The first visit involves a detailed history and physical as well as a diagnostic osteopathic treatment. This first visit is scheduled for 1-2 hours and the cost is based on the time spent. Review of paper work and medications is included.
Whatever your primary reason for coming, it will be addressed in the first visit. However, even if your concern is a simple single system issue, for example, back pain, I will review many aspects of your life, which are important to health and vitality including what you eat, your sleep, preventative health measures, medications and more. Through this process, I am able to get a larger view of the factors that contribute to your wellness. Although there may not be time to review all of the pathways for healing in the first visit, an initial treatment map will be developed. You may choose to only utilize one or two tools suggested – i.e. only Osteopathic treatments, or treatments and exercises. During subsequent visits I will review various options that will allow you to move forward in healing.
If your primary concern is a complex medical issue such as chronic migraines, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disease or digestive difficulties, development of a treatment plan can be more extensive. After your visit I will spend time reviewing your chart and any medical information from other doctors or health practitioners, which you are able to provide. I will spend time in research and meditation before determining the tools that would be most appropriate to use in your healing process. Over the first two to three visits you will be given information about a variety of options to improve your health and ameliorate your symptoms.
It is recommended that you schedule your first follow up visit for one week after your initial visit. This allows me to assess your capacity to change and integrate changes and to redirect the treatment if it is necessary. If you are significantly improved after the first visit but not 100% better it is still important to follow up within one week to move the treatment to the next level. After this first follow up, if you need further visits the timing will be determined by the clinical situation. The range of frequency is weekly to every two months. In some cases, patients who are fully recovered come between once a month and once a year for wellness treatments. Others chose to come only when there is an acute issue.
Follow up visits last 30 minutes and are either treatment focused or used for consultation. A consultation would include discussion of issues pertaining to hormone balancing, nutritional work, lab follow up or other concerns. It is important to clarify your need for either a treatment or consultation before your visit and when possible to let the office know ahead of time. Treatments require at least 20 minutes and up to 30 so it is not possible to do both consultation and have a treatment in a single visit.
After your initial visit, phone visits can be scheduled to follow up on hormones, lab work, nutritional recommendations or other concerns. If the patient is your child or you have difficulty sitting, an initial phone visit can be arranged to do a significant portion of the first visit as well as to discuss follow up issues. This alleviates the need for your small child to spend long periods of time waiting and listening. Email communication can also be used for issues requiring research and follow up. Phone consultations and emails are billed at regular rates and will be based on time spent. There is no charge for brief calls and brief email responses. If there will be a charge for a phone call or email you will be informed prior to the email or call.
Osteopathic treatments using the Biodynamic Model of Osteopathy are generally extremely gentle and often quite subtle. I may spend much of the session with my hands on your feet, or your head or your back, sitting quite still. Some people are aware of a variety of sensations throughout their body, such as warmth, movement of fluid, or a sense of opening in the tissues. Other people don't feel anything except my hands resting on them. Some simply feel very relaxed or even sleep through a session. All of this is fine and will not affect the efficacy of your treatment. Over time what you notice during a treatment may change, as part of what occurs during every session is somatic education. This somatic education is vital part of the treatment and is part of what allows a treatment to be integrated and create lasting well being. You will know treatments are working because your symptoms will change and you will feel improved health and vitality. This can take up to three days after a treatment to manifest. Sometimes many months after a treatment you will recognize a shift or change in your body that can clearly be attributed to your treatment process.
Despite the standardization of Osteopathic Medical education, all Osteopathic physicians practice in very different ways. As all people are unique it is impossible to predict exactly what your experience will be after a treatment. There are, however, some things that many people experience.
If you are suffering from pain, you should have some relief. Whether you have complete resolution of your pain or a small decrease, and whether it lasts for a few hours or days or weeks is dependent on many factors. Some of these include ongoing or new stress or trauma or repetitive use, other chronic illness and current healing potential, diet, exercise, use of tobacco, and how long you have had the pain or injury. Occasionally people have increased pain immediately after a treatment. This is an indication that the treatment was more than the body could integrate and useful information for guiding future treatments. Generally the increase in pain is short lived and followed by significant improvement. Sometimes you will not notice a change in your pain level but instead will notice ease in other areas—for example better sleep or decreased cravings. These are indications that your reserve is stronger and your capacity for healing your injury has improved.
Regardless of your primary concern, you may notice a sense of ease and well being. You may find you sleep better, especially the night of a treatment. You may feel more vitalized, more centered or more focused. Over time you may notice your system is stronger and you suffer from less pain, discomfort and viral illnesses such as the common cold. You may notice increased desire to exercise or eat in a healthy way. It is likely that you will become more aware of your body, it's needs and sensations, and through this awareness will come an increased capacity to hold healthy patterns and let go of unhealthy ones.
One of the most interesting responses to a really refined Osteopathic Treatment is a sense that it was not the treatment that resulted in the improvement in symptoms. Patients often say, "I am not sure what happened but my pain is completely gone." Working within the Biodynamic Model this response is a result of using the healing forces of the body to effect change rather than applying an outside force. In a sense there is no imprint of the treatment and so it is difficult to have an intellectual understanding of how the change occurred. The beauty of this is that it really is your own health allowing the change to occur which means you have found the path to Health on a cellular level and are not dependent on the physician.