Wee blog of a human being working as an osteopath

Holding space for a patient

If you decide to follow my osteopathic journey, you’ll discover how my practice changed little by little, from learning how to treat patients as if they were muppets to treating them by holding the space.

And in this article, I would like to give you an insight on what a treatment might look like if you follow that idea.

A talk with a friend

A few days ago, I was talking with a new friend of mine on Instagram about osteopathy, yoga and meditation.

I explained to her that most of the time, I try to treat the patient without having any expectations. Just like when I do my yoga, or my meditation. I do not try to become wiser, or more flexible or stronger. I do not try to become anything. Well, when a patient comes to see me, I’m not trying to accomplish anything.

She replied to me something absolutely wonderful. Something that I’ve heard in the past, and I couldn’t thank her enough for her thought.

She told me that it is really difficult to consider a therapy that as no goal, as the goal of a therapy is to help people.

A still point isn’t a fix point

You see, our life forced us to believe that every action needs a goal to be efficient. And our little brain quite often has some difficulties to seize that no goal doesn’t mean no action.

You see, when I do my yoga, I don’t have any goal. I just feel. Why? For nothing. But yoga still happens in that vacant space. And sometimes, if it has too, a tension will disappear as it is not useful anymore, a fear will vanish, or maybe an emotion will spread and melt. BUT, I do not try to get rid of a tension, of a fear or of an emotion.

I am a still point, and it is so different from a fix point.

At the still point of the turning world.
Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement.
And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered.
Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline.
Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
TS Eliot, “Four Quartets”

Holding space: an example

In order to explain to you a bit further, let me, just like I did for my friend, give you a concrete example about what it looks like in real life to have no goals.

A few days ago, I saw a patient who asked me to check on her for a shoulder pain triggered by a fall she had a few days ago as she was riding her mordern trusty steed: an electrical scooter.

After checking on ther spine and asking her to move her shoulder, I invited her to lie down on her back.

And if you really want to understand what I mean by having no expectation, no goal, I mean that I forget the idea of treating her shoulder. Firstly, I do not try to find something wrong. I don’t inverstigate, not even with my mind. Moreover, I do not imagine her muscles. And I do not try to heal her. Lastly, I do not look for a tension.

I just listen. Nothing more. And that is when the dance starts. That’s where you need to be able to hold the space for the patient. And from here, her body tells me the story.

Something appears on the second cervical vertebra. From there, the muscles of her neck are pulling towards the first ribs on the right side. The shoulder blade feels “cramped”, the diaphragm is forcing the whole body to bend to the right and creates a lot of tension on the left side of her pelvis.

Holding space so life can flow

Holding space for a patient Jules Rampal Meditation Osteopathy

Holding the space, letting the body move gently, I just witness her body going from a phase to another. My hands spend a few minutes on her skull, a few minutes under her shoulder blade, and later in her lower back. I do not decide, I do not force the body, but every phase of the treatment has repercussions on the whole system, and little by little her breathing becomes calmer. The neck relaxes, the shoulder blade can move freely.

I just hold the space for her to move freely, from a phase of the treatment to another.
The same phenomenom happens if you meditate this way (by the way, this is something I might decide to teach using a webcam).

Do I need to tell the body how to treat the shoulder? NO. I give space so the body can do its job and heal the shoulder. Surely the body knows how to get the blood to flow, the air to gets in the lungs, or the heart to beat. And honestly if it doesn’t know it anymore, that’s not for osteopathy.

Should you like to learn how to do that for yourself, I teach meditation online.

jules rampal meditation

About Jules Rampal

Meditation teacher and osteopath

I am an online meditation teacher and an osteopath currently working in Gordes, France. My courses are for people who want to learn meditation with guided sessions, and for therapists who want to delve into the way they feel and the knowledge they can gather for their clients.
Book an osteopathic session here
Learn more about me here







15 responses to “Holding space for a patient”

  1. […] more pain, fear of life. This process might have been going on for years. When they come to see me, I hold a space for them. A space where they can surrender for once and let Life unfold. I show them, through touch, that […]

  2. […] One single treatment tremendously improved a 6 months old ailment. Osteopathy doesn’t cure everything. But a skilled touch and deep listening can really help more people than we think, including babies. Especially if you know how to hold space for them. […]

  3. […] to point at. If you have checked on the patient’s stories section, you might have read how I hold space for a patient who had a shoulder pain.But I would like to discuss with you about what a treatment can look like for a baby. I mean when […]

  4. […] take a step back, feel the space and start again. When applied to osteopathy, this is what I call holding space for the patient. The technique I use does not aim at relaxing you, it starts from that space and dies in that […]

  5. […] pushing bones back in place. You might still believe that your patients are muppets. Because if you hold space for them, this is definitely not an issue. But that requires you to kill the beast first and get rid of many […]

  6. […] what happens when you hold space. Everything becomes alive. That tension in the knee. The blocked diaphragm. The defence in the […]

  7. […] not try to align you. I connect to the stillness that lies within all of us. When I do that, when I hold the space for a patient or for a baby, the whole body starts to react. The dance is […]

  8. […] the stillness within you and operate from there. Hold space and touch. Feel how the patient reacts to your massage, to your cracking technique or your craniosacral […]

  9. […] I don’t force myself into meditation anymore. Often during the week, I feel like it is what I need to do, so I just listen a bit more. Something starts in my shoulder for example, it moves, it changes, it goes down to my left hip etc. The work occurs for a few minutes or for an hour. And finally it is done for today. Just like when I treat a patient. […]

  10. […] you communicate with a nervous system. If you want to try something different, you can try to hold space for the patient. And if you want to learn how to do it, I can teach […]

  11. […] importantly, you can address that Silence that lies in everybody. You can help it grow, you can hold space for people. Once you have found it for yourself, you can help others to find it for themselves. And this makes […]

  12. […] always, I was about to hold space for my patient. I placed my hands under her skull. From here I knew I could start the work and release many […]

  13. […] Now, instead of feeling the parts of your body, can you try to experience your body as a space? Start small. Instead of feeling the different parts of your hands, can you feel the whole hand? Can you start to hold space? […]

  14. […] I mean holding space for patients. I mean not projecting your wills but listen at what is happening and support the process. If you […]

  15. […] of bullshit most patients hear from some osteopaths, doctors, chiropractors or physiotherapists. This is not supporting people, this is not holding space for them.This is osteopathy based on models. And if you are really able to listen, you will feel how models […]

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