Well, this is certainly a tricky subject to tackle, particularly after an inconclusive debate at the Advancing Osteopathy event back in February 2008.


Osteopathy was founded at a time of industrial and mechanical revolution, 1800s – the thinking and understanding behind it was very much based on the mechanical mindset. This has been extremely successful for many decades; however, I do feel that some of its ideals are a little simplistic. The body does indeed act as a machine, however, there is so much more than moving parts and anatomy. The computer age has given us a far more detailed understanding of how the human body works. There are complex processing units (e.g. hypothalamus), inputs (e.g. nutrition, vision, hearing) and outputs (speech, expressions, movement) – the list could go on forever. There needs to be, if I may continue with the computer metaphor an “upgraded version” of the osteopathic philosophy and understanding.


Having said this, I don’t believe it should be involved in the mainstream medical model of chasing symptoms round the body. By integrating Osteopathy into the NHS model, there is a fear that Osteopathy will become “pigeon-holed” into an orthopaedic technician. One that only treats based on medical diagnosis and is given “back” problems or “neck problems” – this is completely contrary to the osteopathic healthcare model of the body working as a whole. Rather viewing each area or “disease” separately. From a true osteopathic prospective having a department for cardiology and a department for rheumatology etc is looking at the body in separate parts and not as a completely working machine, each area effectively every other.


In conclusion, I do feel that Osteopathy needs to not shy away from new ideas and techniques and this should be encourage. However, a trip into the NHS can surely only crush the osteopathic principles and philosophy which have so much common sense attached to them.


What is Osteopathy?

June 29, 2008

Osteopathy is a system of healthcare underpinned by a vast knowledge of anatomy, physiology and neurology. Osteopathy recognises that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself and contains is own “medicine chest” to do this.


Osteopaths have an understanding that a “problem” or “disease” does not just appear out-of-the-blue (unless it involves trauma). There has been a chain of events leading up to this issue.


Think of it in terms of having two brains – the unconscious, which runs all the physiology behind the scenes (e.g. breathing, blood pressure control, in fact the every process in the body that you are not aware of– the list is endless). The second brain being the conscious, the one that you are allowed to think with and causes pre-determined actions. Now let’s imagine that you have a series of changes taking place within your body over a period of time (perhaps due to occupational posture) – the body is changing and compensating for all these changes and you do not know anything about it. Why? Because your subconscious brain is taking care of it behind the scenes. Then at some point the changes become too much for the subconscious to deal with on its own; so what happens? – it begins to bring attention to the issue through the conscious brain. This is usually in the form of pain and then you start to look to healthcare practitioner for help (or leave it a few more years until it’s unbearable!).


Effectively, you are half way or towards the end of the chain of events when this conscious notification occurs. An Osteopath’s true job is to pick apart this chain and find out what started the process off. They use manual, hands-on techniques to “listen” to the body and determine the root cause of the presenting complaint and treat accordingly.  This process takes time and personally I believe the time required is directly linked to the how long the issue has been around. Osteopathy is not a “quick fix” therapy nor that it should be if the osteopath is being true to uncovering the underlying cause.


To take this further an Osteopath believes that the body is a complete unit, in fact the greatest machine we are every likely to come across. Just as in any machine, if one part is not functioning correctly, this will impact the efficiency of the whole machine. One could take this into the age of technology and use the metaphor that the human body is a computer. A highly complex system with an extraordinarily vast array of inter-connections, inputs and outputs all delicately balance for efficient operation. In disease, the computer can itself be faulty and therefore not able to process information correctly, which beings to show up on the Flat Screen Monitor (the muscles and tissues of the body!)


To conclude, Osteopathy is focused around the body as a whole, not to be confused with the current medical model of chasing symptoms round the body without determining the underlying cause. The word disease sums up the osteopathic understanding, the body is in “dis-ease” i.e. not at ease, not functioning optimally as a whole.


Osteopaths often see patients who have health issues that the medical profession can’t always find a cause for. One of these is Tinnitus, a ringing sensation in the ear. I have to admit that this was the first patient I have seen who has come to me for this, so it got me thinking…… 

The ear has two important muscles: the tensor tympani (it attaches to the ear drum, and stabilizes it from the excess vibration caused by loud sounds) and the tensor levi palatini (it attaches to the Eustachian tube, and helps to open and close the tube, thereby equalizing pressure within the inner ear…it is what gives that popping sound when you are on an airplane.

Both of these muscles can become irritated from abnormal or excessive TMJ (jaw) movement, leading to a development of Tinnitus. There are also important embryological connections with the muscles used to open the jaw (lateral pterygoids) and the inner ear itself.

