Forgotten Treasures

  • Lecturer
    Jane Eliza Stark, MS, D.O.M.P.
  • Course location
    Maaseik, Belgium
  • Price
    Seminar 1: €485,- | Seminar 2: €550,-

Osteopathy helps patients recover their health

The seminars of "Forgotten Treasures of Osteopathy" outline a framework to understand the origins of osteopathy. They also offer the practical approaches used by Sutherland to treat sick people; long before he focused strongly on the skull and cranio-sacral system.

Philosophy of the course

To get a more complete appreciation of the potential that lies within osteopathic practice, it first helps us to familiarize ourselves with the environment in which A.T. Still lived and worked. As a result of this lively experience, he devoted his life largely to discovering and developing osteopathy. It is remarkable to note that his original intention with osteopathy was to support sick people in regaining their health. A fact that many osteopaths apparently have forgotten today. The first osteopaths were not focused on pain and injury, as we are now, but rather focused on supporting the sick. The seminars of "Forgotten Treasures of Osteopathy" outline a framework to understand the origins of osteopathy. They also offer the practical approaches used by Sutherland to treat sick people; long before he focused strongly on the skull and cranio-sacral system.

The first seminar, "The origins of Osteopathy", reveals that osteopathy did not develop in a vacuum. But rather that the environmental conditions prior to - and during Still's time helped him formulate his ideas, which ultimately led to his development of osteopathy. In turn, Still's way of teaching became part of the environment, so that other osteopaths of the first generation were influenced in the contributions they made; osteopaths such as Sutherland and Littlejohn. During the seminar it will be shown that 1900 - the year in which Sutherland and Littlejohn graduated - was the end of a wonderful period of osteopathy. In the decades that followed, a number of factors led to the dilution of Still's osteopathy and a permanent division into osteopathic manual practice on the one hand and osteopathic medicine on the other.

The second seminar, "Before the PRM: Sutherland's Early Approaches to Patient Care", reveals how Sutherland, trained by Still and Littlejohn, left behind a well-defined track about his way of treating the sick patient. He did this decades before he introduced the concept of the PRM! On the basis of recently discovered correspondences, we will discuss and apply Sutherland's original insight and techniques with regard to the sick patient. Some of his original approaches have been unrecognizably changed or largely forgotten, and many no longer exist in the current curricula of the osteopathic education. However, on the basis of this course, it is demonstrated that his approaches remain easily accessible and can be converted quite easily. Provided we do this as the "Old doctor" has encouraged us with the words "Dig on".


  • Date » Click here for the available dates
  • length 1. Seminar: 3 days 2. Seminar: 4 days
  • Accreditation points (NRO) pending
  • Accreditation points (ACPVO) pending
  • Accreditation points (VOD) 10 Points par Day
  • Maximum number of participants: 32 participants
  • Class days: (Donnerstag) / vendredi / samedi / dimanche
  • Course time 09:00 - 18:00 (Last day 15:30)


  • Seminar 1: The origins of Osteopathy

Three of the most important figures in the history of osteopathy are Andrew Taylor Still, John Martin Littlejohn, and William Garner Sutherland. Jane Stark has spent the last decade compiling the life stories of each of these historical figures. Her research has been conducted in libraries, museums, and historical societies in both the UK and the US, including Boston, Chicago, London, and Glasgow, as well as countless small towns, the most important being Kirksville, Missouri. The biographies of these legendary osteopaths provide the context for understanding their work. The “old doc” (Still) left us his legacy of osteopathy; the “old dean” (Littlejohn) helped to keep osteopathy pure, or free of overdependence on pharmaceutical agents; and the “old timer” (Sutherland) introduced a more refined level of palpation through cranial osteopathy.

The circumstances leading to the culmination of the osteopathic idea of Andrew Taylor Still will be examined from a multitude of political, economic, social, and educational perspecitves. Of interest will be the fact that the only place in the world where osteopathy could have been born was in Kirksville, Missouri. The reason for this is this statement will be well explain in the program.

This seminar offers in-depth and entertaining oral and pictorial perspectives on the life histories and professional contributions of Still, Littlejohn, and Sutherland. For about 18 months between 1898 and 1900 their three paths crossed at the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville. That period and the five years preceding it remain the most important years in the history of osteopathy. This seminar will reveal that much of the knowledge and skill from that era—when osteopaths predominantly treated critically ill patients—may have been lost, perhaps forever. The seminar will also help participants realize that osteopathic philosophy is not yet fully developed.

