(Sponsored Article) In France, osteopathy has been a booming business since it gained legal recognition in 2002. But in the United States, the matter is a little more complicated.
Nearly one in two French people have consulted an osteopath, “but in the United States, osteopathy is much less well-known,” explains Katia Ghazi-Dahan, an osteopath practicing in New Jersey. Here, osteopathy is actually practiced by doctors “who prescribe drugs and typically use only a few additional osteopathic techniques.” Unlike in France, osteopathy in the United States is not treated as a separate profession.
When she arrived from France in 2011, following her husband, Ghazi-Dahan discovered an unfamiliar medical landscape. “Here, there isn’t an equivalent to the diplôme d’ostéopathe I earned in France after six years of study.” Starting from square one in an osteopathy doctoral program wasn’t an option, so Ghazi-Dahan earned a license as a massage therapist.
Now practicing in a wellness center—the New Jersey Center for Health Living, in Montclair, NJ—Katia receives “a lot of so-called ‘challenging cases,'” people who have tried everything without results, until someone tells them, “You should try osteopathy.” In France, the runaway success of osteopathy over the last ten years means that patients “would have come to us much sooner.”
“Among the patients I’ve seen recently,” she recalls, “there’s an example of someone who had a back operation some years before, certain lumbar vertebrae had been fused. He was constantly suffering.” The pain medications and physical therapy prescribed by his doctor hadn’t helped. “Thanks to the osteopathic approach, his pain gradually decreased until it disappeared completely.”
Recurring migraines, persistent back pain, digestive troubles, and muscular-skeletal dysfunctions are the most frequent complaints patients have when they come to her office. Thanks to word-of-mouth, Katia has built a solid clientele of patients, some coming all the way from New York, both Americans who “have tried everything” and French people who are delighted to find the osteopathic care they discovered back in France.
True to the philosophy that attracted her during her first year studying osteopathy in Paris, she now wants to share with this side of the Atlantic “that fascinating approach that consists of seeing the human body in its entirety, along with all the interactions between different anatomical structures.” In sessions of 45 minutes to an hour for adults and 30 minutes for infants, she uses “soft handling” to achieve the ultimate goal of osteopathy: “to undo mechanical blockages in order to restore the incredible self-healing capabilities of the body.”