Author Archives: Katolen Yardley

Why did I choose Manual Osteopathy as an adjunct profession?

Written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) ~ Medical Herbalist

Classical Osteopathy, or Manual Osteopathy is a very gentle non invasive, hands-on form of manual therapy that focuses on supporting the bodies self healing mechanisms to restore optimal health – seeking to address physical structure and resolve underlying tissue imbalances, not only treat symptoms of dis-ease. Manual Osteopathy does not involve pharmaceutical medications or surgery but instead focuses on removing restrictions to physical structure to assist the bodies self regulation abilities within set homeostatic principles.

“To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.” – Andrew Taylor Still MD, DO. Osteopathy Research and Practice

Reviewing the philosophy of Osteopathy, Dr Still, the founder of Osteopathy affirmed several osteopathic principles of which manual osteopathy therapy is based on:

Founder of Osteopathy, Dr Still
  1. The body is considered one whole functioning unit- it is impossible to have injury or restrictions in function of one area without involving and affecting other areas.
  2. Body structure influences the body’s functions – both are interrelated. If any structure is out of place, injured or otherwise not working properly, the body will not function at its best.
  3. The body has self regulating mechanisms which ensure it functions within set homeostatic range.
  4. The body contains self defence mechanisms and the capacity for self healing; when restrictions to function are alleviated, the body can proceed with maintaining the highest state of optimal health possible at any given time.

Dr Still recognised the essential importance of the circulation of fluids to keep tissues healthy, reinforcing the doctrine that the body’s fluids must be allowed to flow without restriction. Thus blood flow and its circulation from head to toe, lymphatic movement and neurological motor and sensory impulses must be without restrictions. The vascular system is involved in sending nutrients and needed oxygen to local cells and tissues as well as removing waste material from a cell for its elimination from the body. The nerves are involved in cell to cell and whole body communication through rapid electrical message relay.

  • Dr Still held the work of the nervous system in high esteem, viewing it as the messaging system or essentially the ‘internet highway’ of the body and spoke of the importance of safeguarding this communication pathway from inhibition.
  • Ligaments hold bones in position- regardless of whether the bones are set in perfect position for unhindered movement of fluids beneath.
  • One cannot work on the soma – the body- without facilitating a degree of change to tissues from head to toe; similarly, dis-ease also manifests as influencing the physical body and its function in some degree or another.

In my personal 20 year quest to comprehend practices (both ancient and modern) that enhance the highest possible expression of health and wellness; the discovery of the philosophy of Osteopathy and how its classical manual techniques can enhance wellbeing – is in alignment with my pursuit.

One of the ways Manual osteopathy can assist with homeostasis is to address the body’s structure, gently impacting the function of any underlying anatomical routes responsible for transporting nourishment to the body’s cells. Here is a possible analogy for better understanding of the Osteopathic process:

  • Full flow of circulation is essential as the flow of blood sends required oxygen full blood, nutrients, immune cells and other vital support to all tissues and cells throughout the body. 
  • The pumping action of the heart along with its electrical system plus the inspire/ exhalation of  lung tissue ensures that oxygenated blood is pumped unimpeded to all cells via the arteries and deoxygenated blood along with waste material is removed from the cells in veins.
  • The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste from a localised area.
  • The nervous systems role is to activate electrical signalling pathways which modulate cardiovascular and pulmonary function, as well as relay motor and sensory information from the peripheries.
  • If any one of these pathways is not functioning as it should, or is impeded or blocked then overall performance would be less than optimal -possibly leading to a domino effect of long term health insufficiencies.  
  • So in the examples of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or Brachial Plexus injury, perhaps there was an initial injury with a bone out of alignment and development of scar tissue; this could potentially lead to a narrowing in the brachial plexus area or shoulder girdle with pressure and impingement on underlying nerves and decreased blood flow. How dis-ease unfolds will be unique to each individual, however some examples of a possible progression: over time there could be possible muscle atrophy in a limb, loss of function and pinched nerves could lead to chronic pain radiating down the arm; numbness and tingling. There may be decreased sensation in the arm, or possibly development of raynauds syndrome with subsequent cold hands and fingers, perhaps even the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.  So the initial injury and changes in structure of the scapula could impact the function of the arm and even lead to symptoms in the fingers.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • A manual osteopathic practitioner would follow the path of the lesion, assessing the proper alignment of fascia, bones and connective tissue above the arteries and nerves, alleviating any restrictions and treat the area of the shoulder girdle and neck, decompressing nerve fibres, reducing pain and trigger points while maintaining range of motion to the shoulder and neck.

In my 20 years of studying health and wellness through my lengthy training as a Medical Herbalist, it is apparent that some causes of dis-ease can be due to restrictions or changes to physical structures.  Certain health states can be benefitted by Osteopathic Manual therapy including structure versus function examples- such as:

  • A client suffering from a concussion who has developed disabling migraines.
  • Lack of movement and immobility in seniors can lower flexibility, decrease range of movement and increase the risk of slip and falls.
  • Adhesions after surgery may affect underlying tissue health and function.
  • Poor posture can influence breathing capacity, enhanced vitality and overall wellbeing.
  • Addressing chronic inflammations and injury related to occupational hazards or repetitive movements in ones occupation (painters elbow, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome).
  • Sports injuries (golfers elbow, swimmers knee) or contact sports injuries.
  • Tissue lymphodema (tissue swelling) related to surgery can be minimised through manual therapy and lymphatic drainage techniques.
  • Individuals with type 2 diabetes, for example, are at higher risk of peripheral neuropathy, have slower wound healing time and experience reduced circulation of oxygenated blood to the peripheries, and are in a higher risk category for development of opportunistic foot ulcers, neuropathies, poor healing sores, trauma and possibly more serious complications. Foot care along with osteopathic manual techniques can play a role in slowing dis-ease progression, improving quality of life and decreasing mortality.
  • A simply fall can change the structural alignment of the body, resulting in bone compression, jarring vertebrae or jamming ribs  –consequently pressing heavily on and possibly restricting blood flow; hindering the movement of clean pure blood in and out of a local region and diminishing motor or sensory nerve supply to areas of specific nerve innervations.
  • Even a simple strain or sprain may impede function of local related structures,
  • This is where the role of the osteopath comes in, a manual osteopathy can locate areas of restriction, treating those areas to free up tissues and underlying structures, enhancing the bodies self healing mechanisms and facilitate greater range of motion and assist in addressing underlying and alleviating possible long term compensations.

In my own journey in this hands-on paradigm, I have experienced alleviation of sinus congestion through the gentle treatment of cranial bones, an increased sense of wellbeing and deep relaxation. I have observed improvement in digestive health through visceral tissue work, as well as observed clients attaining greater range of motion, lessened pain sensations and greater mobility when dealing with chronic health issues.

Gentle repetitive movements are used to stimulate all tissue in a localised area including the fascia, ligaments, joints, tendons, bones as well as stimulate underlying tissues to remove congestion, stagnation, improve blood flow and ensure unimpeded flow of fluids and nerve impulses. While an Osteopathic wellness program is never a one program fits all scenario; manual osteopathic therapy seeks to treat the individual, thus treatment is also tailored to the individual.

Manual osteopathic therapy is the perfect adjunct to the internal use of Phytotherapy (aka herbal medicine) and vice versa, allowing options for client centered health care which offers support both internally and somatically (via gentle hands on treatment). I look forward to offering manual osteopathic care to my clients in the near future.

To find out is Osteopathic manual therapies are right for you, email our office at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group.

Read our previous blog postings on “What is Osteopathy” and “Manual Osteopathic Techniques”.

What is A Manual Osteopath?

About Manual Osteopathic Techniques – written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

Manual osteopathy is a gentle, safe and effective hands-on technique used to enhance the vitality and health for people of all ages while addressing physical issues related to structure and function as well as enhance mechanical performance.

A manual osteopath uses precise palpation skills to assess and treat tissue restrictions to assist in restoring proper balance of structures and remove tension through non evasive techniques.

Utilizing the patient’s case history, physical assessment, orthopedic tests and along with the use of palpation skills for detecting areas of diminished mobility and osteopathic lesions, classical osteopathy techniques focuses on finding the underlying cause of the symptoms, whether near to or distant from the person’s area of complaint. The treatment focuses on assisting the body to normalize any areas of dysfunction.

An individualised treatment plan is created, based on the individual’s unique health history. While it is the clients body which heals itself; the practitioner’s role is to facilitate the initiation and guidance of the process while utilizing vast knowledge of the connections of bones, joints and underlying tissues and their interrelationship to the underling nerves, blood vessels and lymphatic system, encouraging self regulating forces at work to restore homeostasis.