Topics covered
The main topics covered in the seminar include the following:

  • Using historical method to distinguish an historical fact from a probability or possibility.
  • History of the environment in the US leading up to Still’s discovery of Osteopathy
  • Recognizing the leading osteopathic historians and history resources.
  • Essentials of studying systems in the context of their environments.
  • Biographies of Still, Littlejohn, and Sutherland.
  • Still’s writings and development of osteopathy as they relate to national issues of his time, including several wars fought in the US, slavery, Andrew Carnegie, the Industrial
  • Revolution, the railroad expansion, the Indian Relocation Act, the Missouri Compromise, poetry, spiritualism, and much more.
  • The influence of medicine and medical therapeutics on Still’s development of osteopathy, including heroic medicine, magnetic healing, massage, bone setting, and medical democracy.
  • Still’s practical approach with respect to bones, organs, mesenteries, fluids, fascia, and nerves.
  • The influential friends that kept Still in Kirksville.
  • The history of the American School of Osteopathy from its 1892 inception until 1900.
  • The growth and waning of osteopathy’s popularity in Kirksville.
  • The Flexner Report
  • The competition among schools of osteopathy that led to DO/MD training equivalency.
  • The political battles between orthodox medicine and osteopathy and between the two osteopathic factions, broad-based and lesion-based osteopaths.
  • The California Merger.
  • The proper chronology of osteopathy’s and chiropractic’s founding.
  • The deeper meaning behind the phrase, find it, fix it, and leave it alone.
  • The meaning of Still’s Triune Nature of Man
  • Still’s relationship to Nature
  • The history of osteopathic principles.
  • Thoughts on osteopathic philosophy.

  • Seminar 2: Before the PRM: Sutherland’s early Approach to Patient Care

This course emphasizes the historical relevance and clinical usefulness of the treatment approaches of William Garner Sutherland, DO. Sutherland is best known for his development of cranial osteopathy, which he considered to be a natural progression of A.T. Still’s original osteopathic concepts. Following his 1900 graduation from the American School of Osteopathy, Sutherland was instrumental in keeping Still’s full-body manual approach alive throughout his 54 years of practice and teaching. As his career progressed, he gradually incorporated more and more of the cranial approach into his work.

Sutherland’s biography and work must be placed within the context of his era—the United States in the first half of the 1900s. This course focuses on the period prior to his 1939 authorship of The Cranial Bowl, which set his career in a more cranial direction. Throughout the influenza pandemic of 1918, Sutherland treated cases of influenza and other debilitating, life-threatening illnesses using techniques that originated with Still or that he modified or developed himself. Much of Sutherland’s work during this period is little known today but will be the focus of this course.

Techniques demonstrated in the course will include those Sutherland used for a state of the body he dubbed “anterior tensity.” This state is associated with a number of serious illnesses and conditions. Also to be examined are Sutherland’s mechanical approaches to the ribs, pelvis, diaphragm, and, of course, the base of the cranium, the vault, and the face.

Several of Sutherland’s early faculty members, including Anne Wales, Viola Frymann, Thomas Schooley, and Harold Magoun Jr.—all of whom are now deceased—have, through hand-to-hand contact, directly influenced Jane Stark’s approach to Sutherland’s methods of treatment.

  • Schedule

Day 1

  • am — Biography of William Garner Sutherland; Theory with a colourful presentation with more than 150 rarely seen photographs related to Sutherland.
  • pm — Significance of Sutherland’s biography and philosophy; Theory; Review of how his environment influenced his thoughts and writing, which is key to understanding him.

Day 2

  • am — Types of patients seen by Sutherland; Medical theory; Review of the Great Pandemic; Mindset and healing approaches in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.
  • pm — Overview of Sutherland’s concept of “anterior tensity” and how it affects the physiology of the body; Approaches are demonstrated and practiced.
  • pm — Techniques for anterior tensity; Practice; Continuation of anterior tensity approaches.

Day 3

  • am — Sutherland’s early approaches to the ribs are demonstrated and practiced.
  • pm — Sutherland’s early descriptions of his cervical and cranial approaches are demonstrated and practiced.

Day 4

  • am — Cranial approaches are continued; Demonstration and practice.