Why does osteopathic medicine place such importance on the physical functioning of your body? What makes the working of nerves, muscles and joints such a big thing? In simple terms, our life is primarily expressed through our ability to move.
Whether your life is expressed through great works of art; the physical expression of sports or hard labour; a well tended house or garden, or a child raised with love and wisdom, all of these are achieved through the organised, controlled, skilled movement of your body. While there are many amazing people who achieve great things despite unfortunate limitation of physical function, what they do is express their lives impressively well through the limited function that is left to them.
The mechanical aspects of the body, the muscles, bones, joints along with their coordinating nervous system, are often seen as being there just to transport around the more important vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. The physiologist Irvin Korr turned this whole idea on its head when he explained that the vital organs are just there to support the neuro-musculoskeletal system through which we actually express our lives. Korr summed this all up when he described the neuro-musculoskeletal system as “the primary machinery of life”
Of course many would argue that the vital organs are there to keep the brain alive, and the musculoskeletal system is only needed to move the brain around. This idea is often represented in science fiction, but does this look like anyone you know?
Even here the artist has cheated with the concept. The “brain” quite clearly has a face and arms . . . well if not arms definitely tentacles! Without these appendages it would look much less frightening, how would it brandish the remote control and threaten us with Radio One?
Even the undeniable importance of the brain does not diminish the role of movement, neuro scientist Daniel Wolpert even argues that movement is the reason we have a brain at all. If this seems a bit of a stretch check out his fascinating presentation here. It’s not too long and while there are a few big words included, the message is clear and the presentation is very entertaining.
I hope it is now clear why I spend so much of my time helping people regain or improve their physical function, it enhances their ability to live, really live!