Melisa Dzamastagic DO(UK) M(Ost) Med, BAppScOsteopathy

Six years ago I embarked on a journey having no idea the affect it would have on me. It was December and I was in Switzerland trying to figure out how to get up this mountain to Crans Montana. I was exhausted after continuous travel and they said it would be easy to find the funicular, as the path was well marked on the street. In the dark, with five feet of snow and still counting, I guess I didn’t see it. I opted to take the bus and remembered thinking, “What have I gotten myself into? This better be worth it”.

As the bus veered up the mountain, plowing away the snow, I got excited and looking out the window you could not deny the scenery, with all the falling snow, was picturesque. But once in the centre of Crans it was a fairy tale. I saw an ice hockey game being played in the outdoor rink. I guess it was the Canadian in me, but it was magical and it was right then and there that I knew this investment would pay off.

I had enrolled in a post graduate paediatrics program which required me to travel to Switzerland three times a year for the next six years studying a model of Osteopathy I knew very little about. I was in the second cohort of this unique program and I still, to this day have no idea how I got in, as the wait list was rather lengthy. But I do think the universe had a hand in this new adventure for me.

As I sat in the course for the first two days, the material was way beyond my understanding but on another level, absolutely fascinating and intriguing. I was one of the youngest in the group and had never taken any courses in the Biodynamic model of Osteopathy. But I was inspired by my principal at the time and went ahead with her encouragement. Everyone else in the program had several years experience so needless to say plenty of reason to feel intimidated but surprisingly, there were no egos in the room.

The real magic did not happen until the clinic day. Before treating, we started off with a meditation we call “the house under the sea”, a term used by Dr. William Garner Sutherland, the founding father of Cranial Osteopathy. This meditation brings about a level of stillness which we call the “meeting place”. A room in a house, under the sea where we wait in peace, and we are met by our Health. It is a place you cannot get to with your power or will; a place your ego cannot see. It is a place where all the doors and windows are open and you are met by a living presence that touches you and changes you, in such a way that even you are surprised by the transformation within yourself. Once you have had this experience, you cannot go back, it is so beautiful.

But believe it or not, this was not the most memorable moment. What happened next was. As the children made their way up the stairs and into the treatment area, it was as if they were walking on clouds. They were so silent and in awe of the stillness which had saturated the whole space. They didn’t run to the toy box screaming as one would expect kids to do. They simply made their way to the open area and waited to be met by the practitioner and guided to the treatment table. It was incredible! A far cry from what I was use to when I treated kids back home. Screaming, running around the room, completely engrossed by the toy box on the floor. In other words, a real struggle to get them to sit still. I am happy to say my days of utter chaos treating that way, are long gone and parents are always amazed at their kids’ ability to sit still during a treatment.

From the first day, this program has changed me in such a way I cannot put into words. I have met incredible Osteopathic Practitioners from all over the world, whom I have come to love and respect so much that it saddens me that this chapter of my life has come to a close. They have been invaluable to my own growth, both as a practitioner, and person, in ways I could not have imagined.

The clinical experiences alone speak volumes, as both an observer and practitioner. I have cherished so many memories of treatments and Osteopathic insights, that I have enough to write a novel. I have racked up elite-status Airmiles, stamps on my passport and am no longer affected by jet lag. And the most obvious – I have witnessed too many miracles with the children and their families I have treated since then, that I am not the same person I was that first snowy day back in December six years ago. An investment paid off in full.

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