From Ontario to BC: How one health care practitioner set up shop in the Elk Valley

Amanda Mori of Summit Osteopathy makes a difference in the lives of Elk Valley residents

by Danielle Brost
Amanda Mori

Amanda Mori uses her skills and empathy to help her clients lead healthier lives. — Photo courtesy Summit Osteopathy

As a vital business in the Elkford community, Summit Osteopathy offers a unique approach to healing and wellness. Owner Amanda Mori is an experienced practitioner whose passion for osteopathy is changing lives and improving physical mobility for many in the Elk Valley.

In speaking with Mori, we were able to get a glimpse into her world—from her beginning as a kinesiology student to the impact she is now making on individual lives.

— Photo courtesy Summit Osteopathy

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming a registered osteopathic practitioner and what drew you to this profession?

I started off my schooling journey by travelling from southern Ontario to Thunder Bay to embark on my first degree in kinesiology. After 4 years, I graduated with an honours Bachelor of Kinesiology in 2017. It was my final year of my undergrad that I started putting thought into what my next step was. Through some research and google searches, I came across something called osteopathy. With immediate interest, I started doing more research on the profession. After this point, everything fell into place. With the next steps of a campus visit and an interview, I was enrolled in the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in Hamilton, Ontario. The next four years of dedication and hard work paid off when I graduated in 2022, and quickly packed my bags in the middle of online exams to make my move to British Columbia. Fast forward to today, and I am coming up towards two years in business in both Elkford and Fernie, B.C., and couldn’t be more thankful for where my path has led me.

What specific services do you offer at your practice, and how do they benefit your clients?

At Summit Osteopathy, I offer assessment and treatment under an osteopathic manual therapy approach. This approach varies in every single patient of mine, as every body has different needs. We carefully and thoughtfully approach the treatment in a whole-body, holistic way, taking many aspects into consideration such as recreation, sleep and work. As osteopathic manual practitioners, we look at the body as a whole functioning unit, just as a mechanic looks at a car body as a whole. We can’t have one working part without the other for the body to run. This is the philosophy of osteopathic practitioners which, I believe, make us stand out in manual therapy. We assess fascia, muscles, bones, joints and how the body moves overall, as a whole.

How do you approach treatment plans for your clients, and how do you tailor them to meet individual needs?

Treatment always starts with an in-depth assessment and history with the individual patient. Through an extensive history, as well as habits and interests, we start to know our patients a little bit better, furthermore, making them more comfortable for treatment. A lot of information comes in at the initial assessment, which helps build a game plan for treatment. Treatment will be dependent on the person's needs, the person's constitution, the compensation pattern being presented and/or the injury itself. As treatment unfolds, that is when the person and the practitioner have a better understanding of how treatment will take place in follow-up appointments.

Can you explain the principles of osteopathic medicine and how they guide your practice?

Classical osteopathy is based on principles dating back to 1874 when Dr. Andrew Taylor Still founded the profession. The backbone of the philosophy is based off the body acting as a unit, a harmonious whole, which is made up of many different parts that take on a self-healing and self-regulating pattern with movement. The principle of structure and function being interrelated is a core value that osteopathic practitioners strive for in treatment. As we know, the human body is dynamic, and as osteopaths we try our best to restore and find balance within the body. These principles drive my practice as I look for health in all people. I strive to find health, and decrease symptoms by creating motion in the body to allow for blood flow, nerve flow, venous flow, and lymphatic drainage, which are important factors in health.

— Photo courtesy Summit Osteopathy

Could you share some examples of how you have helped clients in the past?

One of the greatest benefits that come from my everyday assessment and treatment is helping people who are desperately seeking relief. A lot of the time, people seek osteopathy as a final hope in diminishing symptoms and getting on the road to feeling better. Nothing is more rewarding than someone leaving the room optimistic rather than defeated about their well-being. Success has come in many different forms, such as, but not limited to, (resolving) acute nerve impingements, neck pain, chronic sciatica, long term digestion issues, pre and post-partum care and infant care. Osteopathy has had benefits on mental health as well, as motion is medicine—in all forms, including manual therapy.

What are some common misconceptions about osteopathy, and how do you address them?

Common misconceptions are often due to the unawareness of what osteopathy really is. People have a hard time identifying the difference between osteopaths versus chiropractors, massage, and physiotherapy. Osteopathic practitioners in Canada use manual manipulation of the fascia, muscles and bones, with absolutely no high velocity thrusting. Treatment is gentle, and effective with the use of the practitioner's hands and palpation! That is truly the most wonderful part about osteopathy. With a lot of specific training, our hands are our only tool.

What are your goals and aspirations for your practice, both in the short term and long term?

Since moving to Elkford, and starting my business in both Elkford and Fernie, I have dreamt about what my future holds in osteopathy. My biggest goal is to help as many people as I can, and to bring light to the end of people's tunnels who are struggling with injury, pain and discomfort with little to no relief. I also have goals to get to know all the wonderful healthcare staff in the Elk Valley, and to teach more people about the wonderful art of osteopathy. If I’m fortunate enough, my big goals would be to start my own clinic, and have wonderful practitioners work alongside me, to provide outstanding care in the Elk Valley. That may be a long term goal, but every day I look forward to what the future holds for me!

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