Osteopathy and asthma are not words that are often used together. But osteopathy might help patients who have asthma (not that I didn’t say treat asthma).
I remember when she entered the room, I could feel how tensed her thorax was by just looking at her. Almost every single muscle implied in her breathing was sore.
The muscles between the ribs, her neck, the muscles around her shoulder blades, her diaphragm, her back… she was aching all over. Looking at her breathing was almost painful for me.
Honestly, if you see someone having an asthma attack, you would understand how difficult a simple thing like breathing can become. And that is exactly what osteopathy was meant to tackle for that patient.
Osteopathy and asthma: the treatment
As 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 tensions. After a few seconds, her body started to react. It is sometimes difficult to explain fully what can be perceived during a treatment, but it sometimes looks like a dance.
A dance that first started at the back of her skull. A very slight movement, just like a whisper. For most of us a whisper is almost impossible to perceive. But it is my job. And so I developped the skills to listen carefully to how life manifests itself in a patient.
After a few minutes, the whisper started to spread to the throat. Later, the throat started to relax and the whisper became a disctinct voice as the dance moved to the front of the skull, forcing me to change the position of my hands in order to support this area.
After a few minutes of that work, specific points of her body started to speak louder. At first, the patient had so many tensions that it felt as if twenty people were trying to talk to me at the same time. But when the dance appeared, it cleared minor issues, put main ones in queue based on their importance. Everything is reorganised precisely if you know how to listen.
Placing one hand on the upper thoracic spine and one hand on the sternum, I started to give space to that constricted thorax. What an amazing sensation. It is like watching the waves washing away the sandcastle you built and leaving an immaculate shore behind them. And the patient to fall deeper and deeper into herself until reaching a very calm place where everything feels weightless… and finally came back from there with an extremely calm breathing. Even the look on her face was different now.
Still a bit of work to be done on some specific ribs and on the neck. And she’s free to go. Tired, but able to breath.
Food for thought
Imagine your thorax as an ecosystem. The blood has to flow, the nerves have to carry the information, the ribs have to move and the muscles have to help them doing so. It’s like an orchestra: a symphony can become a painful listening experience if the musicians don’t play has a whole.
About Jules RampalMeditation teacher and osteopath
I am an online meditation teacher and an osteopath currently working in Cavan, Ireland. 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.
Learn more about me here