Location: Hawkwood, STROUD
Duration: 3 days
Leader: Ana Bennett
Frequency: Every 2 years
Eligibility: Completion of Module 2
Total CPD hours: 24 hours
A – Communication & patient partnership: A1, A2, A3, A4
B – Knowledge, skills & performance: B1, B2, B3, B4
C – Safety & quality in practice: C1, C2, C3, C4
D – Professionalism: D1, D2, D3, D4
Hawkwood College accommodation

Please be aware that accommodation at Hawkwood will be in shared rooms (single sex). Some single rooms are available on a first-come-first-served basis and will carry a supplement. Requesting a single room is not a guarantee that one will be provided.

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 given 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

SCCO Course Providers: All SCCO courses are run by a resident Course Director, who is an Osteopath and a member of the SCCO Faculty. Pathway courses are delivered by SCCO Faculty and may be supported by guest speakers. Short courses are usually delivered by a visiting guest lecturer.  SCCO Faculty members all hold recognised osteopathic qualifications but may not be GOSC registered osteopaths.

Book Your Course

Book Your Course

Forthcoming opportunities to take Module 5: In Reciprocal Tension

From the Course Director

From the Course Director

Pamela Vaill Carter and Jane Easty talk about Module 5: In Reciprocal Tension

Recorded during lockdown.

In Reciprocal Tension [M5] Course Director, Pamela Vaill Carter, discusses with Jane Easty what you can expect when you come to a Module 5 course.

Pamela Vaill Carter, Course Director of Module 5: In Reciprocal Tension…

This module is about the nature of fascia, as “the source of health and the body’s pharmacopoeia”. It is also about the relationship between systems and the value of “treating the space not the structures” to achieve transmutation, as Rollin Becker taught.

If the video does not play, please click/tap the   pop-out button (in the view pane) to watch.

The contents of these videos are subject to intellectual property rights. Copying or distribution of these videos, in whole or in part, without prior permission from the publisher is an infringement of these rights.



What our students say about Module 5: In Reciprocal Tension

“The course content was excellent very well covered. More than met my expectations.”
– Module 5, June 2021

“As it was the final course of my pathway, I was able to ‘pull everything together’. I think this course is particularly relevant to today’s osteopathic thinking and gives students a tangible understanding of what cranial osteopathy is and what it can achieve. It is the basis of how a cranial osteopath treats.”
– Module 5, June 2021

“Don’t often give full marks like this but these lectures were so well researched and delivered with great enthusiasm and humour, so really kept our attention.”
– Module 5, June 2021

“The tutors were so supportive and accessible. Their passion of the subject shone through. I always love just being in Hawkwood surrounded by like minded people. The topics of the lectures were of a really high standard and I learned a huge amount. And of course the food is scrumptious as ever.”
– Module 5, June 2021

“Spot on, excellent content, faculty and students.”
– Module 5, February 2019

“Experiencing that the SCCO are true to form – there is a nice thread of consistency and it makes it nice to come back. Both in terms of teaching environment and the content.”
– Module 5, February 2019

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 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.
Type of Learning Learning Activity NLH*
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

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