Teaching with distance

I desided to write this blog after this mornings distance teaching experience. Yes, Corona, Covid-19 has transformed also osteopathic studies into distance studying. That has been an interesting experience I have to say! How can you transform lessons, which purpose is teach students what a tissue feels like and how you can with touch diagnose and treat a person? You can use some time trying to find something more concrete, its almost impossible to do all this with this days social distancing rule.

Honestly, I am extremely surprised in a positive way how this situation has effected. Osteopathy is based in anatomy and physiology. Its also based on how body is suppost to work and to what happens when normal function is inhibited. This current situation has given an amazing opportunity to go back to the roots of osteopathy in the teaching. Instead of hand in hand showing how to provide techniques to each other, I have been given the opportunity to introduce to the students beautiful roots of osteopathic science, to what this whole profession is and its hadcraft is based on. We have been reading old masters in osteopathy and how they very vividly and with great detail describe anatomy and how they have their effect on functions.

Moment before teaching starts

Andrew Taylor Still, founder of Osteopathic medicine was always saying to their students “Anatomy, anatomy, anatomy”. He strongly believed that from anatomy can be found all the knowledge to understand Health. For this you need to keep in mind that he lived at the end of 1800. Science of physiology did not exist then yet. He did not confine his understanding of anatomy to what we this day perceive as the science of anatomy. For him anatomy was live, constantly transforming and all Health including. When you red his texts it is obvious that for him what we call physiology was unattachable part of anatomy. Earlier in the world all schools of medicine teached morphology that included anatomy, histology, evolution, cytology, embryology and comparative anatomy. This describes the vastness of how Still saw anatomy.


Andrew Taylor Still based his thoughts on observing nature and believing in its unerring character. He saw that the architect that has created both nature and man, has included everything needed. This is a base on the osteopathic thought of selfhealing mechanism. Still said that there is a nature pharmacy in the body that can cure practically anything if it doesn’t have any disturbances.


I teach at the University of applied sciences Metropolia and starting from autumn also at Osteopathy school Atlas. My field is cranial osteopathy that is an interesting part of osteopathic profession, concentrating on treating with gentle techniques. It is based on William Garner Sutherlands life work. He stated that the unique and very complex anatomical structures in the skull and pelvis have their own meaning on how live body works and functions. He developed a part of osteopathy that was straight continuum of his teacher, Andrew Taylor Stills thoughts on Health and Osteopathy. He concentrated especially on around function and structures of the skull. This subject is not unambiquous and its research with the ways of modern science have proven to be a challenge. English osteopath Colin Dove said in one of his interview that even tho the very gentle treatment and its priciples are hard to understand its not possible that nature had created something so complex as the morphology of human skull without it having an effect on its behavior and functions. I totally agree with him, to me this a living proof of the diversity of the anatomy of the skull having its own specific meaning and function instead of just being a hard helmet.

William Garner Sutherland

So this new life situation where everything possible has been changed into non-contact distance doing has given me as a teacher a possibility to pay more attention and give more time for this base of everything, anatomy and all the functions it is directing. Its wonderful to see how the knowledge of anatomic sturctures and the functions of the living anatomy increases after each class. Having more time for theory instead of techniques gives more space for perceiving the wholeness and what Still emphasized: reasoning! Instead of repeating techniques shown to them, they have been given an opportunity to understand themselves what is behind all the techniques and principles. Then we get to real Art in Osteopathy. Its never only about techniques. Its about palpation of living anatomy, finding cause and effect ja from there treating the whole. Adrew Taylor Still demanded that all his students knew 95% of all anatomy that there was to know. He never tought any techniques, he tought principles. He tought reasoning, understanding and a life long passion for learning more to be able to help each individual on their iunique state of Health.

I am deeply grateful. This world situation has forced me to return to the roots and finding ways to teach understanding instead of repetition. I cannot wait to see what will unfold.

You can see Colin Doves interview from here: http://www.osteopathy1000.org/video.cfm

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