Recently, a group of Japanese therapists, including two from the area hit by this year’s devastating tsunami, came to Rambam. They arrived to attend a workshop on the medical field of osteopathy with world-known specialist, Merwin Waldman. Upon their return to Japan, the doctors will help tsunami victims who have not regained normal function, among other patients
By Roberta Neiger, ProText
Lately, a delegation of 12 Japanese osteopaths, which included two therapists from the region destroyed by the March 2011 tsunami, came to Rambam to study osteopathy with the world-known specialist, Merwin Waldman. For the visitors, the meeting with this Israeli expert was a true privilege, as he is a well-known figure throughout Japan.
Merwin Waldman and his Japanese student
Pioter Fliter - RHCC
Based on the use of manual manipulation, osteopathy primarily diagnoses and treats the origins of pain and orthopedic problems connected with the musculoskeletal system. It is used as a primary or accompanying treatment for many diseases and injuries, both as a means of therapy and of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to treating various pains, osteopathy treats allergies, asthma, digestive problems, sinus ailments, depression, migraine, vision difficulties, developmental problems among children, sleep disorders and other maladies.
"Osteopathic medicine attempts to reduce the amount of invasive treatment and medication to the minimum," explains Waldman. "Very often we help patients avoid operations. The word that best describes our work is rehabilitation."
In osteopathic medicine, therapists’ only tools are their own two hands. This makes it particularly useful in situations where power supplies and medical equipment are unavailable. "In osteopathy we don't rely on electricity or gas, only manual manipulations. I found osteopathy very effective for people who suffered in the disaster," said workshop participant Kazunori Mtsuzawa.
Osteopathy was developed in the USA some 130 years ago. It is now widely practiced in the USA, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and France, among other countries. In the USA, osteopaths are state-licensed and hold MD degrees. Twenty nine American hospitals base their working methods on this medical philosophy.
Merwin Waldman began working in the area more than 40 years ago. He studied in England, his country of birth, in one of the largest osteopathic centers in the world. When Waldman immigrated to Israel 20 years ago, he promised his teacher that he would promote the field within the sphere of conventional medicine, as US osteopaths have done.
“Rambam is the only hospital in Israel that implements osteopathy at the treatment and teaching levels,” he states. “This is an advanced, unique approach that incorporates the method as a regular part of pain medicine”.
One of the world’s most senior osteopathic practitioners, Waldman holds courses in different countries and trains visitors from abroad. He recently established a training center within Rambam’s School of Pain Medicine.
Armed with thick notebooks and a translator, the Japanese guests paid rapt attention during the intensive three-day course. They watched Waldman treat patients, listened to his explanations and practiced on each other. “At the end of the workshop” said participant Kaso Nuri, “we will have the tools to give treatment on an entirely different level.”