In Reciprocal Tension [M5]

Location: Hawkwood College, STROUD
Duration: 3 days
Price: £895 (non-residential) £995 (residential*)
Entry criteria: Module 2
Next delivery: 15—17 February 2019
Leader:  Pamela Vaill Carter

This course will help you to develop your palpatory awareness of the connective tissue throughout the whole body, discover the secrets of the body’s structural tensegrity and explore how this can influence the treatment of your patients.

William Garner Sutherland advised us to “treat the spaces not the structures.” This course explores how to shift perspective to the spaces he described and how they are contained and connected via reciprocal tension throughout the body.

We will explore how to access awareness of these spaces through practical, palpation and sensory exercises throughout the course.

Lectures on the course present the latest research in the function of fascia, embryological development of the meninges and the extracellular matrix as an intelligent organ and relate these findings to insights prophesied by AT Still and WG Sutherland.

By the end of the course you will have a greater understanding of how the body organizes itself in response to the different forces, stresses and strains it encounters. This will help you gain insight how osteopathic treatment can engage with the intelligent connective tissue matrix in your patients.

Course Content

  • Introduction to the concept of Reciprocal Tension
  • Reciprocal tension systems in the body as a whole
  • Anatomy and clinical importance of the meninges
  • The venous sinuses
  • Embryology of the dura
  • Physiology of fascia
  • Reciprocal tension in the endocrine system
  • Tensegrity
  • Reciprocal tension and the 5 phenomena

* Residential 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.

Osteopathic Practice Standards & CPD

Learning Outcomes & Assessment Criteria
On completion of this course you should be able to:
To achieve the learning outcome you must demonstrate the ability to:
1 The student should be able to describe the anatomy of the dura mater and discuss its functional significance including reference to the lymphatic system. Articulate, analyse and interpret examination findings with reference to the dura mater in a practical setting and show that they can offer an informed explanation of the functional significance of their findings.
2 The student should be able to demonstrate and articulate palpatory and therapeutic skills helpful in improving their sensory awareness during their interactions with patients. Apply diagnostic/interpretive osteopathic skills in a practical setting. To reflect-in- action during a therapeutic encounter using self-correction when their practical approach needs to be modified according to the response of the patients’ tissues.
3 The student should be able to apply the concept of reciprocal tension to different systems across the body. The student should be able to express an understanding of the concept of Reciprocal Tension and make the case for its application to multiple systems in both a theoretical and practical setting.
4 Manage patients and monitor outcomes in a manner that is responsive to the complex and dynamic needs of the patient over time and ensures best care. Construct, implement and monitor osteopathic management plans for your patients and adapt them in response to clinical evidence and patient needs over time.
Student Learning
Type of LearningLearning ActivityNLH*
Scheduled Learning Hours Lectures 6
Practical classes 12
Scheduled online activities  
Guided Learning Directed reading & research 4
Reflective portfolio development  
Peer assisted learning  
Independent Learning Unguided reading from defined reading list  
Assessment preparation (optional case study) (12)
Tutor defined project / Dissertation activity  
Autonomous Learning Reading from non-specific sources  
Reflection on clinical experiences 2
Placement Clinical observations  

* Notional Learning Hours

CPD Requirements: Mapping to the OPS
OPS Theme OPS Mapping
  1 2 3 4
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