Sunflower Method


The Sunflower Method has been developed over the past 20 years by Guildford-based osteopath, Mark Matthews, as he found that when he treated children with learning difficulties their conditions and behaviour were improved. The method treats the child as a whole, on the basis that our physical, mental and emotional systems are interdependent. The principal diagnostic tool is applied kinesiology - testing whether individual muscles are strong or weak, which is an indicator of imbalances in the chemical and neurological system. The treatment programme involves an individually tailored combination of cranial osteopathy, acupressure, homeopathy, dietary adjustment, nutritional supplements and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to redress weaknesses. The process has been compared to debugging a computer.

Who is it suitable for?

The Sunflower method is most effective for children over seven years old. It is used with children with a wide range of behavioural, health and learning difficulties including the following conditions:

Cerebral Palsy (mild forms)

Children who have not been diagnosed, but experience problems with: behaviour, clumsiness, concentration, co-ordination, food intolerances/sensitivities, general developmental delay, handwriting skills, mathematics, social skills are also suitable.


The child's suitability is assessed on the basis of a questionnaire, medical and neurological examination, osteopathic and kinesiology tests, and occasionally blood and urine samples. The parents are then presented with a report laying out the proposed treatment programme, and the estimated cost.

The treatment is divided onto five areas:

Structural Any problems found in the musculoskeletal system are corrected, through cranial osteopathy, manipulation, reflex point stimulation and soft-tissue balancing, in order to ensure that the child can lie down, sit, stand and walk without stress.

Neurological Over 200 reflexes are assessed and corrected if necessary (sometimes through exercises). These include: retained primitive reflexes, cranial dyslexia reflexes, eye ear tongue reflexes, proprioception.

Biochemical It is claimed that biochemical problems can hinder developmental and educational progress, even when there are no obvious symptoms. Problems such as gut dysbiosis, organ stress, intolerances, inflammation and oxidative stress are approached by means of nutritional supplements, special diets (commonly sugar-intolerance is implicated), and osteopathic treatment of the organs.

Emotional Negative emotional associations, caused by repeated failure, teasing, frustration or fear may hamper a child’s ability to learn, and may result in behavioural disturbances as an avoidance strategy. Neuro-linguistic programming is used to establish a more positive attitude patterns of thought may be altered, helping the individual take control of their actions. Homeopathic remedies may also be prescribed.


In 2001, Leona Bull, a researcher at the University of Surrey at Roehampton began a four year study of seventy children with dyslexia who have been treated with the Sunflower Method. The long term effects and overall satisfaction with the Method are also being assessed. A report of the findings will be available in spring 2002, and further information can be obtained by contacting Leona Bull directly at:

Whitlelands College
West Hill
London SW15 3SN

In 1997, the parents of 44 dyslexic children were asked to complete a questionnaire after treatment by the Sunflower method. A summary of the main findings is as follows:
-Has your child improved? 98% said Yes
-Is your child more relaxed, calm, co-operative and enthusiastic? 90% said Yes
-Has your child been more successful at school? 86% said Yes
-Do you feel it was money well spent? 95% said Yes
Would you recommend the treatment to other parents? 95% said Yes

Further Information

16 Sunflower practitioners work at Sunflower Treatment Centres across the UK; they are all registered osteopaths or chiropractors, and trained in applied kinesiology. The average cost of the treatment programme, which typically lasts up to six months, is £300-£500.

For details contact:
The Sunflower Trust
1 High Street
Surrey GU7 1AZ
Tel:01483 428141
website: http://www.sunflowertrust.org.uk

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