The holistic practice of osteopathy is still relatively unknown — I personally had never heard of it before this article but apparently it’s been around for a long time. Like since 1874 long-time.
There are two branches of osteopathy but the more well-known manual practice is growing in Canada. It’s common in eastern Canada with the 1,300-member Ostéopathie Québec pushing for it to become professionally recognized. But it has been growing in B.C. after the Canadian School of Osteopathy opened in Vancouver over a decade ago. There are just under 100 members of Osteopathy B.C. and they are slowly trickling out into regional B.C.
“A lot of the small towns are slowly starting to have osteopaths and that shows they are being accepted in the community,” osteopathy practitioner Anouk Jarrige said.
She owns Revelstoke Osteopathy & Wellness with her partner William Jarrige and they claim to be one of the most affordable in the province. Which is a good thing for Revelstokians because on the other side of our get-after-it outdoor identity is a host of sports injuries and general body pains that crop up through life.
Revelstoke Osteopathy has run in Revelstoke for about three years now and last month they reopened in their new premises on 222 First Street East, a calm mountain-style clinic with wood furnishings and warm lighting.
They added Wellness to their name as they now include a more rounded offering bringing registered massage therapist (RMT) Kimberly Hayes onboard and naturopathic doctor Dr. Kim Nidderly, ND (Dr. Kim).
Hayes, who has been an RMT here for about three of her six years’ experience, notes that locals take the same enthusiasm to their health as they do the outdoors.
“The neatest thing in Revelstoke is their desire to get better, take their own health into their own hands,” Kimberly said. “Which is pretty promising for a community. It gets me excited because when they’re interested in healing it actually happens.”
Dr. Kim, who begins at the clinic this year, has a similar impression. “My friend who is an RMT often tells me that she sees people who they’ve allotted their day to see their physio, their RMT, and acupuncturist,” she said.
Dr. Kim describes her work as complementary and integrated with conventional medicine. She is a licensed naturopath in B.C. and has prescribing rights so she’s able to determine if antibiotics are needed and won’t hesitate to refer a patient to a doctor or hospital if other medical attention is needed.
“We take a holistic view that is utilising more natural remedies first and really take the time with patients,” she said. “It’s not supposed to be alternate, it’s coupled.”
Miracle cure for local barber’s chronic back pain
“We see a lot of last resort people with chronic pain for ten years who have tried a lot of things and haven’t resolved their problem,” co-owner of Revelstoke Osteopathy & Wellness Anouk Jarrige said.
For a very simple perspective on a complex science, osteopathy bridges the realm of general practice and the natural workings of the body. Where osteopathy differs from conventional medicine is that it looks at the bigger picture and investigates the person’s physical history, such as a fall when they were younger.
Dr. Lora Cruise at the Mountain View Medical Centre agrees that osteopathy is useful in health, particularly with complex muscular skeletal issues.
“In general I am really supportive of all allied health practitioners,” she said. “Having the right person, right place and right time as far as care is concerned.”
“A team is always better than working in silos. We all have our role and our scope.”
For some, osteopathy is nothing short of a miracle. Debbie Hedin, owner of Deb’s Barber Shop, is one of the last resort customers Anouk talks about.
She had struggled with lower-back pain for nearly three decades. Pain that at its worst saw her in bed on weekends, plunged her into depression and nearly made her give up her career and life.
But Debbie persevered. Her job required her to stand for eight hours, often in pain. Professionals didn’t know what to do. After two pregnancies, Debbie thought the pain was from wear and tear or for being a life-long smoker.
“Nobody knew what to do,” Debbie said. “My chiropractor said I was a mystery case. I couldn’t be touched at one point.”
At other times the pain was subtle. Debbie couldn’t sit on hard surfaces and couldn’t walk for any distance. She learned to live with it unhappily.
“I was done. I had been done for a very long time,” Debbie said. “Going on disability was giving up my career, it wasn’t an option. I didn’t know what to do.”
Debbie tried a number of solutions with some degrees of success. She hired a personal trainer, she saw a back specialist in Salmon Arm, tried cortisone injections and sativa seed oil. But last year on a trip to a Revelstoke acupuncturist she learned about osteopathy.
“I was so desperate, at my wits end,” Debbie said. “The research I did confirmed that osteopathy was real.”
An emotional journey, Debbie’s relief and astonishment at her treatment is obvious. Last August she saw Anouk and Debbie says she saw immediate results. She had five treatments in total and the experience was nothing short of a miracle for this mother-of-two.
“Basically the first session, that pain that I had been carrying for 27/28 years, was gone,” Debbie said. “She (Anouk) put pressure on my tail bone for about ten minutes. We could feel the pain. It was hot, it was just intense.”
Debbie’s pain may have been a result of her last pregnancy, when she remembers her son kicking her in her back. She generally now experiences no inflammation and her life has changed. She is back at the gym and recently gave her grandchild a piggyback, something she never could have done before.
This article first appeared in print in Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.