A manual osteopath is trained in numerous techniques including: joint mobilization, muscle energy techniques, soft tissue techniques, myofascial release, still technique, balanced ligamentous articulation, posture assessment, cranial osteopathy or osteopathy in the cranial field and visceral manipulation. A treatment session may include specific exercises and stretching techniques, foam rolling and lifestyle recommendations for greater sustained health.

“The fascia gives one of; if not the greatest problems to solve as to the part it takes in life and death. It belts each muscle, vein, nerve and all organs of the body. It is almost a network of nerves, cells and tubes, running to and from it; it is crossed and filled with, no doubt, millions of nerve centers and fibres to carry on the work of secreting and excreting fluid vital and destructive. By its action we live, and by its failure we shrink, swell and die.” Dr Andrew T Still – Philosophy of Osteopathy

Manual osteopathy can address issues related to:

  • Realignment of the physical body structure to support optimal function
  • Enhancing mobility of joints, tendons and ligaments
  • Strengthening the structure of your body
  • Spinal alignment issues, including those due to poor posture
  • Reducing scar tissue or adhesions from accidents, injury or trauma
  • Restoring range of motion in the joints, aids in releasing muscle tension and spasms
  • Provides gentle corrections to bones, ligaments, tendons, influencing subtle internal structures- promoting proper alignment and full mobility of tissues and flow of fluids beneath.
  • Sports related injury
  • Prevention of injuries or re injury
  • Techniques directed to reinforcing and maintaining of vitality and quality of life

Manual osteopathic therapy may concentrate on the following:

  • Addressing acute and chronic pain.
  • Goal oriented stretching and exercise that engages clients in their own healing journey
  • Stimulation of underlying fluid movement and circulation via manual techniques
  • Stress management, raising endurance and a sense of wellbeing, improving energy and peace of mind.
  • Senior wellness, maintaining quality of life; focusing on injury prevention
  • Fascia work and soft tissue release, facilitates removal of restrictions to internal organs via visceral manipulation
  • Concussion issues, alleviating possible complications and soft tissue injury caused from trauma or accidents
  • In addition to treating dis-ease, manual osteopathy can be used for health promotion and maintenance. Used both for prevention of dis-ease and as part of a wellness enhancement program.

Osteopathy is used to address a variety of health issues, injuries can can also be used as part of a wellness enhancement program. If you want to know if Osteopathy is the right treatment for you, email us today. Vancouver Manual Osteopathy Therapy at Alchemy & Elixir Health Group.

Read our previous blog postings on “What is Osteopathy” and “Manual Osteopathic Techniques”.

What is Osteopathy?

Dr Andrew T Still- Founder of Osteopathy

Written by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) ~ Medical Herbalist

Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Dr Andrew Still, a doctor whose life was dedicated to better understanding anatomy and its impact on body functioning. Despite being a medical doctor and surgeon himself, his 3 young children tragically died of meningitis; consequently Dr Still began looking for safe, non invasive and drug free ways to enhance the bodies self healing mechanisms. He was devoted to understanding health in terms of anatomy and physiology and held the belief that body structure influenced body function. His years of research led him to found a discipline that he titled Osteopathy.

Classical Osteopathy, or Manual Osteopathy is a very gentle non invasive, hands-on form of manual therapy that focuses on supporting the bodies self healing mechanisms to restore and promote optimal health – while seeking to address the physical structure and resolve underlying imbalances, not only treat symptoms of dis-ease. Manual Osteopathy does not involve pharmaceutical medications or surgery but instead focuses on removing restrictions to physical structure to assist the bodies self regulation abilities functioning within set homeostatic principles.

“To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.” – Andrew Taylor Still MD, DO. Osteopathy Research and Practice

Dr Still maintained several foundational beliefs which osteopathic manual therapy is based on including:

  • The body is self-healing and self-regulating and operates as one complete unit. If one area is not functioning optimally, then other areas of the body will attempt to compensate to maintain the highest state of health possible at all times.
  • The human body is comprised of distinct parts, the physical, emotional and spiritual – all levels interrelated in harmony.
  • Body structure influences the body function. If any structure is out of place, injured or otherwise not working properly, the body will not perform at its best.
  • The body’s fluids must be allowed to flow without restriction in order to thrive. Thus unobstructed blood flow, circulation, lymphatic drainage and neurological impulses must be maintained. The arteries are involved in sending nutrients, carrying white blood cells and immune modulators to fight infection, and transport needed oxygen to local cells and tissues. The veins and lymph facilitate removal of waste material from a cell. The nerves are involved in message relay from cell to cell and whole body communication.

