By W.G. Sutherland, D.O.
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From Teachings in the Science of Osteopathy: William Garner Sutherland had the opportunity to study with Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of the science of osteopathy. In his teaching, Dr. Still always emphasized the design for motion in the articulations of the bones.
One day in 1898, during Sutherland’s senior year at the American School of Osteopathy, he viewed a specially prepared and mounted skull. At that moment, Sutherland experienced a flash of insight which saw the articulation of the sphenosquamous suture as a design for motion that implied a respiratory mechanism, “like the gills of a fish.” Given the statements in anatomical texts that the sutures of the cranium ossify in the adult, he had much skepticism and reservation about his own insight for years. During his in-depth studies in the following years, Dr. Sutherland had to confront the fact of a mobility that has no muscular agencies to account for the motion.
Belatedly rallying to his support, a group of his colleagues felt impelled to correlate all the information available on the subject in textbook form. This is the third edition.
This kind of study of the mechanics of articular mechanisms in the living human body led him to recognize powers within his patients which could resolve problems and heal strains. Based on what he learned from his patients, Dr. Sutherland developed many ways of practicing osteopathy. He considered that he was utilizing a profound science which just kept unfolding its truths. Dr. Sutherland often said in his lectures that if you understand the mechanism, the treatment is simple.
About the Editor
Anne L. Wales, D.O., began her studies at the American School of Osteopathy before transferring to the Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery. Following her graduation in 1926, she served an internship at the Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. She then proceeded to practice in Rhode Island for fifty years before retiring to live in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.
In 1943, she and her husband, Chester Handy, D.O., first heard Dr. Sutherland lecture at the meeting of the Eastern States Osteopathic Association in New York City. The following year they attended the course that Dr. Sutherland presented in New York. Based on their experience at that course, they were moved to learn to practice osteopathy as Dr. Sutherland had practiced it and as he taught it. As part of their study, they began attending the meetings of the Lippincott Study Group in Moorestown New Jersey. From 1945 to 1956, the New England Cranial Study Group met at their office in Providence.
From the time of their first course, Drs. Wales and Handy dedicated their professional lives to the study, practice, and teaching of Dr. Sutherland’s work. Over the years they were active in Dr. Sutherland’s teaching program and in the work of the Osteopathic Cranial Association. Dr. Handy was one of the incorporators of the Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation, Inc. In recent years, Dr. Wales has continued meeting with study groups in New England and teaching in both formal and informal settings.