In simple terms, both Osteopaths and Chiropractors tend to treat similar conditions with similar techniques. Especially in the UK, where the two evolved along parallel but converging paths, there is some overlap in approach. In general Chiropractors tend to concentrate solely on the spine for their diagnosis and treatment whereas Osteopaths always consider the spine but also the muscular and joint systems too.
Yes. SAT will yield much better long lasting results providing that you follow the advice of your SAT practitioner, complete the Mindfulness and Pilates courses and partake in regular mindfulness and pilates practice throughout the process.
SAT is a very specialist form of osteopathy in which the injury in the upper cervical spine (i.e a vertebrae which is completely ‘locked up’ in a position out of place from the normal) is put back in the right position. The upper cervical spine area is incredibly complex and intricate and requires an osteopathic practitioner with an exceptional level of expertise to make adjustments effectively here. Many osteopaths will only be comfortable working with the vertebrae from the lower cervicals downwards through the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae and will not work on the upper cervical vertebrae. So, injuries which have accumulated over time in the rest of the spine will be addressed and corrected and you will probably gain some respite from pain and discomfort for some time after the appointment. However, if you consider the spine to be like a chain of ‘links’ or ‘dominoes’, then it becomes obvious why the improvements probably will not be long term; if there is still an injury in the upper cervical’s at the top of the ‘chain’, then even though any problems below may have been addressed, the original root cause still remains at the top of the spine. So in a ‘domino’ fashion, the compensation patterns will return once again to accommodate the ‘out of position’ cervical vertebra at the top of the chain. This will, after a few days/weeks/months lead back to the original pain or discomfort once more and is why repeated trips back to an osteopath or chiropractor are often necessary with conventional osteopathic methods.
Some Osteopaths do adjust the upper cervical vertebrae, but to do this successfully i.e so that the vertebrae do not revert back to their original position again and so that the body can heal fully from the injury – emotionally, mentally as well as physically rather than falling back into the same old patterns – the osteopath needs to fully understand the direction and the force of the impact which originally caused the injury and then have the skill to reverse that injury in just one movement.
And it is this skill which sets apart SAT practitioners. Our treatment resolves the root cause and sets your body on the path to heal itself without ongoing osteopathic input.
Yes, there will be adjustments made. Such adjustments are required to reverse the original injury to the cervical spine. Please see the SAT video below for more information. Such adjustments are not painful and are made much easier if you are relaxed. However, SAT treatment is all about applying the minimal – just enough – input to the body to bring about a change towards a natural state of healing. The Osteopath will work down your spine from the very top, taking out the compensations and realigning your vertebrae as appropriate. However, much of the treatment will also be more gentle manipulation of the muscles and fascia (connective tissue) within the body – so without any ‘cracking’ – along with the very calming techniques of cranial osteopathy. Most patients find that they also gain a huge release and much relief from such gentler treatment. The combination of the two is very effective.
SAT is not a new treatment. The technique was developed in the 1950’s by the Osteopath and co founder of The European School of Osteopathy Tom Dummer.
Tom was – like me – also a musician and had a devout interest in meditation; a combination of leanings and interests which proves very insightful when applied collectively to the concept of healing the body. SAT has been practised ever since the 1950s and indeed some osteopaths have used it in conjunction with strengthening and rebalancing modalities/therapies such as Pilates. Cliff Conway himself (Co-founder of this Centre) has worked in this collaborative way since 2001. Click here to read in more depth about SAT and Tom Dummer.
There are two main reasons why SAT is not more widely recognised today even though it was developed almost 70 years ago:
- Primarily, it is only taught at one osteopathic school in Europe – the European School of Osteopathy; as a concept at pre-graduate level. SAT is also taught at Post Graduate level as a part of an MSC four year osteopathy course. It is a highly specialized and skilled area of osteopathy which requires a very high level of training and expertise. It is very difficult for osteopathic students to achieve this and maintain this level of expertise in practice and requires a very high level of confidence in skill along with the opportunity (i.e a busy enough practice and therefore enough patients requiring SAT) to maintain these skills on a regular basis in practise.
- The preventative and holistic (i.e attending to the whole body rather than an individual part) approach contrasts greatly to the general allopathic conventional medical approach we have in place in the Western world medical profession. Tom Dummer himself stated that ‘osteopathy stood in the middle of views held by conventional allopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine’; in many ways it takes the best from both and aims to bridge the gap. This is certainly the approach we have at our Centre.
One of our principal aims here at this Centre is to raise awareness of SAT and train up further SAT practitioners from around Europe. We are working with Gez Lamb D.O who is the principal specialist in SAT both in practice and from a pedagogical perspective, teaching it in Canada, Russia and throughout Europe. We have already more than doubled the number of practitioners skilled in this area of osteopathy after just one training CPD event.
