Many prominent Osteopaths have used the Aphorism – ‘Life is motion’ in describing a central concept within osteopathic medicine. The idea is that everything that lives moves, and that motion is a central defining feature of life.
The term osteopathy is also a bit of a misnomer because osteopathic medicine does not exclusively concern itself with the bones as the term suggests. In fact, every tissue in the body, in order to be healthy, needs to move because, as the aphorism goes – ‘Life is motion’.
Bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fluids and even organs all have normal motions associated with them. Osteopathy in the visceral field adheres to the same basic principle that all tissues in the body must move in order be healthy and function properly. Therefore, one important aim of treatment is to unblock and restore functional mobility to any and all tissues in the body that lack proper movement.
Our Organs also need to move
So lets take the example of the lungs. The lungs are wrapped in a double membrane known as the pleural membranes. In between these membranes is a fluid that acts as a lubricant to reduce friction between the lungs and the internal chest wall. This system allows the lungs to glide easily in rotational movements as you breath about 20,000 times per day.
Severe colds, lung infections, inflammation, pneumonia and other lung ailments such as pneumothorax can cause adhesions between these pleural membranes causing them to stick together in certain places. Adhesions will cause a number of problems. They can alter the gliding movements of the lungs changing their normal axis of rotation, which in turn can cause pulling on other ligaments, muscles and organs within the chest as you breathe. Though these effects may be minor, the fact that you breath 20,000 times a day has a cumulative effect and can, over time, create significant strains and impact your health because, in the area of these adhesions, there tends to be less perfusion of blood and lymph weakening the local lung tissue and providing opportunity for infection. These are some of the effects that pleural adhesions may cause.
Enter the Osteopath
Proper testing and diagnosis can determine the existence of pleural adhesions and proper treatment can often completely eliminate them in children as well as adults – a benefit that can have life long implications. So whether it’s a muscle, ligament, fluid or organ, ‘Life is Motion’ and proper motion is almost always associated with health and vitality.
Eddy Basch, Osteopath D.O.