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Notes from the Practice of Harold Goodman, D.O.

Learning and Relearning Osteopathy  Saturday, March 03, 2007

I recently returned from Orlando,Florida where I helped teach a five day course in Cranial Osteopathy for 21 physicians, residents and medical students. I have helped teach this course before and will be helping to teach a similar course in Tucson, Arizona in June, 2007.

Maybe you have had the experience of reading the same book more than once. I have done this several times. Each time, it seems, it is like reading a totally new book. Of course, it is me that has changed, not the book. It is not the same person reading the book.

It is the same thing with teaching and medical practice in general. Every time I help teach a course I experience it differently. This last time I was taking a lot of notes. Most of the students I had around me were sitting and quietly listening. Few were taking notes. When they were it was somewhat sparingly.

One of them leaned over and asked why I was taking so many notes. " I am so excited by what I am learning. I want to write down enough to jog my memory so that I can carry this back to my practice," I told him. He was surprised, he said, that someone who has been in practice for 17 years doing this work full-time would have so much to learn from what was billed as an introductory 40 - hour course. I explained to him that it is precisely because I do this on a daily basis that I find these lectures and presentations by my colleagues to be so valuable. They are sharing what they do. We are all supposedly doing the same thing but we are all doing it in our own unique ways. I find this amazingly creative and inspiring.

When I returned to the office I thought, My patients are in for a real treat! And, indeed, patient after patient related to me how satisfying these treatments were. I told them that I had learned things which enabled me to go deeper with what I was doing.

The human skull (cranium) is formed in cartilage and membrane. The base ( bottom) is formed by compressive forces in utero in cartilage. The rest (the vault) is formed in membrane. All of the 12 cranial nerves that come from the brain and which essentially control the rest of the body function exit the bottom of the skull via the membrane. The same goes for the blood supply to and from the brain.

Because the base of the skull is formed by compressive forces it can become very hard. Osteopaths can feel the relative hardness of the bones of the skull. The harder they are, especially in the base, the more problems that patient will have in many areas of life and body function. Using very gentle cranial manipulation I am able to get these areas of the skull to soften enough so that the patient can finally begin to really feel like a human being instead of someone who is trapped in an unyielding box.

Besides compressive in utero ( before birth) forces such hardness and jamming of cranial bones can also come about from traumas both physical and emotional. The release of this tension brings tremendous relief.

When I returned to my office I found several new patients both adult and children who had extremely hard heads. The work that I was able to do was immediately noticed by the patients. I know that these people will go on to do well.

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