CAO Curriculum

At the CAO we teach it all and more! You will learn Body Adjustment, Cranial technique and Visceral manipulation. You will explore eclectic techniques like Facilitated Positional Release, Myofacial Release, PIR and Muscle Energy. BUT, we go beyond all this and teach the PRINCIPLES that make it all work. The principles that govern the “who, what, where, when, why and how” behind osteopathic diagnosis and treatment. We teach students how to boil their findings down to natural laws, so that they don’t have to memorize “techniques” or work from a recipe book to know when to use them.

Our curriculum concentrates on 3 key areas; Osteopathic Principles & Practices Osteopathic Theory & History; and Health Sciences.

For a curriculum summary please contact us.

Osteopathic Principles & Practices (OPP)

Half of every module day is spent in OPP lab where students apply Osteopathic Principles and Theory on the tables in treatment. These classes are taught by the Principal, Robert Johnston with the help of lab instructors who are professional osteopathic manual practitioners and graduates of the CAO program. Additionally OPP lab rooms are open daily for students to study in groups or on their own.

Osteopathic Theory & History

This portion of curriculum centralizes of the writings of A.T. Still, the Founder of the profession and early osteopaths that came after him, John Martin Littlejohn, John Wernham, Dain Tasker, among others. Theoretical study is comprised of Literature review, Principles and Practice understanding, theoretical application, the study of lesionology and much more.

Health Sciences

Our Health Sciences curriculum has been tailored away from the traditional allopathic medical model, toward a fully integrated osteopathic model that examines the body as a whole dynamic unit of function. Course material covers clinical anatomy and clinical physiology as the primary focus.

Private Collection

At the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy we are incredibly fortunate to have an amazing collection of Osteopathic resources, artifacts, books, charts, letters, newspapers, and specimen’s from retired DOs, The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine at A.T. Find out more.


World Health Organization Guidelines

The CAO curriculum aims to meet or exceed the Type 1 academic standard, as outlined by the World Health Organization’s benchmarks for training in Osteopathy.  

Why Type 1?

The CAO chooses to follow Type 1 guidelines because they are;

  • clearly DEFINED in the W.H.O. document.
  • This enables the CAO curriculum to be MEASURED by independent third-party education audits and;
  • pass with total TRANSPARENCY.

The paves the path to safer practitioners and better outcomes for patients!

UK Model

In the UK, for example, Type 1 style programs are the only education recognized by the General Osteopathic Council (with the exception of one Type 2  program exclusively for those with superior health care training, like physicians). Osteopathy is not an “add-on” to other health modalities, like massage therapy. It’s a profession in and of itself!  Don’t be fooled by short cut education.

Applicants coming to the CAO from other modalities typically feel limited by their current modality and want more for their patients. They want to move BEYOND their current skill set, not simply add to it.  Comprehensive osteopathic education results in practitioners who are better equipped with a true understanding of osteopathic principles & practice, and the clinical competency to deliver safe & effective treatments to patients.