One of the principles of Osteopathy is that a person's being is a unified whole. That means that the approach of reducing a person down to their parts and studying those parts independently is limited when it comes to the healing of that person. To fully address a disease process we need to look at that person as a whole. This is the definition of holistic treatment. With this awareness we see that someone's physical body, emotional body, mental body, and spiritual body are all the unified whole. Problems in any level can affect all of the other levels. Furthermore the physical body itself is a unified whole, a problem in any part of the body can affect. Practically speaking, this means that as an Osteopathic physician I consider the context in which someone lives in addition to their vital signs. What are their relationships like? Are they exercizing? If not why? What is their diet like? Why? Do they have meaning in their life? Are they enjoying life? All of these issues tie together. If someone doesn't have meaning in their life they won't be motivated to take care of themselves or their relationships. If someone is not being active and eating well it can compromise the way they feel and affect their ability to enjoy the present moment, consequently negatively impacting their relationships, emotions, mind, and spiritual life. Everything is a balance. Another one of the osteopathic principles is that as part of our being there is a self-regulating force that tends towards health and healing. So the Osteopaths role is to remove the obstacles of the body’s self-healing force. Therefore, this model doesn't see the Physician as the Healer but as the remover of obstacles to the healing process. It is a person's innate healing ability that accomplishes the healing.
Dr. William Starsiak owner and physician at Starsiak Osteopathic Clinic and former associate professor at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine.