John Smartt Osteopath
Bachelor of Applied Science (Osteopathy) Master of Osteopathy (UWS)

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Collected Scientific Research Relating to the Use of Osteopathy with Infantile postural asymmetry


1) Osteopathy involves helping people's own self-healing abilities to work better, rather that focussing primarily on particular conditions.

2) Each person is different, and osteopathy treats them differently.

Therefore people respond to osteopathic treatment in different ways. Treatments that work for one person cannot be guaranteed to work for another person in the same way. The fact that there is scientific research supporting a treatment in a group of people does not mean that it will always work in the same way (which is probably true of all research).

A number of things make research into osteopathy challenging. These include the two aspects of osteopathy mentioned above, and also the lack of major commercial interests to provide funding in expectation of financial returns. At the same time, there is an emerging body of research demonstrating the usefulness of osteopathic treatment.

Please note: there is room for debate about the classifications used for this study. Please let John Smartt know if you believe that any of these classifications are incorrect.

This study is from a peer-reviewed journal

Clinically and statistically significant results

Randomised controlled trial

Philippi H, Faldum A, Schleupen A, Pabst B, Jung T, Bergmann H, Bieber I, Kaemmerer C, Dijs P, Reitter B 2006 Infantile postural asymmetry and osteopathic treatment: a randomized therapeutic trial. Dev Med Child Neurol Jan;48(1):5-9;

"The aim of this study was to assess the therapeutic efficacy of osteopathic treatment in infants with postural asymmetry. A randomized clinical trial of efficacy with blinded videoscoring was performed. Sixty-one infants with postural asymmetry aged 6 to 12 weeks (mean 9wks) were recruited. Thirty-two infants (18 males, 14 females) with a gestational age of at least 36 weeks were found to be eligible and randomly assigned to the intervention groups, 16 receiving osteopathic treatment and 16 sham therapy. After a treatment period of 4 weeks the outcome was measured using a standardized scale (4-24 points). With sham therapy, five infants improved (at least 3 points), eight infants were unchanged (within 3 points), and three infants deteriorated (not more than -3 points); the mean improvement was 1.2 points (SD 3.5). In the osteopathic group, 13 infants improved and three remained unchanged; the mean improvement was 5.9 points (SD 3.8). The difference was significant (p=0.001). We conclude that osteopathic treatment in the first months of life improves the degree of asymmetry in infants with postural asymmetry."

"At each visit the osteopathic technique, and the area it was applied to, was adapted depending on the diagnostic palpation of the osteopath who assessed and treated position, tissue quality, mobility, and relation to the environment of the skull, sacrum, iliac and coccygeal bones, thorax, sternum, diaphragm, and abdomen. The specific procedures were recorded by the osteopath. For instance, so-called primary respiration and the cranial rhythmic impulse, thought to be very fine autonomous rhythmic changes of tissue quality, were used to disengage fixations of adjoining structures"