Doctors say spirituality is important component of health

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(Lewisburg) Doctors at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine say spirituality is a necessary component to achieve healthy outcomes. They’re giving a talk on this as part of Lewisburg’s “Celebrate Osteopathic Medicine Week”.

It’s a tenet of osteopathic medicine: wellness isn’t just in the physical body. Dr. Robert Foster osteopathic physician and teacher at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine explains saying, “You can have people who are in the midst of a divorce or that have just lost their job or have some emotional or even spiritual challenge and they can begin having headaches or breathing problems or even chronic longstanding pain like fibromyalgia.”

Osteopathic physicians like Dr. Foster say diagnosing a patient is about more than just physical symptoms. Dr. Foster said, “If we’ve used the tools that are there to treat the physical body then we need to start looking at what else is going on in your life.”

Breaking through to the patient’s spiritual and emotional side can take different forms. Chris Guathier a second year med student at the school and the President of the WVSOM chapter of the Student American Academy of Osteopathy explained saying, “If I’m working on a patient, I’ll have them breath, and I’ll breath with them. And being able to connect with somebody in that way facilitates the release of those muscles and of that fascia.”

The doctors say you don’t have to see an osteopathic physician to achieve positive health outcomes. Just spending a bit of extra time talking to your healthcare provider about what’s going on in your life can do the same thing. Guathier said, “That’s as much important of a process as the antibiotics.”

And while achieving spiritual health may look different for everyone, according to osteopathy, spiritual health follows the same basic tenant. Dr. Foster said, “Once you find out that you can do more for others even though you are suffering yourself, then you become more spiritually healthy.”

If you want to learn more the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine will host a presentation called “Spirituality and Osteopathic Medicine” Thursday evening at 5:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown

Multimedia Journalist

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