Biodynamics of Osteopathy

The biodynamic view of osteopathy in the cranial field (OCF) was developed by James Jealous, DO, whose medical explorations led him to the work of embryologist, Erich Blechschmidt, MD.

Dr. Blechschmidt had a holistic view of the human growth process. His research revealed that motion was more important than biochemistry in embryologic development. In fact, he defined a cell as a “momentary aspect of spatially ordered metabolic movement.” He also expressed an appreciation for the inherent intelligence in the embryologic process, just as Dr. Still had spoken of a higher wisdom at work within the living human or what Dr. Sutherland called the “breath of life.” Dr. Blechschmidt observed that the fluid fields involved in embryologic development never missed the prescribed timing and intersections of their biology.

In a stroke of insight, Dr. Jealous recognized the parallels between Blechschmidt’s work and the work of Still and Sutherland. He saw that embryology provided a foundation, not only for our understanding of anatomy and physiology, but also for our understanding of osteopathic principles. He observed that the forces of embryologic development did not cease functioning at birth, but were maintained throughout our lives as forces of growth and development, and were also involved in healing processes. This insight provides a road map for osteopaths in meeting our primary obligation as physicians, which is to find the health within our patients.

The biodynamic curriculum is designed to explore the limits of primary respiration as a therapeutic process. No technique is taught other than full cooperation with the living mechanism and its intention in the moment. Much attention is devoted to enhancing the practitioner’s perceptual skills, such as learning to sense rather than palpate and to refining awareness of perceptual boundaries. The biodynamic model offers not only a deeper understanding of human physiology, but a broader range of therapeutic options.