The Osteopathic Approach to Fascia


To whom

Osteopaths, physiotherapists with advanced manual and clinical experience or with a postgraduate education in osteopathy/osteopathic techniques


After taking this course participant knows how

• To describe the main anatomical and physiological properties of fascia
• To present the connective tissue as the major bio-mechanical and bio-electrical mediator of the structure and function interrelationship
• To propose various fascial mechanisms by which somatic dysfunction may be induced
and maintained
• To illustrate the principles of tensegrity model and its application on osteopathic practice through Littlejohn’s mechanics and compressional‐tensional approach
• To illustrate the most common fascial techniques in osteopathic practice and propose different fascia-mediated mechanisms behind the OMT efficacy and effectiveness
• To appreciate the extent of sliding motions between fascial layers in vivo, through real-time dynamic ultrasound evaluation
• To show the extent of motion impairment of organ related fascia layers following post-surgical events or chronic and acute disorders
• To demonstrate via real-time US imaging some of the effects of fascial osteopathic techniques on improving fascial range and quality of movement, in relation with contiguous fascial planes or with anatomically related organs


As a structural element of the body connective system, fascia can be considered as a ubiquitous tissue permeating the whole organism. It seems to respond to cellular and macroscopic lines of tension by reorganizing itself accordingly. From this perspective, the repercussion of a fascial restriction will be body-wide, and may potentially create stress on any structure enveloped by fascia itself.

There exist different fascial mechanisms by which a somatic dysfunction may be induced and maintained at different levels. Yet osteopathic fascial treatment aims to release such tensions, to restore function and to balance the inherent body mechanisms, so to be often proposed as an adjunctive treatment for various conditions.

However, a better understanding of the physiology and mechanism behind a techniques’ effectiveness, as well as a sound clinical evidence base is certainly needed to provide clarity with modalities of application. In fact, it is evident that various factors may interplay with myofascial function and its ability to respond to fascial treatment, such as plastic, viscoelastic and piezoelectric properties of connective tissue, together with various mechanical, neuromuscular, hydraulic, sympathetic and parasympathetic responses.

This course will offer an overview of all these crucial topics together with the most common fascial techniques used within the osteopathic armamentarium, including fascial unwinding, Still technique and harmonic technique. Different forms of application will be also described, from indirect, direct to combined method. To guide the clinician through the understanding and the application of such fascial tools, various evidence-based mechanisms as well as different hypothesis based on osteopathic principles will be proposed and discussed.

The course is taught mainly in English, but there are also some parts taught in Finnish.


About practical arrangements

Marja Pietiläinen
Tel. 040 672 5519
marja.pietilainen (at)

About content

Sandra Rinne
Tel. 040 159 1759
sandra.rinne (at)


Paolo Tozzi, MSc, BSc (Hons) Ost, DO, PT
Jouko Heiskanen, MD, PT

Time and Venue

I Level
15th-16th Jan 2016, from 9 am to 18 pm

II Level
22th-23th Apr 2016, from 9 am to 18 pm

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Vanha Viertotie 23, Helsinki


I Level
15 January 2016

9-11 AM The fascial continuum in its structure and function: introduction to the main anatomical and physiological properties of fascia
11:20-13 AM Dimensional palpation of the various connective tissues level
14- 16 PM The connective tissue from a tensegritive prospective:  from cellular to body level from an osteopathic perspective
16:20- 18 PM Global and local tenso-compression test and treatment

16 January 2016

9-11 AM The Zink test: evaluation and treatment of the fascial system
11:20-13 AM The fascial rhythm: evaluation of its properties and anomalies
14- 16 PM Practice on specific evaluation of the fascial rhythm through general/remote and focal/local listening
16:20- 18 PM Indirect and direct fascial techniques: principles, methods of their application and practice

II Level
22 April 2016

9-11 AM The Still Technique: History, Principles, Methods of application
11:20-13 AM The Still Technique applied to fascia
14- 16 PM The Still Technique applied to cranial and articular dysfunctions
16:20- 18 PM Evidences and rationale for osteopathic fascial techniques

23 April 2016

9-11 AM The Fascial Unwinding: History, Principles and Methods of application
11:20-13 AM Practice of local and global fascial unwinding
14- 16 PM The osteopathic approach to scar tissue
16:20- 18 PM Rationale, Indications and counterindications of osteopathic fascial work