Utilizing the patient’s case history, physical assessment and orthopedic tests along with the use of palpation skills for detecting areas of diminished mobility; classical osteopathy techniques focus on finding the underlying cause of the symptoms, whether near to or distant from the person’s area of complaint. The gentle, hands on treatment is focused on assisting the body to normalize any areas of dysfunction. Modern manual osteopathy incorporates lifestyle modifications, exercise, stretching and supplements as part of a wholistic treatment protocol.

Osteopathy is used to address a variety of health issues. Find out if Osteopathic manual therapy is right for you. Email us today. Vancouver Manual Osteopathy Therapy: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group.

Read about future blog postings on “Manual Osteopathic Techniques” and “Why I Chose Manual Osteopathy as an adjunct profession” upcoming.

Herbal Medicine Student Clinic

Approximately once a month, Alchemy & Elixir Health Group runs a low cost student clinic were we offer mini herbal medicine consultations available to the public at a reduced cost.

The consultation is either with an advanced student conducting the consultation (with the clinic supervisor, present in the room) or with beginning students observing the consultation techniques and practicing their case history recording skills. The instructor guides the student through the appropriate assessment and reviews the proposed personalized health program so that you can be confident that you are receiving the most appropriate information regarding your specific health history from the student. Herbal medicine recommendations may include specific herbal teas, medicinal tinctures, capsules, aromatherapy, and topical creams.

The purpose of Clinical Training is for purpose of training advanced students enrolled in herbal medicine programs and enables students to fine tune the art and skills of case history taking, communication skills, learn examination techniques, learn the proper use of medical equipment, and practice their formulating and dispensing skills.

On your first visit to the student clinic, please arrive 15 minutes before the start of your appointment time. You will be required to complete a clinic intake form in advance and prepare a 3 day diet diary of what you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

To book an appointment, please email us at: info@alchemyelixir.com indicating your interest in booking a student clinic appointment in the subject box and we will let you know what upcoming dates are available or place you on a waiting list for the next student clinic dates. In person appointments are available at our Crosstown location, in Vancouver, BC and phone appointments may also be available.

Alchemy & Elixir Health Group Student Clinic

The Art of Herbal Medicine Making

Dive into the art of herbal medicine making and learn how to prepare herbal teas, herbal vinegars, a medicinal salve and infused oil. An instruction booklet will be provided. Learn of the action and medicinal application of herbs used in class for first aid. In this class participants will:

  • learn how to prepare and sample an herbal tea infusion and understand the difference between an infusion and decoction
  • lean how to prepare an infused oil and the various applications for an oil
  • observe the preparation of a herbal salve and take home a small container of medicinal salve
  • prepare and take home a 250ml of medicinal and culinary herbal vinegar

Participants should bring one clean wide mouthed class container (approx 250 or 300ml) with tightly fitting lid, a pen, and a tea cup for sampling tea. Copies of The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies will be available for purchase for $ 25.

About the Instructor

Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) is a medical herbalist and nature knower with over 20 years of clinical and herbal medicine making experience in private practice in Vancouver, BC. She enjoys providing usable tools for optimal health through inspiration and education. She is the author of the “Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies” (August 2016) and current president of the Canadian Herbalist’s Association of British Columbia. She is a clinic supervisor at Dominion Herbal College and adjunct faculty at Boucher Naturopathic College and offers seminars to the general public. Visit www.katolenyardley.com for more information

Date and Time

Saturday, November 2 , 2019 from 9 am – 12:00 pm (3 hours)

Location: Alchemy & Elixir Health Group, Vancouver BC

Cost: $ 95 plus GST

Space is limited- prepayment and pre registration required to save your spot. Email: info@alchemyelixir.com or call 604 683 2298 to pre register. Location address and details will be provided upon registration.

Herbs for Women’s Health

This introduction to herbal medicine specifically for women’s health will cover common herbs for reproductive wellness through all phases of a woman’s life. We will discuss medicinal properties and administration routes of these plants, as well as some recent scientific studies, while we sample some herbal products. Instructor: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) – Medical Herbalist. Date: January 28, 2019. Time 7-9 pm. Location VanDusen Botanical Gardens, Vancouver BC. Contact the continuing education coordinator to register: 604-718-5898.

