Since the turn of the century the public, the osteopathic profession and other healthcare professionals have been asking for more research into the cranial concept in osteopathy. Although osteopaths and public alike were passionate about this therapeutic approach, there are relatively few scientific papers about it. Encouraging a culture of research became a priority for the SCCO Board of Trustees in order to further our understanding of our work, for the benefit of the profession and the public.In 2007 the SCCO Board formed a new subcommittee, the Research Subcommittee (RSC), charged with undertaking research in this field. This committee was originally chaired by Colin Dove, (the SCCO President), and Clive Hayden became chairman in 2011. The research subcommittee have been active in a number of different ways as outlined below.
Research EducationThe SCCO is committed to encouraging a research culture, to educate qualified osteopaths on its use in practice and education, and is constantly working to embed aspects of research within the Pathway courses. For osteopathic students. Current teaching practice within the undergraduate osteopathic colleges encourages students to support those osteopathic approaches that have established an evidential base. Lectures and tutors on all SCCO courses are encouraged to reference and support the material that they are using with recent evidence. For osteopaths in practice. Osteopaths who have been in practice for some years would benefit from education in how to embrace the research culture. The SCCO runs research events with this in mind.
Research ProjectsThe RSC has developed an affordable model of new research to study aspects of our work, or test out clinical results of treatment.
Data Collection ProjectIn 2010, the SCCO commissioned and funded its first research project. This data collection exercise used a questionnaire developed by the National Council for Osteopathic Research (NCOR) – a Standardised Data Collection form. The aim was to find out more about the day-to-day practice of osteopaths who use the cranial approach, as very little data exists about this. A comparison could then be made with the data available from a previous survey conducted on the general osteopathic profession. Data gathered will help both the profession and the public to understand why patients seek cranial osteopathy. Here are some of the results:
- Most patients seek cranial osteopathy as they are seeking a more gentle form of treatment.
- Osteopaths working in this field often use general osteopathic techniques alongside cranial osteopathic techniques.
- The number of treatments needed to treat patients is broadly similar to general osteopathy.
- Cranial osteopaths do treat the more common symptoms that people present with such as back or neck pain but they also treat more children and those presenting with headaches.
Infantile Colic Research ProjectIn 2012 Infantile colic was chosen as the next SCCO research project. There were several reasons for this:
- It is one of the main reason parents seek to have their children treated by a cranial osteopath.
- There was at the time a lot of public interest in the validity of the approach with regard to infantile colic.
- There was already some evidence to support its use and it was felt that having a body of evidence that built of what currently existed would be the best use of resources and give the most benefit to the public.