Principles Based Osteopathy

Classical Osteopathy


Principles Based, Defined

Classical osteopathy means original – true to the roots – and the roots of osteopathy are based in principles.

Osteopathic treatment without the application of principles it is simply not osteopathy. It’s just manual technique for different parts of the body and can’t be distinguished from any other form of manual therapy.

It’s about the principles – not memorizing techniques! Techniques are a dime a dozen. There are multiple techniques for every part of the body, but if you understand principles, you don’t need a single one. It’s the principles that should be applied to the anatomy and physiology, not the techniques. An understanding of the principles allows the practitioner to be innovative, and customize ways of treating based on the patient in the moment.

The CAO provides a principles-based classical osteopathy education rooted in a true understanding of osteopathic thinking, diagnosis and treatment.


Andrew Taylor Still, Founder of Classical Osteopathy

Osteopathy starts and ends with its founder, Andrew Taylor Still. Still’s principles drove the movement. This doesn’t mean discounting those who came after Still. All osteopaths must be studied. The key is to examine their work and highlight the evidence of osteopathic principles, because if it isn’t rooted in Stillian principles it isn’t osteopathy.

Many in the profession get this wrong, and instead copy what the early osteopaths have said verbatim, step for step, missing the principles entirely. This is regressive. Osteopathy is intrinsically progressive. An osteopath, who treats using principles is like a chef; understanding the ingredients, the chemistry, the physics, how they interact, and how to get them to integrate for a customized outcome; innovative, forward motion. An osteopath missing the principles is nothing more than a short-order cook; following recipes and getting the same results; although they may work for the moment, they are repetitive, stagnant.

The CAO provides its students with extensive osteopathic theory and history. We examine the old literature, the writings of the early osteopaths and those who came after them, to highlight the founding principles on which this profession is based.

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June 13th, 2017 at 8:45 a.m. until Noon at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy