..The Intuitive Times
Complementary Therapies


The Holistic Profession of Osteopathy

By Dr. Pierre Bachand, DC, DO,.

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Chest-pain in a 70-year old patient disappears in 10 seconds, and does not return. A basset hound is spared back surgery (and his person spared a $2,000 vet bill) by one osteopathic treatment. A twenty-something woman bleeding for 41 days has her menses restored to normal after one osteopathic session. Miraculous?

The healing brought about through osteopathy may seem mysterious and magical, but it isn't hocus-pocus. Nor is it faith healing. I've seen wonderful healing in the most skeptical patients, and animals are not swayed by the placebo effect.

Let me state here that the above cases are among the more dramatic I‘ve experienced; whether I can help anyone depends on numerous factors, and the time required for healing varies widely. Osteopathy is a hands-on system of healing in the Vitalistic tradition, based on the belief that the body can heal itself, given the right circumstances and environment. "Structure governs function," stated A. T. Still, osteopathy's originator. As such, body parts must be structurally sound, in their proper position, and unobstructed, or the body will not function correctly. Structural problems can be obvious...a sprained ankle will prevent normal walking, - less obvious - tension in the pericardium resulting from a blow to the chest may produce heart palpitations. Osteopathy is the detection and removal of these "obstacles" to normal function, using a wide variety of hands-on techniques, including HVLA (high-velocity low-amplitude) thrust techniques, soft-tissue, visceral manipulation, and cranial osteopathy. Cranial-sacral therapy is becoming widely known, yet few realize it's actually part of the osteopathic repertory; the originator of cranial-sacral therapy was Dr. W. G. Sutherland, an osteopath trained by Dr. Still himself.

How does one discover what's going on inside? An osteopath's hands are sensitive instruments, able to detect subtle abnormalities in bodily structures. A refined knowledge of anatomy is essential, as the osteopath must "see" what he is feeling in order to assess what is going on. An osteopathic assessment is not a medical diagnosis, - as the patient often already has this (e.g. "tennis elbow","sciatica". Rather, osteopathic assessment is descriptive of what is - tension, immobility, rigidity, displacement - the structures involved where the source of the problem lies.

Osteopathy is holistic, treating people, not symptoms. The patients history and present condition - mental, emotional, spiritual and physical - is taken into consideration during consultation and treatment. Social, environmental, and lifestyle factors are also weighed.

In these days of patient-directed healthcare, patients are responsible for choosing a qualified therapist or doctor. "By their fruits shall you know them" is a helpful maxim to keep in mind. Talk to people who have seen the person in question. Investigate the practitioner's qualifications. Is there a registry or association to which he belongs? An osteopath should have completed an osteopathic program of several years of study. Attending seminars annually definitely furthers professional growth, but does not replace the systematic foundational studies in principles and techniques of osteopathy as a holistic therapy.

Dr. Pierre Bachand, DC, DO, can be reached at (902) 527-2662 in Halifax & Bridgewater, NS and (902) 628-1623 in Charlottetown, PEI.

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