Living, Breathing Bone [M6]

Location: Hawkwood College, STROUD
Duration: 3 days
Price: £895 (non-residential) £995 (residential*)
Entry criteria: Module 2
Next delivery: 8–10 November 2019
Leader: Jane Easty

(This course was formerly known as 'Neurocranium & Sacrum: Living Bone')

Everyday in practice we encounter patients who have suffered physical trauma in many forms and at different stages of their life and development. With highly developed palpatory skills, osteopaths have a unique insight into the effects of trauma.

In this module, we explore the effects of trauma with respect to the wonders of bone, sutures and joints throughout the body from their morphogenetic origins to their crystalline nature, from the macro-scale of biotensegrity in the pelvis to the quantum coherence of the specialised connective tissue itself.

Current research into the physiology of bone is examined and we discuss how this knowledge informs traditional osteopathic concepts laid down by the pioneers of our profession. The way bones function as 'springs' and how they dissipate forces within the connective tissue system is explored, enabling us to palpate clearly when trauma has disrupted this function. The role of the femur within the pelvis is considered to give an even more effective way of approaching low back and pelvic problems in clinic.

The biodynamics of the embryological metabolic fields in which the different types of bone are formed will be considered. There will be detailed study of each of the bones of the basicranium, their applied anatomy, relationships and clinical relevance. The different journey of each bone to their fully ossified form reveals and aids our understanding of the different qualities we feel in the structures under our hands. A study of growth and development of the cranium in the first ten years of life is essential knowledge for the treatment of children and also to understand the effects of past childhood trauma in adults.

Using these fluid models we study a range of techniques, including some intraoral releases, which have been handed down through osteopathic generations. When considered as specialized connective tissues with the similar dynamic, fluid, metabolic and communication properties as fascia, bones come alive under our hands.

Patterns of the cranial base, how they are reflected throughout the body via the connective tissue network and how we can use this understanding of patterns in clinical practice will be discussed.

As W.G.Sutherland said:

“What are bones but a different form of fluid?”

This course is full of applied principles and clinical relevance.

Course Format

The course format is a balance of lectures and small group tutorials and practicals. The 1:4 tutor groups enable you to benefit directly from the clinical expertise of your tutor, and to discuss with colleagues. You will directly handle replica disarticulated bones, and have the opportunity to compare these to real bone specimens.

In the practicals, our tutors are experts at meeting individual needs and gently opening up awareness to new concepts and experiences. We explore the fine balance between holding enough space for the mechanism to express and guide the treatment process, with the need for accurate and detailed local palpation.

Excellent course notes are provided.

Course Details

This course is run approximately once every 2 years in the UK.

Alternative Dates

Hawkwood College
8 - 10 November 2019 £895 (non-residential)
£995 (residential**)

** 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 Understand the principles of embryological development behind the resultant anatomy and how that informs palpation of said anatomy, with emphasis on bone as a structure of mesodermal origin. Demonstrate skilled and effective use of refined palpation skills.
2 Interpret and explore the qualitative nature and causes of different traumas to the bone. Apply diagnostic/interpretive osteopathic skills in a practical setting. Effectively use clinical findings to further refine formulation of appropriate treatment plans.
3 Appreciate the effect of trauma on the whole in its bioelectric tensegrity continuum of specialized connective tissue from basicranium through to the sacrum and beyond. Competently integrate this new and enhanced theoretical knowledge with a sensory experience without imposing preconceptions on the patient.
4 Learn how to relate new knowledge to osteopathic practice informing the nature of their enquiries during case history taking and examination. Choose from an extended range of osteopathic techniques in order to devise and carry out a coherent treatment plan whilst being guided by needs of the tissues themselves.
5 Understand the far-reaching impact of the varying forces discussed and the necessity for skilled attunement and neutral receptivity. Show the ability to engage and interact with these phenomena to facilitate the natural tendency of the mechanism to move towards health. Demonstrate self-awareness and a sense of osteopathic awe for the self healing potency of the body.
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) (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 5
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