All living organisms can repair themselves if an injury occurs. If you take a moment to think about it, that’s quite amazing and very different from fixing your car or computer.
Modern scientific philosophy and medicine paints a picture of the human body as a machine. Anatomy is taught like the workshop manual of a car, and it lists all the parts and actions of these parts.
Even the immune system which is responsible for doing the repair is broken down into divisions like an army or chemical components in the case of inflammation. Mysteriously working knowing what to do and when.
The question is what drives this? What turns it on or off. How do we control this? Can we control this? And the big question is how do we turn the mechanism back on if it is not working?
Osteopaths know we don’t heal back pain. We are aware the person treats themselves. We just gently give space to the area of dysfunction (not just the arrea of pain) and allow it to move again.
What if this is not enough and no matter how many times you manipulation the joint or remove other areas of dysfunction to reduce compensation patterns the back pain remains?
Why do a small percentage of people stay in pain?
The body has lost its way, and can’t find the health or the path back to it.
So where is it and how do you find it again?
This is where looking at the whole comes in and “stepping back” to see the bigger picture.
Diet, core stability, exercise, stress management are all crucial, but what if the body can’t even make the change with all these other improvements going on? Or by adding these changes causes more stress to your body?
After 14 years of practicing osteopathy I finally truly understand this and the quote from the founder of Osteopathy.
To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease. – A.T. Still MD, DO Philosophy of Osteopathy
To be able to find the thread of health in a patient is the true art of Osteopathy. To be able to set the wheels of health in motion again is how we heal.
So to answer my original question. where do you find health? The answer is we find health in the present moment.
The space between past and future. The space between two tissues or cells or it is in the stillness of the eye of a storm. The gap between the notes of a piece of music.
Bear with me it will become a bit clearer. I will explain. If the body is NOT in a state of flight or fight or a chronic state of stress, is when we have space to heal. We all know we heal when we rest. Periods of stress and periods of rest or stillness. This is the pattern of a healthy person.
A person in chronic pain does not or has lost the thread of health. their system cannot find the thread, even when resting. So they have to relearn how to find it in the present moment. Then rest in that moment no matter how brief (seconds to start with), again and again like training to run a marathon it starts with one step at a time.
How do we find the present moment? We look to traditional medicine and see they all knew the power of it. Meditation, yoga, chanting, dance, nature all are part of these healing activities.
Can meditation heal a prolapsed disc? perhaps. But, a structural change or pathology is a bigger mountain to climb and surgery, and eastern medicine are not mutually exclusive. The Ayurvedic doctors and Chinese medicine, as well as Osteopathy, know both have their place. Both can exist. The skill of the physician or healer in knowing when to use them or in many occasions when not to (Do no harm). The problem is when there is no structural change just function. This is the situation many chronic pain patients are left in. No hope.
Also a week in a retreat meditating is unlikely to produce the results we desperately want, unless we have reached a point of total surrender.
This situation reminds me of the strange subject of fertility. So many couples reach a point of complete surrender and choose to adopt or start IVF and then fall pregnant. How and why? They find hope and the present moment the health and the space for change. The book Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra explains this mechanism in greater detail.
Does this mean we have to move to a mountain retreat for five years? No thankfully. We can start today and just by understanding this concept and being aware or watching when we are lost in the future(when will I be better?) or dwelling on the past (what if that injury hadn’t happened).
Stress is normal and part of being human or any animal. What is different is seeing the stress and moving out of it by learning techniques and tools.
If this post resonates with you, i encourage to find an osteopath who is working with the health and not working away at the dysfunction in the hope that it will be able to change. A list can be found here, and there are many more working like this so just ask your local Osteopath if they work like this.
For me personally and as a practitioner, these concepts can be hard for us westerners to grasp. We want to do more and to fight our way back to the health.
“How can I help the patient when i just rest and wait.”
“How can I get better by just sitting I need to do more core exercises.”
Just take it one small step at a time resting calmly in a sea of health which hasn’t gone anywhere just like the sun on a cloudy day.
P.S If all of this is just like a foreign language, then I recommend starting with this book The power of now.