The Body Adjustment

With the exception of treatment given in the case of acute disease and other certain conditions, osteopathic techniques were always applied under the aegis of the general treatment.  There has been a total rebuttal of this first great principle in Osteopathy and operators are content to give only local treatment directed to the painful area indicated by the patient.

Such a limited viewpoint represents the absolute negation of the second great principle, namely, the integration of all parts of the body, anatomically, mechanically, and physiologically.  This is a broad canvas, and if there is detail it must be made to bear a right relationship with the unit body if the condition is to be resolved and the patient stabilised.

The term “general treatment” fell into disrepute and soon became a background for the so-called ‘specific’, or ‘replacement’, techniques which are entirely anatomical in concept and have no concern with the body mechanics, or function.  To give a treatment called ‘general’ gave rise to boredom and led to scant attention to the finer points of our manipulative procedures.  It was for these reasons that the old title was abandoned and the new term “body adjustment” substituted.

The truth is that the general treatment, body adjustment, full treatment, or whatever name is chosen, is the very fabric of our manipulation and demands our closest attention every step of the way.

The technique employs the long lever and deals with all tissues conjointly with only special emphasis where it is necessary.  The method is deliberately routine in order to ensure that nothing is missed in diagnosis and, further, to establish the lost rhythm so often lacking in the patient. The limb leverage is powerful and brings into play every muscular insertion into the spine and into the pelvis, yet the effect is gentle, smooth and relaxing.

The objective is the restoration of the internal environment and thus provide those conditions essential for the recovery of the lesion state. Without such preparation the good effect of spinal correction is limited and short-lived;  in fact, in a great many cases, the general body adjustment will be enough for nature to make the recovery without any local, or specific, work whatsoever.

But, perhaps, the most important aspect, and the most important argument in support of this traditional technique is to be found in the long-term effects which are stable and stress resistant.  Finally, it must be said that although the technique is loosely and freely given, it must be precise and accurate in execution.”
John Wernham
Copyright © IPR John Wernham 1980