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

It's all about function.  Monday, December 14, 2009

Over the years I have come to a better understanding of what my real job is.

Physiology is the science of how biological systems do what they do, how they work or function. The osteopathic approach is to access the functioning of the system via its form or anatomy.

My job is not to make the symptoms disappear though, of course, I realize that this is why the patient comes to me and I, too, want this outcome for them.

However, as an osteopath I understand that the way to accomplish this is to concentrate on the way the system is actually functioning. This is also a lot more satisfying for me since it liberates me from the tyranny of the disease and diagnostic labels which the patient shows up with like so much heavy baggage. A label is carved in stone. It allows for little change. We can all do net searches or read the medical literature and learn all about the label and how the medical profession views it and its certain history. Often this is rather depressing. Patients frequently become overwhelmed, to use a word that one person mentioned recently, with all that they read about their label. In addition, they often discover that many clinicians differ in what their most appropriate label is. That brings in even more confusion and frustration.

All of this robs them of the little energy that they have, energy which is desperately needed for their healing journey.

By concentrating on function, on how the system is doing what it does, I am able to keep from getting sucked into this black hole. If I concentrate on the label then I enter into a co-dependent relationship with the patient and I don't find that helpful.

Also, quite frankly, some of the symptoms and labels are packed with such horrendous cultural and scientific baggage that it brings up many of my own fears and feelings of inadequacy. This is just a huge impediment if I am to be of any use to the person who has come to me for help.

So I am delighted to concentrate on what the body is doing in this moment, how it is choosing to function, and to track the changes in this physiology. I can tell when it is going toward health or not. This is a very honest relationship for me.

I know my job. It is to promote normalized physiology, improved systemic function.

When I stick to this then things go well.

I can always promote better systemic and localized function.

That is very satisfying for me.

I take refuge in this.

...........................................

 
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