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Bellingham Osteopathic Center

Treatment Approach

In our approach to healthcare, we combine osteopathic medicine and integrative medicine to customize a unique plan of care for each patient, considering your total health: body, mind and spirit.  We will also help you coordinate with your primary care physician and specialists to advocate for your total health and maintain continuity in your healthcare.  Because Osteopathic treatments focus on the whole body, a variety of conditions and health concerns can be treated effectively.

What to expect during your treatment

Initial visits can last up to an hour, and followup appointment are generally thirty minutes. The amount of time will vary depending upon the complexity of you and your family’s treatment needs. If acupuncture or homeopathy are involved in treatment, extra time may be required. After a thorough history is obtained, both from the medical history forms we ask you to complete, and from your interview with Dr. Swan or Dr. Stanley, you will receive a functional and structural examination. This will be in the standing, sitting and lying position, with the Osteopathic treatment and acupuncture being done while you are in a relaxed, supine (on your back) position on a comfortable treatment table. There is no need to disrobe for treatment, but appropriate clothing should be worn. At times during treatment, you may be asked to change positions or to follow certain therapeutic instructions. Most patients find the treatment process to be very relaxing and supportive.

Treatments involving Osteopathy in the Cranial Field and Cranial Biodynamics involve gentle palpation and hands-on treatment. This will involve the areas of the body associated with resolving your structural and physiologic issues, and may not always be in the areas you are experiencing pain or have injured. These will include your feet, tailbone, pelvis, spine and head. An important part of the Osteopathic perspective and treatment involves treating the whole patient simultaneously, as the tissues, fascial planes and fluid fields of the body are all completely connected to one another. The treatment process balances the autonomic nervous system, which relaxes the nervous system and can induce sleep, and promotes a sense of deep, gentle emotional and physical release. The patient’s perceptions during treatment do not necessarily equate with a treatment response, as only approximately twenty percent of the treatment process is completed during the appointment. The remainder of the effects from an Osteopathic treatment process over the next few days, as the layers of compensation and strain gently resolve in a physiologic way.

The physicians at Bellingham Osteopathic Center are fully trained in the many modalities available in Osteopathy, including muscle energy, balance membranous tension, myofascial release and high velocity/low amplitude. These will be incorporated into your treatment if it will be of benefit. All of these modalities are performed with very little force, and the underlying principle is that an Osteopathic Physician’s job is to release the inherent healing capacity within the patient. Any modality and treatment process will be discussed with you, and your comfort is always a primary concern. There are no specific contraindications for Osteopathic treatment, although a particular technique may not be appropriate in an individual patient due to their condition or preferences.

What to wear for your treatment

Patients are treated fully clothed, except for shoes, glasses, hats and jewelry. Please wear comfortably fitting clothing, or bring some with you, if possible. Please refrain from wearing perfume, cologne, aftershave or other strong fragrances, as some of our patients and staff are chemically sensitive. It is most beneficial for you to be in a relaxed state for your treatment, so try not to schedule too many other appointments of events the day of your treatment, so that you can receive the greatest possible benefit from your appointment. Bring something nonstressful to do, in case you need to wait a few extra minutes for your appointment.

What to expect after your treatment

Generally, patients feel relaxed and peaceful after a treatment, and most notice immediate improvement in their health. Occasionally patients experience fatigue or soreness after a treatment, which is a normal part of the healing process, and indicates that the injury pattern or dysfunction is beginning a healing process. The amount of time, and number of treatments required to resolve an issue vary, depending upon the complexity of the problem, and how long it has been present. In most patients, significant improvement occurs within four to six treatments.

What to do after your treatment

Because the various patterns of fluid, tissue and bony restriction are resolving after treatment, please refrain from high levels of activity or stress for at lest two days following a treatment. Activities that are part of your normal routine are fine, as are exercises that expand and relax the physiology. These include yoga, swimming, hiking gently, Pilates training and other stretching programs. Your physician may also give you exercise and lifestyle suggestions that are adapted to your situation specifically.