Tuesday 14 December 2010

Art and Osteopathy = OsteopARThy

Last month, for the first time, I went to the Eastside Culture Crawl.  I would soon find out that I had missed 13 of these yearly events showcasing over 300 local artists this year all over Vancouver.  During that weekend, I must have seen more art in 2 days than I have seen all year.  It is amazing to be amazed, inspiring to be inspired, and impressed by the impressive collections and the depth of human creativity.  It truly is amazing what you can do with a blank canvas.
Since that artful weekend, I have been thinking more about art.  I think it is one of the things that separates us from different species, a privilege to express our minds through artistic expression and different media.  For example, although I am still impressed by how an artist can use the same pencils and oil that I can buy at an art store and use them to turn a blank canvas into something inspiring, I think there is an artist in all of us.  Because if art is our individuality expressed physically, then it doesn’t have to be only on canvas.  It can be in a sculpture, jewelry, and pottery.
But recently, I realized that art can be expressed as friendship.  During this festive season and happy holidays, it is a special time to share with family and friends.  For those who can’t be with family, I hope you will share happy times with good friends.  To me, expressing our friendship is an art form.  We may know what we want in a friend and we might know what kind of friend we want to be.  But it is the expression of those wants toward those close and dear to you that is the art of friendship.  Because similar to the way a beautiful painting can be seen on a studio canvas, the way you treat others is your way to paint a picture.  Similar to a work of art, your friendship can amaze, inspire and impress others.
This leads me to think how art is like Osteopathy.  For those of us who trained in Osteopathy, we know it is an art, science and philosophy.  But for the public, our patients, and the majority, how is art like Osteopathy- what is OsteopARThy?  First of all, I just made up that new word, I am not branching out like Cranial Osteopathy.  As Osteopaths, I think the art is in the way we treat our patients.  Our techniques are the brushes, pencils and oils we use to paint a picture of health.  Unfortunately, we are not starting with a blank canvas.  Our patients come to us with a multitude of colors, a combination of aches and pains, muscle imbalances and joint restrictions.  Our goal then is to simplify, to turn that multitude of colors known as our patient into a blank canvas like when they were in good health, before daily stresses and work, injuries and illness added their cumulative strokes into the painting known as our patient.
Thus, the reason Osteopaths may treat a patient differently, or all therapists in general, is because we may all have trained to use the same techniques, but like an artist using the same pencils or oils that Leonardo Da Vinci used, we will express the artist in us differently.  To me, the best part of this profession is being able to use these simple techniques with our hands to help a patient feel better, just like how simple charcoal helped Da Vinci draw “The Mechanics of Man” and other works of art.

Dickson Wong
Osteopathic Practitioner

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