Jules Rampal – Osteopath in Saigon, Vietnam

Chapter 21 – Motion and life

Movement of the arm, and movements of the joints that allow the arm to move.

If I think this way, as an osteopath, I fall into the trap of the mechanical world. I talk about tensegrity and how muscles pull on bones.

Lifting the arm becomes a sum of micro-movements. I break the macro-movement into micro-movement, and later on I try to build it up again. I take something whole, break it into parts, and then try to make it whole again. Counterfeit wholeness. That’s what we are being taught at school. The patient stands in front of us, we ask them to lift their arm, and we then “test” all the joints to define where to apply our so-called “osteopathic techniques”.

But maybe we could change our point of view.

Maybe instead of thinking of the movements of the bones, we could think about bones as a movement.

So it is not how the bones move, the bones ARE the motion. The arm is the motion. The arm couldn’t be otherwise because it is an ongoing process. It doesn’t allow you to move, it is pure motion, pure life.

It is with this process that we are working. The arm is movement, but not necessarily motion toward something. Just motion, as in a living process. And we adjust whatever is not going with the flow of life. Hence I am an engineer, but I don’t tell patients their left leg is 2mm too short.

On the other hand, I work with my patient as life, not life within my patient. Not the current of life within the body. This is not reiki or vitalism. The body is life. Some would say a part of it, but again, it’s a whole. So not just a part, it is life.

I work this way. A soft touch or cracking technique doesn’t change anything to that. Very useful mindset to work with newborns too.








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