An introduction to Myofaction

Myofaction follows the principles of osteopathic medicine. These are the principles of wholism or holism, self-repair or healing, and the interdependence between structure and function.

The concept of wholism has been around since the time of Socrates and Plato but it was 1928 when J.C. Smuts first coined the term holism. He described it as a philosophy, which looked at whole systems rather than parts. I prefer to use wholism rather than holism because it is accurately spelt this way. Andrew Still, the founder of Osteopathy was one of the first to use wholism in medicine. Although the body is made up of separate tissues and biological systems, it as a unit, but with the parts interdependent on each other. Here are some examples of wholism. A poor mental attitude can lead to physical illness. Conversely prolonged physical illness may lead to mental stress (dis-ease). Ankylosis or loss of movement at a joint such as the ankle can create compensatory stress and inflammation at another joint such as the hip and in time lead to permanent degeneration.

Dr Still observed patients who got better without treatment. In time and under the right conditions some illnesses clear up and symptoms go away. Cuts and bruises, sprains, colds and many types of illnesses respond to their insult by going through an acute phase of repair. These insults may be physical stresses such as cold, injury, a virus or bacteria or psychological stresses. The body has powerful tools for its repair and healing. Dr Still believed that it was better if medicine worked with the healing process. He recommended that the role of the therapist should be to provide the conditions necessary for health; the body's needs and a good environment. He believed that through manipulation and the good management of the patient, the body could be made to work better and heal itself more efficiently.

Manipulative treatment should assist the body's natural repair process and other natural functions by influencing the movement of blood and other body fluids and facilitating normal nerve supply. Injured tissues cannot be healed directly by manipulation. They only heal if certain repair cells and nutrients can access the damaged tissues through the medium of a good blood supply. Drainage of the damaged area is also essential. Limited drainage of blood, lymph or other body fluids results in the accumulation of waste products, which become irritants to nerves in the immediate tissue. Manipulation facilitates healing by making sure that blood reaches and leaves any repairing tissue. Good circulation is the curative agent or as Andrew Taylor Still stated "The rule of the artery is supreme".

Dr Still also maintained that structure governed function. From the single cell to the level of whole joints, muscles or organs, the integrity of structures either supports or undermines the healthy running of the body. I suggest the converse is also true, function governs structure. So the rule should be that structure is inter-related with function. Good use or functioning of the body facilitates the stimulation and nourishment of structures.

Continued ..............