Frame of reference: Occupational Therapy and Osteopathy

ooI was talking to a student when I was just roaming around Cavite. I was asked if ever what frame of reference am I using when I am using Osteopathic Techniques. Back then I was actually impressed with the question as such I would like to share these things with you guys.

For those who are not aware of what a frame of reference is it is basically a guide as to how your treatment continuum. The frames of reference pretty much varies with the principles of the profession. As such I would be going into some of the basic guiding principles of each profession. The basic principles in Occupational Therapy is that a person should be brought to the most optimal condition possible so as to be able to perform activities that are meaningful to the person using activities that are important to the person. The basic principle in osteopathy is that the body can heal itself once given the proper input and time. So as to somehow come to common ground I will be reconciling the frames of references used in physical dysfunction in the two professions. This is so as to be able to talk with something in common.

Taking the limitations of the discussion which is limited to the use of physical dysfunction. The common frames of reference in Occupational therapy specifically in physical dysfunction are bio mechanical, rehabilitation and occupational adaptation. These are the physical dysfunction frame of reference for physical dysfunction or at least these are the frame of reference that I can remember. Just for those who have no idea as to what these are the bio mechanical frame of reference are a frame of reference that makes use of improving the mechanical parts of the physical body so as to be able to make the client as functional as possible; the rehabilitation frame of reference is basically about maximizing the remaining capabilities of the client and making use of available technology so as to make the client optimally functional and finally the occupational adaptation is making the job suit the client by using training and technology. Looking at these frame of references the only one applicable when using osteopathic techniques is the bio-mechanical one. The important part to note is that osteopathy has its own frames of reference. I am not quite sure with the names of the osteopathic frames of references but based on what I remember there are the postural, humoral and the neural frames of reference. For a basic discussion the postural frame of reference is the frame of reference that assumes that the body heal itself once the body is in optimal balance; the humoral frame of reference assumes that once the fluids in the body flow around the body optimally the body heals itself better and the neural frame of reference assumes that once the body is able to fully integrate the nerves it is now able to help the body start the healing process.

The thing with Occupational therapy and osteopathy is that while their principles are quite different from one another on one hand occupational therapy needs the healing to come from the motivated person himself while osteopathy assumes that the body is able to heal itself just after minimal interaction. On one hand healing can only be achieved when one works hard enough so as to be able to get healed while the other one assumes that the person does not need much interaction so as to be able to heal itself.

The important thing to remember is that while there are only a limited frame of reference for physical dysfunction, it is important to note that the frames of reference are not entirely native to occupational therapy itself as some of its frames of reference are adopted from other professions as such it is flexible. There are even reports that some occupational therapist specifically in Asia have begun using osteopathic techniques is conjunction with the standard occupational therapy practice with great results. As such I think Occupational therapy and osteopathy while they come from different philosophies is a case of opposites compliment each other.

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