Jaya studied Osteopathy
in Switzerland for 6 years, graduating in
1997, had a practice in New Zealand for
5 years, and since then has practised in
Europe and India.
Osteopathy for terminally
of osteopathy is that the body possesses the inherent
ability to heal itself. The body is made up of
cells, organized in structures, that all have
movements. A restriction of that movement will
bring stagnation and dysfunction. Osteopathy addresses
these blockages and restores movement, which allows
the body to restore its natural state of functioning.
This holds true even as one lies dying. The body
can be supported in maintaining its optimal function
until death and symptoms of pain can be reduced.
is osteopathy and cranial osteopathy?
Osteopaths recognize health as an active principle.
This health is the expression of life – an
inherent ordering force, a natural internal intelligence.
Cranial osteopathy is a subtle and profound healing
form which assists this natural bodily intelligence
to restore balance in the physical, emotional
and spiritual being at any stage of life.
Studies of the cranium, its
content and the mechanics of the skull led to
the discovery that the 26 bones that make up the
skull are intricately jointed in such a way as
to permit very slight motion, independent of the
movement of breathing and heartbeat. The discovery
of cranial motion led to the understanding that
the pattern of motion in the skull and its contents
is present in all the tissues of the body and
is a basic property of living tissues.
does it work?
When body tissues are subject to trauma, whether
physical or emotional, this motion is disrupted.
A chain reaction may take place which is often
mediated through the communication networks of
the body such as connective tissue, blood and
lymph systems, nervous and hormonal systems. This
in turn can lead to problems of disturbed function
in other parts of the body. Palpation of these
motions allows the cranial osteopath to facilitate
change in areas of restriction and help restore
this vital motion. The restriction of movement
corresponds to a lack in the capacity of the life
force to express its self healing. Consequently,
symptoms of disease, pain and tension may arise
and the emotional state of the patient may also
In such cases, the body requires
a catalyst to maximize its own healing potential
to resolve the part which is out of balance with
can be treated with osteopathy?
Cranial osteopathy is so gentle that it is suitable
for babies, children, the elderly or terminally
ill patients, as well as adults. It is also used
in fragile or acutely painful conditions. As a
whole body therapy, treatment can aid almost every
condition, raising the vitality and enabling the
body’s own self-healing process to be utilized.
In the case of a terminally ill patient, treatment
can restore the homeostasis and optimal function
of the body to provide maximum comfort and ease,
both physically and emotionally, until death.
Osteopathic techniques used
to treat a terminally ill patient are no different
from those employed to treat patients at any other
stage of life. The intensity of the intervention
is of course variable and is dictated by the patient’s
level of physical tolerance. The treatment includes
the patient and the extended family. In an ideal
situation, when a caregiver knows the family well
and for a long time, there is no anxiety in telling
the truth about the patient’s condition,
for the caregiver knows the strengths and weaknesses
of each family member.
happens during a session?
The treatment consists of hands-on techniques
which often lead to a state of profound relaxation.
Afterwards it is advised to drink water to flush
out toxins released through the healing process
and to rest for a few hours or for the remainder
of the day if possible.
How can terminally ill
patients benefit from osteopathy?
It takes a team of healthcare providers to meet
the needs of just one terminally ill patient.
End-of-life issues pose a unique constellation
of challenges for the physician. Multiple dysfunctions
have a domino effect on the patient. These challenges
demand that physicians use all of their knowledge
of somatic dysfunctions, disease entities and
systemic interactions whilst incorporating alternative
treatments, in order to be an effective health
facilitator for the patient.
Physicians have to co-ordinate
their care in such a way that there is not an
overlap of care but rather a smooth, concerted
effort to achieve the optimal level of support
for the patient. In a chaotic environment, an
osteopath’s ability to identify dysfunctions
and optimize function can provide relief and even
comfort to the patient. A patient’s need
for analgesics, sedatives, laxatives and diuretics
can also be potentially reduced.
Some of the problems for
end-of-life care that can be addressed and alleviated
include the following:
- Gastrointestinal dysfunction,
including nausea, vomiting, ileus and constipation
- Cardiopulmonary problems
including shortness of breath and central and
Often terminally ill patients
demonstrate organ dysfunction in systems not immediately
related to their primary disease process. Osteopaths,
through their hands-on diagnosis, can identify
related symptoms which are secondary to the root
and alleviating pain
Most patients, as they enter their final phase
of life, equate death with the fear of pain. The
main goal of the physician is to allow patients
to live their last days as fully as possible.
It is important that, "one lives until one
dies." There is no upper limit to the dosage
of pain medication, as long as the physician gradually
increases the dose to match the increase in pain.
Knocking out the pain does not mean knocking out
the patient. Osteopaths have additional therapeutic
modality to offer their patients to alleviate
the pain of somatic dysfunction which may in turn
reduce a patient’s need for opioids.
Along with medication, the
use of osteopathy can be employed. Osteopathy
can help make pain more tolerable and enhance
the homeostasis of the patient’s body. In
general, hands-on treatment has a multitude of
benefits for the patient. It can correct somatic
dysfunctions and has a positive effect on the
emotional state of the patient. It makes a patient
feel worthwhile and not just a burden to those
around them as they face their final days of earthly
Osteopathy helps to decrease
pain, improve circulation and enhance gastro-intestinal
peristalsis and lymphatic flow. It also says to
the patient, "I am here for you and you are
This hands-on form of medical
care demonstrates that the inevitable disease
process does not have to decrease the quality
of a single second of human life.