Tree Pangolin showing scales

Pangolins and the Art and Science of Cranial Osteopathy

Researcher Graham Scarr D.O. has proposed a biological mechanism to explain Cranial Osteopaths’ awareness of helical movement in the fasciae of patients’ limbs, when palpating the cranial mechanism (phew!).

animated sinusoidal helixes

‘Helix’ by de:Benutzer:Averse [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

See here for the full article:

His published research on ‘Myofascial Helixes’ explains that the intersection angles of collagen fibres are critical to the physiology of connective tissues, and that the structure of a Pangolin’s skin illustrates this point. However, disturbances in the arrangement of these helixes at both a macro and microscopic level could play a part in chronic musculoskeletal limb disease, such as tennis elbow, due to disturbances in cellular nutrition associated with reduced tissue movement.

For those of you also treating dogs, horses and other animals, Scarr also proposes that ‘this pattern may be an intrinsic part of mammalian limb development’.

If you’d like to begin to understand some of the science behind our experience of palpation, this is a great place to start.


(Pangolin Image By Valerius Tygart (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons)