Institutional Research

The Research Department has continued to promote and organize research into osteopathy, publishing research results in academic journals and making research findings available and known to the public


The ESO Research department was awarded £17K by the Sutherland Cranial College of Osteopathy (SSCO) in May 2013 for carrying out research into the effects of cranial osteopathy in these infants. Excessive Crying (Infantile Colic) is one of the most common complaints for which parents seek treatment. These otherwise healthy and well fed infants cry without identifiable cause, fuss a lot and are hard-to-soothe. This study aims to explore the feasibility of running a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) that investigates the effectiveness of cranial osteopathy in addition to usual NHS health visitor care in infants with colic.

This feasibility study will comprise three elements, a small RCT, a short online survey and a qualitative interview-based study.

Sixty excessively crying infants/infants with colic and their parents will be identified by health visitors as part of their routine post-natal care who will hand out information packs about the study. Parents who are interested in the study will contact the Research Team for further information. If happy to proceed, infants will be included into the study if they are healthy (full-term) and aged 1-7 weeks, identified as suffering from excessive crying/infantile colic, and have no serious illnesses. Participants will be randomised into the usual care group or the usual care plus cranial osteopathic intervention group. Osteopathic treatment, applied to the infant, will be individualized, according to clinical findings and will be carried out by experienced osteopaths in private practice. Usual care provided by health visitors will already be in place for all participants and will be maintained if needed throughout the study. Parents are asked to frequently fill questionnaires and a crying diary as well as some of them may be invited for face-to-face interview once the data collection period of nine weeks has ended. A short online survey will be administered to participating osteopaths and health visitors in order to explore their treatment/management practices.

The link to the Study registration on Clinical can be found here

The aim of this research is to assess the acceptability of using a mobile folding screen for blinding parents of infant study participants in clinical trials of osteopathic interventions. The preliminary data of this acceptability study will inform future randomized controlled trials with infant participants where parental blinding is required. 30 excessively crying infants will be randomly allocated to 2 groups, one group receives osteopathic intervention, the other group does not receive treatment. All infants are treated (or not) behind a mobile folding screen, so that parents are not aware of group allocation. After a ‘treatment’ period of 20 min, the screen is removed, and parents are asked to fill in an acceptability and blinding success questionnaire.


The link to the Study registration on Clinical can be found here:

This literature review will explore the nature, quality and usage of sham controls in manual therapy trials. The rationale for commencing on this project was our increasing expertise resulting from the clinical study on excessively crying babies. We have realised that the literature has not much to offer in terms of suitable sham controls in manual therapy clinical trials. We decided to systematically search the literature for trials that use sham controls and extract the properties of these sham controls for publication, and hence, for further use in all clinical trials aiming to use such controls.

This study is carried out in collaboration with the Osteopathie-Schule Deutschland GmbH, with the ESO-RD being the project lead.

The link to the review registration can be found here:


The Centre for Osteopathic Medicine Collaboration (COME), which is based in Italy, has approached the ESO amongst other European Osteopathic Educational Institutions, to take part in a multi-centre questionnaire survey, administered to undergraduate osteopathic students in their final year before graduation during the latter part of 2014. This project has been completed, with results being published in a high-impact factor Journal.

Members of the Research Department took part from 2012 to 2015 in a collaboration with Campus Kristiana in Norway, University of Warwick Medical School and Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry on a large systematic review of populations, reporting and outcomes in back pain trials. This work was led by Dr Robert Froud and has now been completed. The results of this research have been written up for publication, with one paper being accepted in November 2015. Two further papers are due in 2016.