Friday, February 29, 2008

The Appropriation of Gentility & Power

As a future Osteopathic Physician I have the great privilege of interacting with, and treating patients in a more personal, less invasive way. A simple reality of physics and humanity is that more force or more power = more pain. What this means to me is a change in perspective about my osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) training...

We as students come into it wanting to learn 'the money' treatments, the 'snap, crackle, & pop' treatments that gets everybody so excited. But, like I said, more power/force = more pain. These treatments do have their appropriate time and place, but a body responds physically, emotionally, and spiritually to gentility. Likewise a body responds in not such positive ways to sudden, forceful, powerful manipulation. I have seen and felt the discomfort from treatments my body or others' bodies were not prepared for. I'm not the only one either. There are many OMM doctors who only do the soft tissue, fascial release, and tender point techniques, with phenomenal results. Many of those who do incorporate the high velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) treatments have learned that better results come from pre-treating with gentler techniques. I am of the opinion that time taken to relax the muscles will only help the patient to relax and trust the physician.

This is the core of the Osteopathic identity. Not only can we offer our patients these skills, in addition to prescribing power and knowledge of pathology, but our goal is healing. Not just healing after months of regular visits, but healing after one to three visits in so many cases. We can treat the whole body, and to me that includes the whole mind and spirit. That's why I decided to become an Osteopathic Physician! I believe in the power of gentility!

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