Osteopath William Garner Sutherland and chiropractor Nephi Cottam are often credited in the osteopathic and chiropractic literature with being the first developers of cranial manipulation in the first half of the twentieth century. However, other practitioners in osteopathy and chiropractic developed cranial concepts in the last part of the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century. This research identifies the early pioneers in chiropractic and osteopathy who share a legacy in the exploration of the cranium, its mobility, and its manipulation for health benefits. Following this, the author distinguishes two groups of practitioners - those that developed full cranial concepts and those that did not. Osteopaths Sutherland and Weaver and chiropractor Cottam were the first to concurrently develop full cranial concepts, while others made earlier contributions to elements of practice and theory. This new understanding of the early development of cranial manipulation allows us to move away from a star system toward a richer, more complete and balanced history of early cranial manipulation within and between osteopathy and chiropractic.
The discussion identifies factors that contributed to William Garner Sutherland becoming the dominant figure in the history of cranial manipulation and establishes the dynamics that prevent other practitioners, especially Nephi Cottam and Charlotte Weaver, from receiving more recognition in that history.
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher. Full text is available by subscription.