Bill Ferguson
Registered Osteopath, Cranial Osteopath, Acupuncture and Sports Injuries
Tenterden Osteopath
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Classical Osteopathy



The classical osteopathic approach was developed and refined by the first generations of osteopaths and has its roots in the ancient arts of bone setting. The natural hygiene movement around the beginning of the 20th century emphasised the importance of diet, sanitation and environment for good health and the idea of combining these principles with body adjustments inspired the osteopaths of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.


One of the noteworthy triumphs of osteopathy was recorded during the flu epidemic of 1919. While according to the records, many patients succumbed and died from infection and respiratory failure, those who received only osteopathy and no drugs survived and made good recoveries.

It was this information that made me want to find out more about Classical Osteopathy.

One of the most well-known local exponents of Classical Osteopathy was Mr John Wernham who set up a School and Clinic in Maidstone where he taught and treated several generations of students and patients until his death shortly before his 100th birthday.

Although I met Mr Wernham on several occasions and attended some of his lectures and demonstrations I was never able to commit to training with him during his lifetime. John Wernham used to talk about the “modernists” in osteopathy who wanted to seize control and push the profession towards the medical model. It seems to me that the “modernists” are now in the ascendency and Classical Osteopathy has almost gone “underground”.

I don’t know how the politics will develop in future, at the moment it seems that the Classical approach is no longer on the syllabus of the main teaching organisations and is mainly taught independently at a post graduate level by senior osteopaths who are dedicated to keeping Classical Osteopathy alive. I have recently attended such a course (over the last year) and I have been impressed by what I have discovered.

I went into this “classical” study with an open mind, and I still have an open mind but what I have found is an osteopathic paradigm that is internally consistent, that doesn’t just focus on relieving symptoms or palliating but aims to strengthen the patient and increase their vitality to heal from within.

What to Expect

After the initial consultation and examination I will invite you to lie on a treatment couch. During treatment my aim is to get you to relax. I do this by using your limbs to create rocking movements mainly in arcs or circles first for the hips and shoulders, then for the joints and ligaments of the spine.

In classical osteopathy there is great importance attached to the spinal curves or arches. The levels where the curves should change direction are dictated by the shape of the vertebrae but unfortunately the stresses, strains and injuries that accompany life often cause undesirable changes such as muscles developing unevenly and ligaments shortening. Osteopaths believe that if a segment of the spine is under excessive strain it will have an unwelcome effect on the organs who receive their nerve connections at that level. As I treat you I will be coaxing such tense areas to relax and easing your spine towards its natural shape.

The treatment is gentle, however the next day you may feel tired and maybe a bit achy (like the day after your first yoga class), especially if this is your first treatment. If you can, schedule a lazy day and have plenty of rest. After a few treatments the response becomes less dramatic as your body gets used to being worked on.

The Healing Crisis

One of the great selling points of Classical Osteopathy is the possibility of a healing crisis. This sounds rather dramatic but for most people it is no worse than a cough or cold-like symptoms, a skin rash or maybe some diarrhoea. It is explainable as the body taking the opportunity to use its new found vitality to eliminate some metabolic or other waste that it was previously unable to excrete by normal routes.

Contact Bill Ferguson
Osteopath Tenterden

Book an osteopathy appointment now
Tel: 01580 762754

Bill Ferguson
Tenterden Osteopath
2 St Benets Court
Tenterden, Kent
Tel: 01580 762754



© Bill Ferguson
Last Updated: 13 June, 2018