Balanced Ligamentous Tension

W.G. Sutherland's Approach to the Body as a Whole Using the Principle of Balanced Ligamentous Tension - An essential aspect of our everyday osteopathic practice is treating peripheral and spinal joint strains and sprains. This large but relatively little known body of knowledge described by W. G. Sutherland gives us a precise, gentle and effective way to treat all the joints of the body.

Why does a traumatised joint (such as a sprained ankle) remain vulnerable to injury long after the original injury has healed?

Using the principle of Balanced Ligamentous Tension osteopaths are able to feel the directional forces imposed on the ligaments in traumatic joint injuries. Once you have learned to apply these principles you will be able to understand exactly how a joint was strained, even if this was many years ago. By engaging the self correcting forces of the body to rebalance the ligaments the joint can return itself to a balanced state of health. This makes it much less vulnerable to re-injury.

Our lineage back to Still:
'Dr Still has taken my hand into his...'
Members of the SCCO faculty learned these techniques directly from Dr Anne Wales. Dr Wales learned them from Sutherland and this takes our lineage directly back to A.T. Still.


This course is open to any qualified osteopath.

Course Content

  • Balanced ligamentous tension principle for spine ribs and pelvis
  • Balanced ligamentous tension principle for peripheral joints
  • The anterior fascia
  • Lymphatic circulation
  • Introduction to the treatment of internal organs

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.

Next steps

Use this approach: There is no better way of learning to use these techniques in practice than to use them on your patients. Do not be discouraged if it does not work perfectly first time, practice makes perfect. Keep your course file in your treatment room, and refresh your memory as you apply these principles. 

Mentoring scheme: The mentoring scheme has opportunities for joining study groups, or you could form your own study group with a few friends to practice the techniques. You may also want to observe an osteopath using this approach in practice.

Repeat the course: You might want to consider repeating this course. There is a lot to be covered on this course and it is difficult to remember it all afterwards. Good course notes are provided. We recommend students take this course more than once to enable them to work with increasing depth, precision and effectiveness.

Dates & Prices

Hawkwood College
17 - 21 May 2018 £995 (non-residential)
£1250 (residential [shared])
Hawkwood College
16 - 20 May 2019 £1370 (non-residential)
£1520 (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 have to take Osteopathy in the Cranial Field before taking this course?

No, this course is open to anyone. It is particularly suitable for new graduates who want to learn this approach to treatment.

How will I remember all the different techniques?

This course covers almost every joint in the body, and there is a lot to remember. But excellent course notes are included, and it is a good idea to keep these at hand in your treatment room and refer to them regularly.

Do I have to be a model for other students during this course?

Yes, as on every SCCO course every student is expected to be a model. It is a useful learning experience to feel the treatment from the patients perspective. Our experienced faculty monitor practicals closely to ensure that the techniques are correctly done.

What our students say

This course has revolutionised my treatment of the shoulder

I enrolled on the Sutherland Balanced Ligamentous Tension course as a recent graduate and it did more to broaden my scope as an osteopath than any other course I have ever taken. At the time I was working at a gym and treating a lot of sporting injuries. After taking the course I was suddenly able to treat conditions like ankle sprains, meniscus tears and rotator cuff injuries with such efficacy that I was putting the resident physio out of business! The great thing about the course is that you don’t have to have any prior training in the cranial field and it is a wonderful bridging course between the structural training we receive as undergraduates and the mysterious world of ‘cranial osteopathy’ Actually, the course demystifies the process of cranial work andgives very practical, specific techniques for releasing virtually every joint in the body, from head to toe.I have taken the course several times, and have learned something new each time. My practice is now composed largely of babies, children and pregnant mothers, and the BLT skills are as applicable as they ever were. Don’t pass up this opportunity to learn a valuable new way of working.

Words cannot describe! Inspirational and a credit to SCCO! I hope I get to experience the gentle yet awesome teaching approach again.

Thank you to all the tutors for an outstanding course. That is the best course I have ever been on! I will probably repeat it next year and other courses will just have to wait. I brought so much with me back home!