Dem bones, dem bones…Osteopathy 

 Osteopathy is new to me. I’ve only ever been five times. It’s facinating. Founded by a Civil War physician, Andrew Taylor Still, it is widely accepted in Europe. Even though students have to study for five years and work on patients under the supervision of teachers for a year, Quebec doesn’t allow them to practice in hospitals or rehab centres. There’s a grudging acceptance of the discipline as “alternative” medicine. The idea is that the body can be helped to heal itself without drugs or surgery. Since I had a hip replacement with very good results eight years ago, I certainly have one foot ( literally) in the camp of conventional medicine. Still, I had heard wonderful things about osteopathy and decide to give it a try. Recently I overdid things at the gym, and had hopes that a treatment might relieve my discomfort. 

It’s interesting to read about the founding of the discipline. Still was the son of a doctor himself. Dr.Still senior was a devout Methodist and his son, the founder of modern osteopathy, was greatly affected by the death of his wife and children during an epidemic. His grief and concern for wounded soldiers he treated during the Civil War led him to develop his new medical approach.

Dr. Still believed spiritual and mental condition affected physical health. During treatment there can be a sort of ” holy hush” as the young practitioners gently probe, diagnose and effect treatment. For some reason I was reminded of the old man in the little Welsh town where I grew up. He was the ” medic” for rugby players and after an illness I was taken to Jack Laishun so he could ” heal” me. There was nothing scientific about it but he held back his head and his hands workd magic. “Laying on of Hands?”

My problem is most of the time I never even think about my body because it’s so well-behaved. I’m not very sporty so when I have aches and pains it comes as an annoying surprise. So, last Thursday I put myself in the hands of two young students at the local college. They defined my problem and manipulated my feet and right leg. I am very shy of my feet as I feel they are boney and ugly. However, our little vanities must fall under the wheel of science. Whatever gentle care I got certainly had good results. 

The skilled hands of the young osteopath on Thursday last almost brought me to tears. There certainly is an emotional and spiritual side to these treatments. Besides questions about physical health, patients are asked about their stress levels and emotional state. There is something very powerful about these treatments and for me and many others there is a sort of ” body logic” that works. 

Treatments can be pricy so I go to a college here in Montreal and let the fifth-year students practice on me. The price is right and, hey, I can run up and down stairs again!