The Biodynamic View of Osteopathy in the Cranial Field was developed by James Jealous, DO, a General Practitioner of traditional Osteopathy in northern Maine, USA. After decades of study and practice, Dr. Jealous’s devotion to Osteopathic Principles and Practice inspired him to share his insights with the Osteopathic profession, as Dr. Still and Dr. Sutherland had encouraged their students to do. Dr. Jealous also felt a responsibility to help the Osteopathic profession recover some of the great discoveries and mysteries revealed over its first 150 years that were being lost in recent generations.


Dr. Jealous’s explorations of the Osteopathic and physical sciences, lead him to the work of an embryologist, Erich Blechschmidt, MD. In his writings, Dr Blechschmidt reflected a very holistic view of the process of growth and development. His research revealed that motion was more important than biochemistry in embryologic development, a concept very much in keeping with traditional Osteopathic thought. 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 being and Dr. Sutherland had spoken of 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 stunning display of insight and intuition, Dr. Jealous recognized the parallels between Dr. Blechschmidt’s work and the work of Dr. Still and Dr. 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. More importantly, he observed that the forces of embryologic development did not cease functioning at birth, but were maintained throughout our lives as the forces of growth and development, as well as those involved in the healing processes. This insight provides the Osteopath with a coherent road map to meeting our primary obligation as physicians which, according to Dr. Still, is to find the Health within our patients.


This Biodynamic model offers the physician not only a deeper understanding of the living human being’s physiology, but also a broader range of therapeutic options. 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 also devoted to enhancing the practitioner’s perceptual skills, such as learning to sense rather than palpate and to refining our awareness of perceptual boundaries. The goal in Biodynamic training is to come, as fully as possible, to appreciate in principle and in practice, that it is the Breath of Life that connects us, and all of life, directly with the Creator.


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