Let’s imagine that you are the proud owner of a machine that makes matchsticks. The machine functions very well and produces beautiful matchsticks, all is good and as a result, you are happy, I am happy too as I can light my candles to organise a romantic evening for my partner. Because you know, I’m French, so I’m supposed to be romantic. Just like how we are supposed to always eat croissants. Please give us a break!
Now, let’s imagine that one day, suddenly, the matchsticks that are produced have a defect. Would you try to fix the matchsticks? Or would you try to reason about how the machine works and therefore why the matchsticks are not good anymore?
Should you decide to go for the second option, surely you would try to find the cause and fix it. Should you be successful, you will obtain functional matchsticks again.
That was a simple one, wasn’t it? Okay, let’s take it to another level. Maybe matchsticks are symptoms. Maybe We can have a look at the machine to find the how. Of course, the kind of symptoms/matchsticks you have gives you an idea of the problem, but you can’t find the “how” from the matchsticks. The “how” is before, it’s upstream.
Remember when Still talks to Hildreth, he says he doesn’t look at the matchsticks. He is experiencing the “how” while the patient is talking to him. Maybe, next time a patient talks to you, experience how they think instead of what they think. Experience the how of the symptom instead of focusing on the symptom itself. Patients are matchstick machines, and we are focused on fixing the matchsticks. Why not try to fix the machine?
Manual therapy: The patient produces bad matchsticks, I try to fix the matchsticks with my hands
Osteopathy: I find the “how”, also known as the “cause”, and I fix it. If I do, we get good matchsticks again and I can be a romantic dude.
PS: It doesn’t make Manual therapy lame. There are amazing things done by amazing people.
PS: I just saw a French dude eating a croissant while riding his bike.