The Hurley/Osborn Technique - July 2018

a.k.a. Aquarian-Age Healing

By OK In Health's Articles

person with back pain

The statistics on back pain state that 80% of all adults will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Anyone who has experienced physical pain, of any kind, knows that it affects not only your body but your quality of life.  Some therapies will relieve the discomfort for a time but having a treatment that is gentle, non-invasive and works quickly towards curing not only the pain and discomfort but the structural reason behind the pain may be of interest.

For thirty years I have been using a light touch treatment technique which produces consistent and repeatable results. My clients will often present with severe back or neck pain and within the 30 to 45 minutes it takes to treat them, they can walk out of my office pain free or with enough pain release that they know that, as the body continues to heal and move over the next three days, they will be pain free.  Others will present with more chronic pain issues that have been with them for years and within a few treatments their pain is gone or greatly reduced. 

Growing up in a medical family, my father specialized in urology and my mother was a nurse, it was only natural that I would go into a medical field and I graduated from physiotherapy in 1971. My natural inclination and interest was in orthopaedics and I took many courses in manual therapy looking to restore natural movement by mobilizing and stabilizing specific joints. A point came where I became dissatisfied and found the results inconsistent. About this time, a friend suggested I get some treatments with Dr. Osborn and look into training. Both her daughter and husband had been treated for spinal curvature with good results and, as a physiotherapist, I knew there was very little I could do that would help straighten the spine.  I was curious.

The technique that Dr. Osborn used is based on the principle that the center of the gravity of the body lies just anterior to the sacrum, so that strain and stress will result in structural overload causing the sacrum to move forward creating distortion throughout the body. This distortion/tension will ultimately cause pain in the body if the stress is not relieved. It’s a little like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The pull of gravity will be much greater on the side it is leaning towards and the strain of trying to maintain vertical will be magnified on the opposite side. Therefore, when your back reverts to an upright position, the strain is gone. With this understanding, using very specific contact points both the founder, Dr. Osborn and their students produced profound and consistent results.

During a treatment, a plumb bob is used to get a visual postural assessment.  The bony landmarks of the body are used to measure any imbalances. The correct contact point is found using measurements and by touching the point and watching for positive influences. Having determined the point, the client then lies on a specifically designed table which flattens the back, relaxes the hips, and allows the sacrum to move. The body is checked for pain and tension, which is then cleared using this accurate contact point. Standing after the treatment, the person will usually find that they feel more relaxed and will experience less discomfort. On the plumb line, the posture will look improved.

The initial treatment is really only the beginning of the healing process. The body works to realign itself and reverse the distortion for days following the treatment. There may be a noticeable difference in posture, in how you walk and perform daily activities and even how you sleep.

It is now believed that these “contact points” tap into a specific deep cellular memories that are from a time two weeks after conception when the head and the tail of the developing foetus separate and the body begins the process of elongating and moving towards an upright position. Touching these “memory points” creates elongation and normalization of the body posture.

The originator of the technique  was Dr. John Hurley, engineer and then chiropractor, who along with Dr. Helen Sanders, DC in 1932 published two volumes of books called Aquarian-Age Healing for You and they were the first to coin the terms Bio-Mechanics and Bio-Engineering.  Revolutionary for his time, Dr. Hurley devised his own system of healing with emphasis placed on the influence of the center of gravity and its relationship to the body.

This technique was later expanded upon by Dr. Russell Osborn who trained at the National College of Chiropractic and Drugless Physicians graduating in 1941. After graduating, in 1943, he studied under Dr. Hurley and formed a lifelong professional relationship with him.  He practiced exclusively this technique from the 1940’s until his passing in 2000, was passionate about healthy living and lived to be 97 years old, treating clients and teaching until three months prior to his death.  In 2001, the students aptly renamed the treatment the Hurley/Osborn Technique to honour both Dr. Hurley and Dr. Osborn.

Mary Freebairn is a physiotherapist and Hurley/Osborn teacher presently working in Naksup. For further information about the technique or an upcoming course in Vernon, please contact her at 250-265-9986 or go to the website

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