The work was discovered by the osteopath Dr William Garner Sutherland in the early 1900s. He discovered intrinsic movements of the bones in the head. Furthermore, he recognised that this motion of cranial bones is just one element in a system of subtle rhythms that involves the whole body. He identified the particular importance of the rhythmic motion of tissues and fluids at the core of the body – including the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes and cushions the spinal cord and the membranes that surround and partition the central nervous system.
As a result of detailed clinical observation it has become clear that these movements, which can be measured with delicate scientific instruments or the trained hands of the therapist, are a clear expression of health, or indeed dis-ease when these motions are restricted. They offer therefore a direct way of working with the physical as well as deeper aspects of life.