Health and Fitness

The Spanish Flu Pandemic and the Current COVID-19 Pandemic

The American Osteopathic Association just published an article titled “Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Techniques Addressing Respiratory Symptoms of COVID-19.” It demonstrated and explained several simple techniques that may have profound effects on our respiratory patients.

Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 people die in the United States every year from influenza. It is estimated that approximately 675,000 people died during the 1918 to 1919 Spanish flu pandemic.  This was out of a population that was approximately a third of the current size.Currently it it is estimated that as many as 200,000 people in the United States may die this year from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osteopathic Manual Medicine techniques assist with mobilization of fluids and activation of the bodies immune system and assist the patient’s body’s ability to heal itself. OMM provided a significant benefit to countless patients 100 years ago. It is no less relevant today.

Simple techniques such as rib raising, suboccipital release, lymphatic pumps and soft tissue techniques help to mobilize fluids and improve aeration

There are many accounts in the literature of the past 10 to 20 years warning of the coming pandemic. Since it has been 100 years since the last grade pandemic, we were overdue. This, combined with the current great deal of travel made it all the more likely.

Hopefully, next time we will be better prepared from a equipment and technical standpoint. What we always will always have at our disposal however, is the ability to use our hands to treat our patients. The greatest gift we can give is to assist our patients own body’s ability to heal itself.


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