I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Osteopathy - the Montessori of medicine?

I have had three amazing days in a row. I can only attribute this to two things. One, the methylation protocol is working. Two, I had my first Osteopath appointment. And as I learned, osteopathy has little to do, and yet everything to do, with bones.

I came to Osteopathy on three recommendations, and I have a feeling I will not be looking back. I'm trying to be cautious in my optimism, but I don't know that I can be, or that I should be, anymore. The truth is that I am far more aware, and my energy has been as close to normal as it has been since I first relapsed back in December. The other thing is that from everything I know so far (which is not much at all in my brain, but lots in my gut) Osteopathy is to medicine what Montessori is to education. It is a completely different modality than that which we are used to.

To start off, as in Montessori, there is no official regulating body (accreditation bodies, and associations, yes, but no regulation) and nothing to stop anyone from calling themselves an Osteopath - at least not here in Ontario. So it is very much a buyer beware situation - if you want the real thing, you have to know what you are looking for, and you have to check that you are getting it. In my case, I was looking for an Osteopath practicing biodynamic Osteopathy, whose education is vast and includes several years of European study. I found her based on two things - recommendation and gut feeling. There is no doubt in my mind or my body or my spirit, that this is the right health practitioner for me at this moment in my life.

Like in Montessori, where we have the very differing approaches of the AMS (American Montessori Society) and the AMI (Association Montessori Internationale), and those unaffiliated, the Monte-somethings and the Something-soris, there are different approaches to Osteopathy. In Montessori, I personally prefer the AMS approach, because when you get stuck in dogma, you get stuck in dogma. The AMS approach encourages us to start with what Dr. Montessori laid out for us, and then take it further - adapt it to our time and place, just as the end goal for us is to help children adapt to their time and place. In Osteopathy, I honestly don't know the differences between the approaches too well, but from what I gather, some are more inclined towards physical manipulation an intervention, others are more focused on the cranial structure, and others are more holistic. As I said, I am not all that knowledgeable about these differences, but I am very intrigued by this parallel.

The Osteopath explained her training thus: she spent 12 years learning how to be still. I have not spent 12 years, but the core of the Montessori training is also learning how to get out of the way. She has to keep still to be able to sense what's going in my body, mind and spirit. I have to learn how to get out of the way so I can sense what's going on with that child.

When she was explaining how Osteopaths view human development, it was so much like how we Montessorians see it, that my mind was blown wide open. Did you know, for example, that the human body begins to form in utero before the gene expressions have been triggered? There is life before our genes are turned on. And that life, that spark, is the thing that no scientist has been able to explain, and every spiritual leader calls by a different name - the soul, the spirit, the sacred spark, the children's fire. As soon as she said this, my mind went off to The Absorbent Mind and The Secret of Childhood, in which Dr. Montessori describes the miracle that is the creation of a new life, in very similar terms.

What really struck me though, during the appointment, is how holistic the intake questions were; instead of focusing on my symptoms and current health situation, the Osteopath was trying to get a picture of my life. She is also the first of all the health practitioners we have visited to really include my mother in the conversation. When we look at children as Montessorians, we do not see a child. We see a person - a whole being at a certain stage of development. We see beyond that child in that moment, to the child's potential - "the child who is not yet there." We look at the child and assess what we can do to support that development, to help them to become that person they were born to be. This is how this person was seeing me. As a whole - a person whose energy is stuck somewhere, and as a person who can be healthy and whole again, with the right support.

Yep. This is right for me. I can feel it - in my bones.


  1. Oh Andy, tears are coming to my eyes!! Let it work, let it work!!! Sooo happy for you!! That means many, many more outings and work with you!! Yeah!

  2. Ha, wait till you ask her how they view the structure of bone itself.

    She may have already warned you, but it typically takes 48-72 hours for a treatment to "hit the bottom". Don't be shocked if your body goes into some weird state (esp with respect to vitality, fatigue, and/or pain) over the weekend; if it does, roll with it but don't go overboard with activity even if you're feeling great.