of us, has been obscured through holding a lifetime of tension. Pregnancy is a precious period of time, and one that has a profound influence upon the yet to be born baby.
For anyone who has experienced the joy (or terror) of attending social dance classes, one will know exactly what it feel like to slowly rotate around a large circle of people, one by one dancing (or trying to dance) with the next person along - until one has experienced dancing with each person in the group.
The most striking thing that one notices when placing hands in the right position, is that every person in the group feels completely and surprisingly different! Some people feel tense and wound up like a spring, others are floppy and feel like a wet dish rag, some feel like elastic rubber, and others just have a mysterious and inexplicable sense of interconnected calm, that instantly put's one at ease. In some people, one can feel inside and through their body to the ground, and so one then has a really good sense of spacial orientation, for others, one can only feel half way down to the ground, or maybe can't feel anything but a layer of surface tension under one's hands: and so no capacity to sense how the person is moving.
For anyone that has asked the question, "What is an Osteopath", and "What exactly does an Osteopath do?", imagining for a moment what it feels like to put hands upon and dance with 20,000 people over a period of years. How might one's perception of the physical body change over time? Would you be able to tell more about the intricacies of a person's body, and how it interconnects and functions? By the time you have danced with your 15000th person, you have a vast library of past experience to draw upon, and you can recognise those elements that help a person to dance well, and those elements that contribute to a reduced capacity. When one puts hands upon a new person, one is able to anticipate problems, and either offer suggestions or perhaps make moves that have shown themselves in the past to help a person experience a greater sense of fluid interconnection and coordination within their own body.
With "Knowing, Seeing and Thinking Fingers", an Osteopath is able to place hands upon any person's body, and with a library of experience to call upon, sense to what degree that person's body has deviated from normal. A normal body is one that is fluid and transparent to the touch, and which incorporates Wholeness, Vitality and Natural Self-Healing.