Monday, November 21, 2005


I spent part of this morning with a strange man wrapped around my mostly naked body, as he urged me to aspirez, whilst squeezing me and bending me tightly.

Yes, pretty much your standard Monday morning session with the Osteopath.

The sign that he was going to be good was the fact that I couldn't get an appointment with him for weeks. As I trundled across town this morning, I was mentally preparing the recitation, in French, of my long history of back problems.

I have a huge admiration for ostepaths. Once they've stripped you down to your underwear they watch you for a minute or so as you stand, rather self-consciously, facing a wall. They treat the body as a whole (and quite often have a previous profession in dance before moving into this medical field).

Within 30 seconds he asked me what age I was when I had damaged my ankle - a sprain or fracture? (answer: fourteen years) and then moved around to face me and ask me to open my mouth wide a couple of times as he watched my jaw movements. I have a large tension in the left side of my jaw which is the reason for my headaches and sporadic pain behind my ears, apparently.

Then he moved onto my back. He came to the same conclusion as the chiropractor that I had when I was sixteen: when I was very young I must have had a big fall and landed down hard on my bum. Except no-one in my family can think of where or when this might have been.

The bottom part of my spine is ecrasé (crushed) from the cocyx to the fifth vertabrae up. It twists around, providing a dip and curve in my lower back that shouldn't be there. Meaning there's no vertabrae to work on popping back but long term care and soins to generate a little more suppleness and wellness in the region.

All this means that when I'm tired and stressed and the muscles are knackered from travelling with heavy bags, my back simply and painfully gives up.

The odd part (if you're still reading by this point) was when he looked at my central torso. Apparently, I have a lot of tension and problems here and he started asking about problems with my lungs when I was a child or asthma and allergies, breathing in fumes (no, no and non, unless you can count recent exposure to paint fumes, which apparently I can't).

Continuing in his attempt to track down the potential exposure of my fumes problem... 'What did my parents do as a profession?'... When he asked what Dad did, and I replied "he wasn't there", he followed up by enquiring what age I was when he left. "Ahhh, I think that was difficult and you have a lot of problems here" - pointing at my centre. It was the only time I've felt a bit hokummed by an osteopath. But it's also something to add to my list of reasons that Dad won't be at the wedding! (Aside to my sister - it's a joke, laugh...)

The rest of the session was given to very gentle manipulations of the spine, cocyx, neck and breastbone. I say gentle, but it bloody hurt. Before the final curling and squeezing at the end.

So, I have another séance in a couple of weeks and a few simple daily stretching exercises to keep me busy in the meantime. That's when I miss English carpets, since stretching out on the shiny, hard parquet is not quite as comfortable as the blue swirly carpet of my childhood. Never thought I'd miss the 70's turquoise paisley patterns, but I do now!

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