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Osteopathic Cranial Manipulative Medicine (OCMM)

What’s OCMM?

In short, OCMM is a type of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM aka OMT) that focuses upon treatment of the head, including the head bones, the head's connective tissues, the muscles that attach to the head, and the nerves. It has been practiced in the US for almost 80 years. The use of OCMM and the understanding of the physiologic underpinnings of its observed clinical success continues to grow.

OCMM in Alzheimer's Disease

Who invented OCMM and how did they come up with it?

William Garner Sutherland, D.O. was staring at skull that had been dissected to reveal and separate the individual bones that compose it. He noticed that the edges between two of the bones were shaped like the gills of a fish and the thought struck him that this indicated motion. He spent many years trying to prove himself wrong and along the way he discovered a richness of information that has helped many people. The image above of a wave is in honor of Dr. Sutherland as he described the cerebrospinal fluid wave as part of the driving mechanism in cranial bone motion. 

How do you know that the bones move?

There have been numerous studies looking at bone movement. While I was in Osteopathic Medical School one of my professors actually drilled small screws into a cats skull to measure this movement. In another study he found that a very sensitive probe could measure the same movement with just skin contact. This was probably much to the relief of the cats and to us

because he was able to measure the same type of movement on humans with similar skin probes.

In the last of these classic studies he was able to correlate movement that the probes detected

with what trained professionals in OCMM feel with their hands.

What kinds of things can you treat with OCMM?

  • Headache

  • Neck pain

  • TMJ disorder (aka temporomandibular joint disease)

  • Colic (yep, as in the kind babies get)

  • Torticollis (yep, as in the kind babies get)

  • Failure to thrive (another disease often seen in babies with head somatic dysfunction)

  • Posterior tongue tie and feeding disorders of infancy

  • Just about anything that requires your head to be attached to your body

Is there any difference between OCMM and Cranio-sacral TherapyTM?

Cranio-sacral TherapyTM, also know as CST, is a simplified version of OCMM that was derived by an Dr. John Upledger. He simplified many of the techniques of OCMM so that it could be taught to non-physicians. Many osteopathic physicians using OCMM when Dr. Upledger developed his approach were concerned that the use of OCMM by non-physicians would possibly be to the detriment of patients. However, other osteopathic physicians were sensitive to the disproportionate healthcare needs of the population who would not be able to receive OCMM due to the relative sparsity of those trained in the technique. Despite Dr. Upledger's passing, his approach is still taught through the Upledger Institute. In short, the two are similar, but different. In my opinion, there's still enough need to support having the 2 approaches, and there have been some interesting other manual therapies to grow out of the Upledger Institute.


Does Dr. Danto have any special training in OCMM?

Dr. Danto attained a Certificate in Special Proficiency in Osteopathy in the Cranial Field (aka OCMM, they changed the name a few years ago) from the Osteopathic Cranial Academy. This certificate included both practical and written examinations. To attain the Certificate of Special Proficiency Dr. Danto had to attend over 100-hours of additional training after medical school in OCMM, and the course had to qualify as category 1-A Continuing Medical Education by the American Osteopathic Association.

Does Dr. Danto teach OCMM?

Dr. Danto has taught OCMM at 5 different Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine across the United States. He has developed a 40-hour Introductory OCMM course for osteopathic medical students. He has served as national faculty for the Osteopathic Cranial Academy and is a life-long member.


Is there any research to support OCMM?

The OCA has collected some of the extensive body of research documents that supports the principles of osteopathy and the effectiveness of osteopathic manipulation and OCMM. CLICK HERE TO EXPLORE THEIR COLLECTION. 

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