What does all this mean? – Well there are important links between the musculature and neurology of the ear and the jaw (both are made up by the temporal bone for starters!). Using this understanding osteopaths can focus their efforts in improving the function and movement of the jaw and the bones of the skull (of which there are 28!) and this should resolve (or at least reduce) any experience of tinnitus.

This same anatomical and neurological understanding can be applied with people suffering from unexplained vertigo (often caused by a disruption of the inner ear mechanisms) – all of which can be helped by ensuring the efficient movement of the jaw and bones of the skull.

It appears that a Labour MP has suggested forcing all children to be vaccinated otherwise they cannot attend school and parents will not receive child benefits. I find this crazy, we have all heard about the profound positive effect they have on curbing the out-break of diseases; but similiarly the side effects of vaccines can cause.

I have desparately tried to put forth both sides of the agrument, however, I found that many of the “Pros” I wrote – I just didn’t believe!




  • Prevention is better than cure, and a vaccine is the best way to prevent an outbreak of a disease or to reduce its negative effects
  • Compulsory vaccination has eradicated or greatly reduced the impact of some of the world’s most devastating diseases, such as small pox, polio, measles
  • Compulsory vaccination leads to a better health situation nationally state?
  • The state has a right to impose compulsory vaccination. If an age group is protected, that results in a better health conditions for the whole society.
  • Productivity rates remain high and less money is earmarked for social and health transfers because people are healthier?




  • Many vaccines have significant adverse effects.
  • Some vaccines include toxic materials such as chemicals including mercury, formaldehyde, aluminium, and a variety of other known toxic materials.
  • Vaccines might be capable of causing recurrent infections in children because they weaken the immune system.
  • Through different techniques the figures on the efficiency of vaccines are kept artificially high.
  • Evidence suggests that the dramatic rise in ear infections, allergies, and asthma in children can be attributed (at least in part) to the damaging effects of vaccines.
  • By making vaccination compulsory, people’s freedom to choose is curtailed and that is an infringement on human rights.
  • Researches show that alternative approaches towards diseases such as better nutrition, homeopathy, etc. give very positive results.


To Conclude:


I really don’t think taking away the freedom to choose is the right move – particularly as there not enough known about the negative effects (positively described as side-effects!). It is a good topic for discussion, so comments gladly welcome!


If you wish to sign the petition against this, please visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/forcedvaccines


June 18, 2008

The common theories about the cause of migraines point towards a neurological disruption of some sort or another. With this in mind, treating them through the osteopathic “lens” can often be extremely successful.


A good example of this was patient in her early 20s presenting with a long history of frequent severe migraines (2-3 a week). After being put on Atenolol (a β-blocker to control hypertension (high BP)) the migraines disappeared. She was delighted with this as it allowed her to lead a normal life. However, she didn’t want to be on drugs for her whole life (understandably).


The approach taken was that something was causing the hypertension and if we could work this out then in theory the drug would not longer be required. Now blood pressure is finely controlled by the nervous system (like everything in the body) – more specifically the sympathetic nervous system which is the one that reacts to nor-adrenaline. If this is constantly stimulated then there will be a constant disruption to the control of many processes but in this case blood pressure.


The chain of sympathetic nerves run alongside the upper back, so treatment was focused around ensuring that this was moving efficiently. This involved a global approach looking at the entire body to ensure that the upper back wasn’t compensating for other areas.


The results have been great and the patient has chosen to reduce her Atenolol throughout the treatment (I must point out that this was her decision, not mine!). No migraines to date. We hope by working together, she will be able to enjoy her life without drugs, migraines and osteopathic treatment.


Watch this space for an update.

Jaw Pain

June 18, 2008

It is strange how some weeks I can see lots of patients with a similar issue, specifically this month I have seen many with pelvic imbalances. That is not to say that the pelvis is what they have presented with, however, it has been appearing in the screening process I run all patients through.

I will get to the point in a minute! – Everyone of these patients with pelvic imbalances, show up with a jaw “problem” on the same side. Now this can range from imbrication (where the jaw is impacted into the socket so it doesn’t move freely) to muscular stresses.

The jaw and the pelvis have a very strong relationship to each other. For instance, when we walk we rotate the head and pelvis together, effectively swinging in tandem. Indeed, both are areas where a majority of people hold their stresses.

Anyway, I have found that by treating the jaw “problem” the majority of patient’s pelvis imbalance resides….just go to show how the body is a finely integrated machine!

Interesting stuff.









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