Working at Spruce Body Lab over the past three yeards, I’ve been priveledged to have several Registered Massage Therapists as my colleagues. They’ve undergone some of the most rigorous training to be found in the world; a three year program of intensive study allows for RMT’s in Vancouver and B.C. to be absolute experts on human anatomy and physiology.
I sometimes take it for granted that whenever I’ve had the slightest ache or pain, I’ve had almost instant access to non-medicinal pain relief, held in the hands of my co-workers. I’ve grown to appreciate the art of massage therapy and how each practitioner takes a variety of techniques from their set of skills to improve the well-being of their patients. Whether it’s deep tissue work, trigger point realease, myofascial release, or craniosacral therapy- I’ve experienced benefits from each and every treatment modality.
So when one of our massage therapists at Spruce decided to go back to school to become an osteopath, my curiosity was piqued. I really had no idea what osteopathy involved- how would this practice compare to massage therapy? So I decided to give it a try.
The initial consultation struck me as much more in depth than that of a massage therapy treatment. I felt a little bit like I was in my doctor’s office and I was providing information that went beyond my immediate muscular discomfort and addressed internal issues that had come up for me over the past year.
What ensued was one of the most relaxing yet lucid treatments I’ve had on a massage table. There were a variety of techniques employed which I don’t have the expertise to describe; my overall sense from the treatment itself was that my whole body was being cared for- not just my specific muscle groups.
As I spoke with my RMT about the difference between an osteopathic treatment and a massage therapy treatment, the key theme of a holistic approach arose. Osteopathy is about supporting the body’s ability to heal itself. As a comparison to massage therapy- the treatment’s focus is about getting to the root of why muscles may be pulled out of alignment and addressing that cause. Versus simply manipulating that muscle to go back into place.
The theory makes so much sense to me, especially when you look at issues of chronic pain. I know that I personally have areas of my body where pain arises periodically on a repetitive basis. Massage therapy has helped me immensely to relieve this pain and keep it at bay. However, I am very excited about the prospect of a therapy that can re-educate my body so that these chronic musco-skeletal dysfunctions no longer arise.
Before writing about this subject, I did do a little research on-line about osteopathy and found that most information was quite vague. There are a few studies that suggest that osteopathic therapy is a suitable remedy to pain relief with some results sighting that the benefits of this treatment modality last longer than the pain relieving effects of medication.
Osteopathy is a practice that is still in it’s beginning stages. It will take time for this treatment practice to be appreciated and understood, but I know that from my recent experience- I’m a believer! I won’t be giving up my massages though- the two modalities are complimentary of course!