Herbal Powders: Healthy Herbal Medicine Recipes

Discover how to get the nutritional and healing benefits of herbs into your diet with delicious recipes using finely milled plant material like leaves, bark, flowers and berries. Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG) – Medical herbalist will discuss the benefits of various herbal powders, and the actions of tonic and adaptogen plants. Together we will create and sample herbal energy power balls, herbal immune enhancing hummus, and delicious herbal fudge dessert.

Date: Oct. 19, 2019 | 10 am – 12:30 pm

Location: Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, Vancouver BC
5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1

To Register:

Learning the Basics of Herbal Medicine

Join us for an experiential and informative talk on incorporating herbal medicine into your lifestyle with Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist. This talk offers gems for new and seasoned herbalists alike! We will discuss some back-to-nature home remedies and effective herbal medicines (including kitchen vegetables, spices, well known herbal medicines and wild plants) for common family health issues and ways of using herbal medicines in your home for common first aid, topical application and medicinal use.

Gambier Island Herbal Medicine Making 2019

3rd Gambier Island Herbal Medicine Making Retreat with Katolen Yardley, MNIMH

  • Saturday July 13 until Sunday July 14, 2019
    Partake in a 1 full day Medicine Making weekend with an option of camping overnight on an off the grid property.
  • Learn about local medicinal plants through a herb walk in majestic rainforest and meadow land.
  • Take a water taxi to a stunning quiet Island to learn about herbal medicine making.
  • Enjoy the local animals on property and the gorgeous view overlooking Howe Sound.
  • Collect medicinal and garden edibles for salad and sip on forest chai tea throughout the day.
  • Prepare herbal medicine recipes and learn how to incorporate various local plants herbs as foods and medicine.
  • Join Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist & host Sharon Brown-Horton for this informative workshop
  • Price Includes: 1 day of teaching from 10 am until after 5 pm
    plus 1 hour botany introduction, herb walk & ocean time option and free time to explore on second day.
  • Day 1: Dive into Medicine Making and learn how to prepare lavender whipped body butter, herbal infused oil, herbal snack (power balls) and wild flower herbal sun infusions, a medicinal lip balm, immune vinegar, herbal honey, wild forest chai. Learn medicinal use of local plants.
  • Day 2: Visit to ocean, meandering on a nature walk, reading and enjoying the serene space, optional 1 hour introduction to botany and plant meditation.
  • Introductory Herb identification & Plant family recognition and Wildcrafting considerations will be covered.
  • There will be an option to purchase Katolen’s recent book The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies for $ 25.
Herbal Medicine Making Weekend  
Date: Saturday July 13 &  return home at end of day OR option to camp overnight Sunday July 14, 2017.  Rain or shine!  
Prepayment required. Space is limited –to reserve now.
1 Full Day Medicine Making: $ 145 + GST
Glamping Accommodation: $ 40
Plus  Water Taxi to island = $ 45 Total: $ 237.25
Email: info@katolenyardley.com      
More information provided upon registration. RSVP and prepayment to assure your spot as space is limited! * Limited space is available for & participants to attend the medicine making class July 13 and camp overnight heading home Sunday July 14 around 4 pm. For more information email: info@katolenyardley.com
Katolen Yardley, MNIMH is a medical herbalist and nature knower with over 20 years of teaching, clinical and medicine making experience. www.katolenyardley.com for more information and our host and Thai Massage Instructor Sharon Brown Horton
Chamomile on Gambier Island

Herbs for Digestion

This informative talk will cover how certain herbal medicines can assist digestive health through various actions. Explore the benefits of some common spices and carminative rich herbs, and understand the effects of bitter and demulcent herbs. Participants will sample a digestive tea and demulcent mixture and will take home a small bag of a carminative digestive spice blend. Instructor: Katolen Yardley, MNIMH, RH (AHG)

Copies of The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies available for $25.

For more information about Katolen visit: www.katolenyardley.com

To stay informed of upcoming classes join our Facebook page: Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist

Date: Tuesday | June 4, 2019 | 7 pm – 9 pm

Cost: Van Dusen Members: $31.50 | General Public: $35

Resource person: Adult Education Coordinator, 604-718-5898

Location: VanDusen Guides Classroom | 5151 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, V6M 4H1

To Register: