Osteopathic Medicine

“My object is to make the Osteopath a philosopher and place him on the rock of reason. Then I will not have to worry of writing details of how to treat any organ of the human body, because he is qualified to the degree of knowing what has produced variations of all kinds in form and motion.”

A. T.  Still - Osteopathy, Research and Practice (Page 38)

This course was formerly known as 'An Osteopathic Approach to Internal Medicine'

Dr Still's vision of osteopathy was as a complete system of medicine and he treated everything from acute infections to chronic illness. This included musculoskeletal problems as well as internal conditions affecting organs.

Over the last 140 years osteopathy has gradually lost much of this holistic approach to treatment and now focuses mainly on musculoskeletal disorders.

This course takes us back to our osteopathic roots as taught by A T Still, and reviews the osteopathic legacy of Still, Sutherland, Littlejohn and others.

This course does not cover extensive pathologies but helps us to discover how we can effectively apply the philosophy and principles of osteopathic treatment in conditions affecting our internal health.

A variety of treatment approaches for each organ system are explored as well as how our internal landscape is part of and relates to our musculoskeletal system. This course will extend both your knowledge base as well as your palpation. As we already know, a good knowledge of anatomy linked with accurate palpation is the key to diagnosis and treatment.

This course is truly holistic and will broaden and inspire your approach to clinical practice.


You must have attended Module 2: Osteopathy in the Cranial Field.

Course Content

  • Osteopathic philosophy and principles. - Osteopathy is more than just a collection of techniques, which often defines other manual therapies. Exploration of what makes our system of medicine unique and how do we provide ourselves with what Dr. Still called the “rock of reason”; an understanding and methodology from which we can treat all unnamed conditions. These “conditions” are the organism’s response and adaptations to environmental stresses.
  • The organ systems of the body – A review of the anatomy and physiology of each system, and how the organs influence posture and function of the musculoskeletal system.
  • The circulatory (vascular and lymphatic) system – W. G. Sutherland's cranial model emphasises the importance of the neurological system, but A T Still emphasised that 'The rule of the artery and vein is supreme'. What did he mean and how can we apply this to our treatment? This course is an excellent introduction to directly treating the circulatory system and prepares you for the Rule of the Artery course .
  • Communication networks in the body – The extraordinary speed and diversity of the communication systems in the body is fundamental to the maintenance of homeostasis. We will consider how osteopathic treatment can influence whole body health through the neurological, hormonal, fascial and vascular communication networks.
  • Nutritional – The supply of nutrients and oxygen to every cell in the body is a prerequisite for health. We review the various nutritional pathways, including an overview of how osteopathic treatment can influence the energy balance of the body. This is highly relevant in treating low energy states such as chronic fatigue or adrenal exhaustion.
  • Role of Spinal Mechanics – we review the key osteopathic models of spinal mechanics and their relationship to the viscera; including Osteopathic centres; viscero-somatic & somatico-visceral reflexes; spinal vasculature and circulation

Course Format

The course consists of a well-balanced mixture of short lectures or workshops followed by practical sessions. You will work in small groups of 1 tutor to 4 students, giving you almost individual tuition in the practicals. Time is set-aside at the end of each day for individual reflection and discussion with your tutor. Excellent course notes are provided.

Course Details

This four-day residential course is run approximately once every two years in the UK. Please see our Course Schedule page for details.

Prices & Dates

Hawkwood College
15 - 18 February 2018 £950 (non-residential)
£1250 (residential [shared])

Accommodation at Hawkwood is in shared rooms, a limited number of singles are available at a supplement and allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.


Do I need any previous experience to attend this course?

You must have attended the 5-day Module 2 course, Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, with the SCCO. No previous experience of working with internal organs is required.

How will this course benefit my practice?

You will be able to confidently approach the treatment of internal organs in the body, and this will enable you to treat a much wider range of conditions and symptoms in your patients. Musculoskeletal problems often respond better when the organ systems are included in your treatment approach.

Is this approach to treating the organs painful or invasive?

No, as in any palpation and treatment using the involuntary mechanism, palpation and treatment is very gentle and there are no invasive or intimate approaches. Any dysfunctional tissue of the body can be tender to touch, but treatment is very respectful and gentle.

What next?

Join the SCCO mentoring scheme: This offers a variety of ways of linking with experienced osteopaths to share your successes and failures, to ask questions and learn together.

Write an assignment: The SCCO membership pathway requires 3 written case study assignments. Writing this assignment is an excellent way of reviewing and consolidating your learning from the course.

Join the SCCO pathway: The series of 9 modules explores all aspects of the cranial approach to osteopathy, and is an excellent way to develop your skills.


I loved the enthusiasm of the faculty about the subjects, the high quality of the teaching and knowledge and the lovely sense of community.

The tutoring is fantastic, the content pitched at the right level, it stretches me but I can still take it in. Great atmosphere created by the faculty team.

This course has fundamentally changed my approach and treatment in practice, and now in my practice working with the internal organs blends seamlessly with treatment and understanding of the musculoskeletal system, with impressive results.