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Healing hands help patients to overcome pain through use of manual osteopathy

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When you fall ill or have bodily aches and pains, it typically means a quick trip to the nearest doctor or other medical professional. Sometimes, it can also involve a trip to the chiropractor, osteopath or other naturopathic doctor.

And, from May 8-14, during Naturopathic Medicine Week, a seven-day span is set aside to think about the work these professionals do and how they can help you in your journey to balance and wellness.

Locally, there are many chiropractors and massage therapists who help people find physical health and maintain proper bodily function.

One such professional in the naturopathic medicine field is Heather Bednarski, who is a manual osteopath and owner of Diamond H Essentials.

“I have been an osteopath for four years, but originally went to school to become a registered massage therapist (RMT),” she said. “While there, I specialized in an osteopathic technique called Lensen.

“When I graduated, I enjoyed that portion of it so much that I thought I should pursue more of the health field and then took the remaining training.”

In total, it took Bednarski three years to get to where she is, noting that the specialization in her RMT training helped with that.

“I had a basis going into the program, so I only needed to complete one more year of training,” she said. “If I wanted to get my doctorate it would take five years.”

Osteopathic treatment falls into the field of natural medicine and has been around for more than 1,000 years.

“Most people don’t realize that physiotherapy, chiropractic and massage therapy are all a a piece of what osteopathy is built from,” said Bednarski.

“They all work to balance the muscles to realign the bones and joints.”

When someone comes to visit Bednarski, she begins to assess as soon as the door opens.

“I look at the structure of the body,” she said. “Where are the shoulders, or the creases of the elbows? How does the person move? I look at a lot of different things, including how they step, which tells me a lot about balances in the body.

“I look at people and try to figure out what’s wrong before they tell me.”

Along with taking a look at body movement, Bednarski also talks with each client about what their concerns are.

“If someone comes in with a complaint about an area of pain, I don’t just address that specific area,” she said. “I want to address the whole body.

“If someone comes in with a low back issue, I won’t necessarily start there because there’s usually something going on in the neck and shoulders or the rib cage that will contribute to the low back pain.”

Each treatment is a manual adjustment, by use of Bednarski’s hands alone.

“I manually manipulate each individual vertebrae, the pelvis and various joints to realign the body,” she said. “It is a variation of the typical manual osteopathy you might find if you Google it, because I needed to adapt it to work on the elderly, who made up a large portion of my early client base.

“I also deal with muscles, soft tissue damage, and the visceral stuff - internal organs, because it means something is out of balance there.

“Before I focused on osteopathy, I was doing massage, essential oil raindrop massage, and working with cold wave lasers,” Bednarski continued. “The goal was to help people feel better and not have pain.

“I no longer do massage, as there are plenty of other people in town who can do that, and focus solely on osteopathy.”

Bednarski notes that she works alongside other health professionals.

“It depends on the doctor, but some will send clients to me,” she said. “I’ve also had referrals from chiropractors or physiotherapists because there’s a situation I can deal with a little more easily.

“I’ve also sent clients to the chiropractor, or doctors, if there’s something outside of my expertise.”

Because the most common reason someone comes to visit Bednarski is pain, she works to relieve that pain.

Working on clients anywhere from four weeks old to nearly 100, and people from across Canada and the US, Bednarski noted that she focuses on the people.

“This is all about connection and loyalty for me,” she concluded.

“The people are important and I want to see them living healthy, balanced lives.”

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Jessica Bergen
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