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Media Review

Dr. J. M. Littlejohn’s Lectures on the Fundamentals of Osteopathic Technique

“Dr. J. M. Littlejohn’s Lectures on the Fundamentals of Osteopathic Technique”

John Martin Littlejohn
Edited by John Wernham
John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy, 1980.
ISBN 1909052124, 978-1909052123
Hardcover. 291 pages.

Perspective: Osteopathy, Osteopathic Technique, Osteopathic principles


Available from:

John Wernham College of Classical Osteopathy


Selected excerpts:

“A perfect spinal action is one in which the cartilages, acting as cushions together with the discs between the bodies, hold the bones in proper correlation to one another. Added to this, the mechanics of the spinal curves provide both pressure and resistance sufficient to keep the spinal foramina open and this allow the nerves and accessory blood vessels to pass through freely. In the imperfect articulation of the spine, there is a tendency for the tissues to bind the bones together, which become over-concentrated and rigid. The contractile tension pulls the bones together and out of alignment. The rigid traction (which generally operates at a localised point) gives rise to the obstruction of nerve and blood vessels, which become local, the disturbance passing along the pathway of least resistance, to operate in some local organ or tissue. When the disturbance passes beyond the limits of the spinal column, it settles in the spinal musculature.” (p 7)

Specific treatment (so-called) may be successfully applied only in acute cases, or in the recently acquired lesion. In the sub-acute, and chronic conditions and in the long-standing lesion, local adjustment is of value to relieve pain as a palliative treatment. Bit if correction is to be permanent, and the body stabilised, then it is essential for all the structures to be integrated to enable the body to sustain the normal stresses of daily living. The can only be obtained my means of the body adjustment (formerly known as general treatment) and it is only under these restored and revived conditions that local adjustment can be operative, or of any permanent value.” (p 43)

“Among the causes of disease we first classify defects in the spinal column and, secondarily, defects in articulation anywhere in the body. In the examination we look for vertebral displacement; tender spots along the spine, especially in the muscular and tendinous attachments; hardening and tightening of the soft tissues; the cord-like condition of fibrosis; atrophy. These conditions indicate obstruction to the free circulation of blood and lymph and the free flow of nervous energy, the tender spots marking, more especially the presence of congestion, catarrh, degeneration due to improper nutrition.” (p 60)

© 1980 John Wernham


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Reviews posted:

Littlejohn's lectures on 'The Fundamentals of Osteopathic Technique' have been edited by John Wernham to present this volume. There are discussions on 'The Technique of Osteopathy', the Vertebral processes, the articular facets, the intervertebral disc, the function of the discs, the spine, the ligaments, the mechanics of the sacroilliac joint, and the ribs. Littlejohn discusses the 'Compensatory Lesions' (p55) the Lumbar area, the Dorsal Arch, and the Cervical region.

There are good (black and white) photographs illustrating various techniques, and also a section on Two man osteopathic techniques.



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