Young plant held in cupped hands

Our Foundation course is perfect for anyone who is curious about the anatomy and function of these areas and would like to discover more about the five principles of osteopathy as developed by William G Sutherland.

Enjoy the high quality tutoring for which the SCCO is renowned in a student to tutor ratio of 4:1. This enables individual tuition and guidance as you learn to palpate and interpret what you feel. Each day includes a balance of theory and practical sessions, with regular breaks, to facilitate learning and minimise fatigue. There will be time for discussion about how you might apply this new perspective to patients you see everyday in practice.

A pre-course home-study package is provided in order to maximise time for practicals and learning.

Course Content

Each topic is followed by a practical session, to gradually develop your confidence in centering and monitoring throughout the course.

  • Introduction to Sutherland’s five principles
  • Basic overview of embryology and why it is relevant to this work.
  • Anatomy and function of the reciprocal tension membrane
  • Bony anatomy of cranial base and vault, and review of landmarks of the cranium
  • Sacrum and pelvis
  • The fluid body
  • Basic anatomy of the face, landmarks.

Further Study

For further study of osteopathy in the cranial field, join the SCCO 5 day course Osteopathy in the Cranial Field.

Plan Your Own Course

The 2 day foundation course can be arranged on dates and at a location to suit you. There is a minimum requirement of four students. So if you can gather a minimum of 4 osteopathic colleagues or friends, we will provide you with a tutor to teach you the introductory course at your own practice or a mutually convenient location .

Book Your Course

Book Your Course

Forthcoming opportunities to take Module 1: Foundation Course



What our students say about Module 1: Foundation Course

“One of the best courses I have attended since graduation.”

“Exceeded my expectations – surprised at speed and confidence in ability.”

“Turned into an exciting discovery and realisation that a whole new level of palpation was possible in the body.”

“I felt very well supported throughout the session, with constant feedback and encouragement. The reminder about standing back has helped me to progress into deeper palpation and further centering. It was a gentle reminder that opened up the focus and deepened it. There were many ‘light-bulb’ moments. Thank you!”

“I really appreciate the “easing” in approach. I think being dropped in the deep end would have been really difficult but I feel there was enough basic discussion to pull together the more difficult content.”

CPD Scheme

CPD Scheme

How this course maps to the GOsC CPD Scheme

On completion of this course you should be able to:
To achieve the learning outcome you must demonstrate the ability to:
1 Centre and ground self to enable effective palpation Take time to get comfortable and centred before palpation. Identify when not comfortable, and take appropriate action. Appreciate relevance of centring, before and during palpation. Describe strategies found to be effective and will continue to be practiced.
2 Develop perception of non linear phenomena. Monitor a colleague without disturbing them. Begin to recognize when not feeling IVM, and take appropriate action to refine centring and monitoring. To perceive and describe, in general terms, the 3-D shape change to which you experience. May be able to compare “actual” shape change and begin to describe the qualities, shape, symmetry and rhythm of motion present.
3 Communicate:

  • for learning
  • for practicals
  • with patients
Show appropriate respect and care towards colleagues and tutors and be able to contribute in all group learning activities. Regularly check that model and contact are comfortable. Be receptive to suggestions from tutor and be able to exchange comments with colleagues to help one another learn. With patients, to communicate effectively about hand holds and monitoring so as to obtain consent, and monitor shape change alongside familiar osteopathic evaluation and management.
4 Build knowledge of osteopathy and osteopathic principles. Relate Sutherland’s hypothesis to familiar osteopathic concepts and principles. Mime the theoretical shape change for whole body, the cranial vault , base , sacrum, RTM and face. Identify most bones of the skull, put together the neurocranium and suggest some external landmarks for accurate palpation. Recognize gaps in theoretical knowledge of anatomy, physiology and osteopathic principles and take appropriate action.
5 Diagnose Identify patients who would benefit from referral for OCF. Identify function and dysfunction from observation, active and passive motion testing, and palpating the IVM of related areas in order to build up a “ sensory library” of experiences.
6 Treat Recognize spontaneous self corrections (as practitioner or model) during palpation, or afterwards on structural re-assessment.
7 Reflect Appreciate that “listening” is one principle of treatment, and be willing to practice as suggested in post course document. Be able to centre self, and monitor “4- hands” with experienced practitioners or tutors in order to appreciate treatment process. Reflect during course, with tutor support, to reinforce learning, before and after to evaluate own skills and consider possible relevance to own osteopathic practice and make appropriate action plans.
Type of Learning Learning Activity NLH*
Scheduled Learning Hours Small tutorial groups and personal practical experience of palpating models and dialogue with tutors. Reflection and discussion about experiences, questions and concerns. Listening to and learning with colleagues. 7
Interactive lectures with short power point presentations. 6
Worksheets and modelling exercises 3
Tutors are all experienced practitioners and embody osteopathic values and have developed high degree of skill in centring and monitoring. They are able to observe and support students (including PMH issues) and facilitate learning and development.
Guided Learning Pre-course package with indication of level of anatomy needed to prepare for course.
Opportunity offered to students to contact tutor with questions post course.
Advice to students to form peer groups for learning.
Independent Learning Unguided reading from defined reading lists
Suggestions in course document for monitoring exercises to be introduced alongside normal osteopathic practice to enhance palpation skills.
Suggestions for personal centring exercises for daily use.
Autonomous Learning Reading from non-specific Sources
Reflection on clinical experiences
Placement Clinical observations

* Notional Learning Hours

OPS Theme OPS Mapping
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Communication & Patient Partnership
Knowledge, Skill & Performance
Safety & Quality in Practice
CPD Standards
CPD activities are relevant to the full range of osteopathic practice See above mapping exercise
Objective activities have contributed to practice Peer review/Observation
Case-based discussion activity
Seek to ensure that CPD activities benefit patients Communication/Consent activity
Maintain CPD documentation Certificate of attendance/Overview document provided to student