Chapter 20 – Healing, whole, and perception

Osteopathic Healing

I believe there’s a major misconception about healing in the context of osteopathy. When talking with other practitioners, it seems to me that the main idea they have about healing is that the practitioner has some sort of power and will destroy the germs or viruses that are currently making the patient sick. Hence, as I have mentioned before, it becomes very tempting to believe that the founder of osteopathy had a special power or that he was a fraud.

Down the road, and from a more modern point of view, I think this leads to osteopaths who believe they are aligning patients and having any action on their tissues. There’s this idea of a practitioner doing something to the patient and solving their issue.

But I do not believe that was the idea. I don’t think that’s what they had in mind back in time.

It feels like the main idea was that the body can heal itself (=immunity) and osteopaths place the body in the best physical conditions to do so.

Man is powerless to effect a cure. He can no more change the tissue of the human body than he can add a cubit to his stature. Only nature cures. The utmost the wisest physician can do is to secure to his patients such physical conditions as favor nature’s restorative processes.

Still in Nature as a physician

Now, let’s talk about fever. We all know fever is a response of the immune system. But we also know that it can get pretty dangerous if it gets under control. That’s usually why we take medicines. Not necessarily to heal the disease itself, but to keep the body’s responses under control. And I believe that’s exactly what was done back in time with osteopathy. Not healing as a magical idea, but favoring nature’s restorative process.

And I believe that’s why osteopaths used to “treat” diseases. Not because of a secret power they have. By the way, let’s remember that in case of a disease, treatments were repeated several times a day. Maybe just as much as you’d take a pill when you have the flu. Just a thought.

The Body as a whole/complex system

The body is a complex system and is perfect. It is perfect because it cannot be different. I think that’s, at least partially, a basic idea of osteopathy.

Maybe a human being’s tibia’s form is the way it is because it cannot be different. If the tibia’s form was different, the whole body would be different. Remember that it’s a whole.

The human body is a whole which means it’s not the sum of its parts. It’s bigger than the sum. Bigger and something else. Exactly like how a cake is a whole and you can’t find the eggs anymore in the cake. When you take a slice of cake, you don’t get the eggs, you get “cake”. Try to think about that when looking at anatomy. Something that matters also is that every slice of cake is the cake. Not a part of it.

Normal and abnormal

This perfection leads to health when it’s normal. It leads to disease when not. This is the idea. Knowing this machine was Still’s idea about understanding the cause. If you know how a clock is built, you can understand the effects you are seeing and what is normal/abnormal.


I don’t believe one should look inside themself. One should look at the universe THROUGH themself. This is not the same thing exactly.

In the first case, you establish yourself as out of the world. There’s yourself and the outside. In the second case, you are part of the experience. No more inside/outside. Just perception.

This also changes the idea some people sometimes have about feeling a patient’s pain “inside your body”. Pain is felt, and that’s the focus. Before that, the focus was on deciding whether it was “my” pain or “the patient’s”. And from there, people tend to talk about how dangerous it is to take people’s pain. Weirdly, when we feel the sun on our skin, we don’t wonder if it is “our sun” or not. We feel the warmth. But feel something that is not supposed to “belong” to you, and everybody goes crazy.

That’s all for today,
Take care






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