The Osteopathic approach sees the human as a dynamic, highly interactive organism capable of regulating itself; only when the tasks to manage, e.g. the effects of sprains, sicknesses and injuries accumulate to temporarily overwhelm our regulatory skills. Then parts of the body move into self-protective stasis, a holding pattern. Trouble develops when the body must work its remaining moving parts: they must bear more load than that for which they were designed.
When we first see a patient, do we see a normally competent, self-correcting body that has momentarily become systemically overloaded and thus stuck in its attempts to return to homeostasis? Or do we see one or several symptomatic parts of a body that are simply breaking down and in need of our well developed injury management skills?
In the former outlook, we are investigating the root causes of overload and intervening there, helping the body to release the main load on its systems, while neither neglecting nor obsessing over symptomatic sites. In the latter, we are restricting ourselves to treating painful effects, and in the best scenario, trying to reverse the last link in a causative chain.
When a primary dysfunction is uncovered, addressed and reduced appropriately, what follows is not an isolated increase in ROM but rather a bodywide event. A chain reaction of interdependent restrictions, some symptomatic and some not, can spontaneously progress toward normalcy.
This empowers the self-healing of the individual and increases the ability to more easily manage future stresses by removing some of the burden on the body's adaptive mechanism. Above all, the automonic nervous system moves toward normal activity, balancing its stimulating, fight-or flight and its calming, digestive, regenerative divisions. Since it regulates the movement of all the fluids and nutrition of the body, imbalance in this part of the nervous system is implicated in most acute and chronic conditions, either directly or as mediator.
Thus automonic and circulatory balance is at the heart of all osteopathic manual therapies, promoting the inborn ability to self-regulate and move toward independent well-being.
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