The course at the Centre has been very carefully and specifically designed to move individuals on from a life of pain whether that is physical or mental pain. At the Centre, our practitioners understand that the two are inextricably linked. They are not separate. If you suffer from physical tension/pain, you will also most likely suffer from mental tension/pain. Tension and pain too, are linked. The problem is that this mental tension/pain is usually not at all obvious to the individual as they are so focussed in on the physical aspect. With every form of physical suffering comes an aspect – usually much larger than we ever realise – of mental suffering and the two feedback to each other, keeping you stuck in a vicious cycle.
The Breathworks based Pain Management Course is designed to help you first become aware of this mental tension/pain and it’s connection with the body and secondly, to work to manage and reduce it by yourself rather than by means of an external source. Along with the SAT treatment and the follow up Pilates course, this forms a whole body holistic healing process; each part is of equal importance in the process of healing.
SAT will only yield the life changing results which I describe in My Story and the former patients describe in their Testimonials if it is undertaken simultaneously with the other two aspects of the Trident Concept©.
It is very important that you move through the course so that both physical and psychological aspects are addressed and healed and so that you can move on to a new life in a much healthier physical and mental state as a whole. We are convinced that once you start moving through the course, you will see the benefit of both, and how they compliment each other. Most patients will also require a Pilates input once the SAT and Breathworks courses have finished. This will be carried out in conjunction with Pilates Tornagrain.
Everyone who attends the Breathworks-based Mindfulness for Pain Management Course – which is undertaken first – and the follow up Mindfulness for Pain Reduction Course will benefit and take away from it tools which are of use to deal with any pain which you endure in the future.
The vast majority of patients progressing through SAT treatment only experience positive effects. However, a small minority of individuals (usually the more severe cases of cervical spine injuries which have been held in the body for many years), can experience an improvement in their pain/tension/fatigue for a convincing period of time and then suddenly, will suffer a sudden relapse into their former painful state. If this happens, it is important remember and trust that this is only temporary and soon you will be seeing improvements once again. Such a brief relapse can be thought of as the Central Nervous System ‘unwinding’ a particular tension or torsion pattern so that it can continue healing. A good analogy is to think of your CNS as like a tangled up chain in your jewellery box or the Christmas tree fairy lights when you take them out of the box each year! In order to get them free of tangles so that they function properly, you sometimes need to feed a long piece of the chain through another knot (and get in a bigger tangle) before you can move forward again! Your CNS works in the same way.
The structure of the entire course of treatment – which begins with the Mindfulness Pain Management Course – has been designed so that the individual is well equipped with many tools and techniques to deal with any ‘side effects’ or ‘reactions’ which the SAT treatment may bring up during your healing journey. You will have all of this at your disposal before the SAT treatment begins – these tools are invaluable and highly effective.
However, most people progress through the SAT treatment without any negative side effects at all, feeling only positive steps forward and witnessing vast improvements in their health. Please read our Testimonials.
Most people will feel gradually more at ease and able to manage and/or reduce their tension/pain as they move through the initial 8 week Breathworks based course. The techniques and tools which you will learn in the introductory course will serve you well over the seven month period. Your relationship with your health condition will begin to change. Most people feel a huge release in their body; a release of tension and decrease in their pain after the very first SAT osteopathic appointment. Many patients feel very relaxed, find it easier to breathe and experience which is often described as like they are ‘walking on air’. Many people also report a boost in energy and a decline in the fatigue following treatment. These changes could be immediate or in the days following the first appointment. For those people who have held an injury in their spine for many many years, the release in pain and tension is often more gradual over weeks and months and is therefore less tangible. Please read our Testimonials.
Every patient is different and surges in improvements can occur at any point, though generally, the longer the persons traumatic history (i.e the longer the length of time since the trauma which caused the lesion in the upper cervical spine), the more complex their presentation becomes and thus it takes longer to heal. There are often very profound positive effects after this initial adjustment and patients walk away feeling elated. However, it takes time for the body to ‘heal’ and it is immensely important that you attend all of your three-weekly appointments and see the course through to the finish to obtain the best result possible for your personal health condition.
Also, the degree of healing available to you is very individual. At your initial assessment, your SAT practitioner will give you an indication as to how serious your injury is and the degree of compensatory effects which have taken place throughout the skeletal, visceral and muscular layers of the body. They will also give you an estimation of the length of the journey ahead and what is realistically achievable for you as an individual.
As you continue to practise the Mindfulness Pain Management techniques which you are taught, the degree of pain/tension – both mentally and physically – will begin to diminish. The follow up Pilates work is imperative to maintain all of the progress which you have made, making your new state of health more permanent.