Osteopathic physicians understand that the body works as one harmonious system, rather than a collection of unrelated parts. Osteopathic medicine is dedicated to the treatment of the entire patient, not just specific areas of dysfunction. It aims to correct the underlying problems, not just the immediate symptoms.

 Osteopathic manual medicine, including counterstrain and cranial osteopathy, uses the inherent healing forces within the body to free up restrictions or imbalances anywhere in the body in order to restore more ideal movement and function and also to eliminate pain.

 For example, if the lungs are impeded by ribs, a diaphram or a spine that is not moving well, breathing will be impaired. If breathing is impaired, the body's immune functions such as lymphatic drainage will not be working well and healing will be delayed.  

Common Conditions treated with Osteopathy
  • chronic or acute pain caused by accident or injury 

  • neck and back pain

  • sciatica

  • sports related pain or injury

  • overuse injuries

  • headaches and sinusitis

  • pregnancy related problems as edema, and post-partum pain

  • pediatric problems including chronic ear infections, stiff neck, and colic


Trauma to the head or body can induce strains in muscles, ligaments, and tendons or impair the flow of fluids of the body (as blood, lymphatic, or cerebralspinal fluid), having dramatic effects on a person's health. Trauma can lead to low back pain, headaches, and repetitive stress injuries such as tendonitis. These problems can effectively be treated with gentle osteopathic treatment.

What Happens in Treatment? 

Osteopathic manual treatment (OMT) uses gentle hands-on care to diagnose and treat strains within the muscles, tendons, and ligaments which cause pain and limited motion. Releasing these strains then frees up areas of the body to allow improved motion without pain. Different treatment approaches are used in OMT including counterstrain and cranial osteopathy.


Counterstrain is an indirect form of OMT developed by Lawrence H. Jones, DO which involves finding palpable tender points within contracted, painful muscles and tendon attachment sites and then positioning that part or limb of the body to shorten the muscles and its associated tendons or ligaments. This is done in a precise way to release the excessive muscle/tendon tension and allow the muscle to return to it's normal, uncontracted length. 

Treatment of anterior tender points (in the front of the body) often relieve pain the back. For example, counterstrain treatment of anterior tender points in the hip flexors (iliopsoas muscle) can easily relieve referred low back and sacroiliac pain.

Cranial osteopathy

Cranial osteopathic treatment often involves applying gentle pressure to the head, the sacrum (tailbone), the ribs, or other areas, to free up movement of restricted bones or other tissues using the inherent forces within the body. Using delicate palpatory skills, the muscles, ligaments, and bones are held in a fluid state of balanced tension until the strains are released. It is impressively effective.

Cranial osteopathy was developed by William Garner Sutherland, DO (1873-1954), based on his observation and study of the palpable motion of the bones of the head as part of the rhythmic movement of fluids of the body as an expression of the body's self-healing mechanism.

Are DOs the Only Ones Doing Cranial Treatments? 

Some massage therapists and physical therapists have learned simplified forms of "craniosacral therapy" which is a modification of the original. Only osteopathic physicians or other medical doctors have the education to fully diagnose and treat patients with every treatment method available as fully licensed physicians. Only osteopathic physicians who have completed approved courses in cranial osteopathy have had the comprehensive training necessary to practice in this field.

For More information about Osteopathy, OMT, Counterstrain, and Cranial Osteopathy


www.osteohome.com -  Eric Dolgin, DO website with excellent overview of osteopathy

www.dmu.edu/com/do/osteopathic - DMU-COM in Des Moines, IA - webpage "What is Osteopathic Medicine?"


Discover Osteopathy, by Peta Sneddon and Paolo Coseschi, 1997, Ulysses Press, Berkeley,CA         


www.cranialacademy.com/research.html - a link to the research section of the Cranial Academy website

Osteopathic Organizations - Website Links   

The Cranial Academy
8202 Clearvista Pkwy. #9-D
Indianapolis, IN 46256
Voice: 317-594-0411
Fax: 317-594-9299 

The American Academy of Osteopathy
3500 DePauw Blvd.
Suite 1080
Indianapolis, Indiana 46268-1136
Voice: 317-879-1881
Fax: 317-879-0563 

The Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation
4116 Hartwood Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76109

American Osteopathic Association
142 East Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60611


John Macatee D.O.

Osteopathic Manual Medicine/Cranial Osteopathy, Prolotherapy and Integrative Medicine