What is Holism, and what makes Osteopathy Holistic?


Holistic Osteopathy is about seeing the big picture, the entire context of a problem. It is about taking stress off the system, by balancing the posture, and improving the environment and lifestyle of the person. Let me explain…

We were all taught to see the body as many parts, and most of us think that when you sort them all out, the whole system will function better. I’m here to tell you that THIS IS WRONG!

That is how you fix a car, because a car has only one response to stress – it wears out! But in a living system, the parts are self-maintaining. Providing they have the resources they need and everything is in balance, they repair themselves. And here is the crux – they get their needs from the rest of the body. And the condition of the whole body determines how well any of the parts can be.

So when you get the whole system working in harmony, then the parts take care of themselves. It is completely the opposite to fixing a car. A car may be a complicatED machine, but it is not a complEX system. The body is a complex system, which means that feedback governs everything it does, and reaches into all structures and functions. The result is a state of dynamic equilibrium.

Confused? Put more simply, a car needs to be fixed, but living tissue needs a chance to fix ITSELF!

In theory, a car can go on forever, or as long as you are willing to keep replacing parts. It never actually dies. Once a living thing loses the coordination between all parts, that coordination can never be restored, and death is permanent. You cannot bring somebody back to life by replacing parts.

The basis of osteopathy is to maintain coordination between all structures and functions as completely as possible and for as long as possible. Many understand this, but not many know how to put this into practice. The best tool I have learned for this is called Total Body Adjustment, also known as General Treatment, originally described by an osteopath called John Wernham. The aim is to restore physical (postural) relationships of various parts of the body, while at the same time removing sources of stress from the system. And many patients find this a much more satisfying and successful way to do things, including me. I have been down the road of being treated through many specific adjustments: initially good progress was followed by a plateau, and eventually problems just went around in circles. I am a patient too, and General Treatment is what I go for now, every time.

The other aspects of keeping the system in good order are: 1) using it efficiently, effectively and safely (lifestyle); and 2) and putting in the right fuel (nutrition).

Good health!