As an Osteopath, I often get asked this question, “ What is a Wellness Approach to Health Care?”. With so many clinics changing their approach to focus on Wellness rather than Symptoms and Disease, it’s important to distinguish the differences between these two competing thoughts of health care.
Our intention as Osteopaths is to move away from a model of health that focuses solely on the absence of disease. Health is much more than merely eliminating painful symptoms, experiencing peaks and troughs often with symptoms never fully resolving. It’s easy to succumb to these patterns as mainstream thinking often assumes that this is the only way. Taking a pill to mask the symptoms has become commonplace leaving many people without an alternative.
As we start to search for alternative methods, the Wellness Model of Health begins to emerge as a sensible, practical and commonsense approach. (http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/80(12)981.pdf).
The World Health Organisation has defined health as, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” In recent years, the Biopsychosocial model of health has gained momentum as it embodies a much broader context of healthcare. By integrating the biological (how your body functions), psychological (how you think and behave) and social (how you live your life) components into one cohesive framework, holism begins to take form.
As Osteopaths, we embrace a holistic model of health that incorporates all of the elements that make you whole. By assessing how your body moves and functions, along with uncovering your attitudes towards health, pain and recovery as well as questioning how you use your body on a daily basis, we get much closer to unraveling the underlying cause of your symptoms. This is where wellness begins to take centre stage as we strive to not only resolve your symptoms but also move you closer to achieving optimal well-being.
Below is a description of how Osteopathic treatment differs from mainstream methods as it perfectly characterises how we approach our patient consultations. I couldn’t have said it better myself….
“The DO (Dr of Osteopathy) Difference
It makes a difference when your physician is trained to truly listen. To pay more attention to you than your chart. To look beyond the symptoms and take the time to get to know you as a whole person”
Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine believe there’s more to good health than the absence of pain or disease. As guardians of wellness, DOs focus on prevention by gaining a deeper understanding of your lifestyle and environment, rather than just treating your symptoms.
Listening to you and partnering in your care are at the heart of our holistic, empathic approach to medicine. We are trained to promote the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing. We practice according to the latest science and use the latest technology. But we also consider options to complement pharmaceuticals and surgery.
We are Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine and the way we practice health care is different. We don’t see patients. We see people.”