William Garner Sutherland DO

Though the principles upon which treatment is based are constant, each osteopath is unique. Treatment styles may be as varied as a signature, yet the intention to restore fluid continuity, balance, and freedom remain universal.

The patient lies on a treatment table, face up. I am seated next to them with my hands usually underneath or over some part of their body. I support and allow the tissue to unwind. Because of Dr. Sutherland's influence, I use very little force during treatment. I find myself engaging the inherent rhythmic fluid movement in the tissues; to find restrictions and help the body move towards freedom. The body is constantly doing this on its own.... I am merely augmenting its natural process. It is more of a participatory relationship in which I am constantly learning what the patient needs to establish health. Dr. Rollin Becker would often say, “The patient is the physician, and the teacher.” It is the physician's duty to listen and learn; to support and allow, so that an optimal state of health can be realized.

“Allow physiologic function within to manifest its own unerring potency rather than apply a blind force from without.”

WG Sutherland DO

“To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease.”

AT Still MD

I feel for restriction. I feel for freedom. I know the anatomy. I respect the inherent wisdom within. I may lean into an area to hasten the process...but still the forces are very small. The transformative process occurs through listening.

At each visit, I treat the whole person. To treat only the area of complaint, misses the point. To be effective I need to find where the “problem” actually lies. The symptoms may be in one location, but the “cause” often lies in another. It is for this reason that we describe ourself as “holistic.”

I know when the treatment is finished because the tissues become quiet. There is a sense of smooth fluid continuity. The body has stopped fighting itself; it is congruous and resonant, without interference patterns. Unity of Function becomes dominant. Each treatment takes between 30 - 40 minutes.


Because osteopathic treatment alters the dynamics of tensions held by the tissues, I recommend that patients be careful for the first two days after each treatment. The following is a handout I give each patient at the end of their first visit:

AFTER YOUR TREATMENT