Leslie R. Gass, D.O. Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine

What is Osteopathy?



Although Osteopathy uses the practice of manual medicine, it is not just a set of techniques. It is a philosophy and a science based on application of sound principles.


The Philosophy of Osteopathy is based on four main principles.


1.  The human being is a dynamic unit of structure and function.


There are many unifying systems within the body. The circulatory system supplies blood to every tissue and organ. The nervous system connects and integrates all of the body’s functions. The connective tissue matrix, the fascia, is a continuous sheath of living tissue that connects the body front to back, head to toe. It surrounds every muscle, organ, nerve and blood vessel. A primary function of this fascial system is to support and lubricate. Thus, the circulatory system, nervous system and fascia all help to organize the body into a unified continuous whole. No singe part exists independent of the whole. When even a small part of the body does not function optimally, the entire person is affected.            


2.  The body possesses self-regulatory mechanisms, which are self healing in    nature. There is an inherent therapeutic potency and constant drive toward health.


The human body is always working to maintain a state of balanced function. For example, blood pressure, blood sugar and heart rate are actively kept within a normal range. When there is a laceration or a tear in the tissues, a physician can assist by cleaning the wound and bringing the edges together, but healing occurs by the action of inherent forces and processes within the body. (www.cranialacademy.com)


3. There is an interrelationship and interdependence between structure and

function in the body.


From the smallest cell to the largest bone, all of anatomy is in constant dynamic and rhythmical motion. Blood flows, lymphatics drain and cerebral spinal fluid fluctuates. The heart beats and the ribcage expands and contracts with each respiration. Each and every organ has its own inherent motion. When motion becomes impaired, the tissues will not function as they were intended. As a result of this altered motion, symptoms develop and disease may occur.  (www.cranialacademy.com)



4. Rational treatment is based on these principles.

Osteopathic treatment applies these principles with a sound and thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology. An osteopathic medical approach to treatment typically integrates osteopathic manipulation to restore structural freedom in the tissues and, enhance fluid flow throughout the body, and creates the optimal setting for healing to occur. (www.cranialacademy.com)



Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was started in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D., D.O. Dr. Still, a frontiersman was the son of a Methodist minister who was also a country doctor. He became dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th century medicine after the loss of many of his family members due to spinal meningitis. He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful.


In response, Dr. Still developed a philosophy of medicine based on ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine. That philosophy focuses on the unity of all body parts. He believed in the body’s ability to heal itself and that the body was potentially perfect in its form and function. Through intensive study of anatomy and physiology, he discovered that he had the ability to put his hands on people and to help change their structure and physiology.


For more information about Dr. Still go to www.interlinea.com.



What is Cranial Osteopathy?

Osteopathy in the Cranial Field (OCF) is a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head. It is an expansion of the traditional Osteopathic philosophy and approach founded by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. It arose out of the clinical research of Dr. William G. Sutherland. Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel very subtle, rhythmical shape changes that are present in all of the body tissues (bones, muscles, ligaments, fluids, membranes, etc.). It is a gentle yet extremely effective approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.


Prior to Dr. Sutherland’s research, anatomists taught that the cranial sutures were fused and unable to move in adulthood. Dr. Sutherland spent decades studying skulls and experimenting on his own head. He came to discover palpatory motions in the head which he described as “The Primary Respiratory Mechanism.”


The Primary Respiratory Mechanism has five basic components:


1.      The inherent rhythmic motion of the brain and the spinal cord.

2.      The fluctuation of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that bathes and

nourishes the brain and spinal cord.

3.      The shifting tensions of the membranous envelope (dura mater)

surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This entire membranous

structure acts as a unit and is called a “Reciprocal Tension Membrane.”

4.      The inherent rhythmic motion of the cranial bones.

5.      The involuntary motion of the sacrum (tailbone) between the ilia (hip bones).


For more information about cranial osteopathy and Dr. Sutherland go to www.cranialacademy.com and/or www.sctf.com.

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