As promised, I am passing along part of my journal on what I learned from other osteopathic physicians during my time at the American Academy of Osteopathy convocation, 2012, in Louisville, KY.
The convocation I am attending is held annually. Osteopathic physicians who want to learn more about hands on osteopathic practice attend these gatherings and get to learn the latest things about our field. Increasingly, more and more foreign osteopathic doctors are attending and presenting.
Today Dan Bensky, DO, presented on the evaluation and treatment of peripheral nerves. The nervous system is divided into two parts consisting of the brain and spinal cord or central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system which is everything else. Peripheral nerve injuries are very common. Perhaps you may have heard of sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome? These are only two of the best known peripheral nerve problems. There are many more.
Traditionally, osteopathic physicians have not been taught to palpate and treat the nerves themselves. We work around the nerves and are often able to release the problems that involve them in this manner. A number of years ago a French osteopath, Jean Pierre Barral, developed a method to actually feel the nerve and then treat it. Dan Bensky presented this work here. It was the first time I have ever actually felt a living nerve and learned how to diagnose and treat it. After close to thirty years of doing this work this was a very thrilling discovery for me.
Another doctor, Ed Stiles, DO, studied with some very famous osteopathic physicians, all of whom are now gone. Few people could replicate the results of their treatments. After studying with one of them, Fred Mitchell, Sr, DO, he was asked by his teacher to diagnose and treat a patient of Dr. Mitchell with the teacher present.
Dr. Stiles did as he was told and then Dr. Mitchell asked the patient how she felt. ” I don’t feel a damn bit different than when I walked in,” she replied. Dr. Stiles was shocked and disappointed since he thought he had done a pretty good job. His teacher commented, ” Your diagnoses was correct. However ,the sequence which you used to treat this patient was all wrong.”
He was then asked to repeat his diagnoses which he did. Subsequently, he was shown a very different sequence of treatment for the various points than he had used. He applied the osteopathic treatment as directed and then his teacher asked the woman how she felt. ” I feel great, exactly like I normally do after you treat me!”
So Dr. Stiles realized that it is not enough to accurately diagnose what is wrong with the patient but also that the sequence of treatment is critical. This was a secret that the old timers knew but, for whatever reason, never got transmitted. Naturally, I found his lecture and workshop on how to diagnose and sequence treatment tremendously exciting.
Another fascinating experience yesterday was to learn from Ed Goering, DO, a physician who practices in rural Oregon. Dr. Goering whom I had heard of but never studied with, was a disciple of a man whom I did have the privilege of meeting in the 1980’s, Larry Jones, DO. Dr. Jones was the originator of the counterstrain system of diagnosis and treatment which is now taught in every single osteopathic curriculum. It is a very effective way to help people via osteopathic manipulation and I use it often.
However, I never knew that it could be used to treat the lymphatic system. Dr. Goering has developed this application and he taught it yesterday. He let us know that when patients come to him with a sore throat or upper respiratory infection he gives them a prescription for the appropriate antibiotic as well as a counterstrain lymphatic treatment. So far, not a single one of these prescriptions has needed to be filled.
Dan Bensky, DO, spent many years studying Chinese medicine in Macao, near Hong Kong, before China was opened up to Americans. He told a story of how he was the only non-Chinese in the school. Apparently, one of his instructors believed that non-Chinese were incapable of understanding and practicing Chinese medicine. As a result she not only refused to teach Dr. Bensky but also refused to answer his questions in class and even to grade his examinations. Many of his classmates were very upset and asked him how he expected to graduate. He told us today that he let them know, ” I am from Detroit. If she doesn’t cooperate then I will have her killed.” He managed to get a straight A average as a result of this comment.
There are so many valuable things which I am learning here.