When working with Osteopathy the Operator is aware that everything they do with a patient has an outcome. What that outcome will be is predicated by the way that the Operator interacts with the patient. To direct the outcome requires intention.

What do I mean when I speak about intention? When handling a patient an Operator is always influencing the entire body through nerves, arteries, veins, and lymphatics so focusing movements and manipulations on a desired result are important. If there is swelling in the right ankle the Operator needs to clear the drainage pathways through the lower limb, then pelvis, the abdomen, the thorax, and then ensure that the left clavicle and first rib are not stuck on one another so that the thoracic duct is able to deposit systemic lymphatic fluid in to the left subclavian vein. From the left subclavian vein the fluid may then be transported to the heart, through pulmonary circulation, back to the heart, then to the kidneys where micturition may begin. In this example, swelling in the right foot requires coordination of soft and hard tissue through the lower limb and the pelvis, coordination of the pelvic and abdominal diaphragm, opening of the superior thoracic inlet/outlet, and ensuring that the kidneys have no obstruction. Sounds like a lot of work…it is not. It requires an understanding of anatomy and physiology as well as an understanding of the issue that you are faced with. Once this understanding is reached then the intention – to move fluid from the right foot and eventually out of the body via the kidneys/ureters/bladder/urethra – may be enacted.

This is a lesson I learned when I used to take martial arts. The way intention was taught to me was very simple – a punch is a punch, a kick is a kick, it will only be as powerful as I intend it to be. It is not possible to knock someone out if the intention behind your strike is to stun them. As a general principle this applies to all action – you will only reach your desired outcome if your actions carry the intention of reaching your desired outcome.

I am still young in my Osteopathic journey and I recognize everyday that I need to keep digging. If I want to provide proper results I need to keep improving my knowledge of anatomy and physiology so that I can create treatments that will lead to providing intended results. None of us can sit on our laurels – we all need to keep digging.


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