History of Finnish Bonesetting

Finnish bonesetting has been around for over a thousand years and it has been one of the commonly used tools in Finnish folk medicine practitioners along with herbal treatments, sauna and cupping therapy.

Finnish folk healers gained reputation throughout Europe for their knowledge of the human body and their capabilities in restoring health where other healers failed.

Traditional bonesetting includes two different set of methods in treatments. Manipulation is uses slight force to manipulate a joint into a better position. Mobilization on the other hand doesn't use force, but instead relies on using the patient's movement in gently "persuading" the tissue to relax and let the body balance itself.

Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy (TKMT) i.e. "Kalevalainen jäsenkorjaus"

Finnish bonesetters were trained keeping the information in family, but Olavi Mäkelä made an exception after seeing how many people could be helped with bonesetting. Olavi Mäkelä along with Pentti Penttilä started teaching other people as well. This happened in 1986. At first the training included both manipulation and mobilization, but Olavi soon realized the long-term benefits were better in using mobilization techniques so he focused the teaching in mobilization techniques.

"Kalevalainen jäsenkorjaus" came to life as a name officially in 1998. Before that it was referred to as Traditional bonesetting or Traditional Finnish bonesetting (TBS). Kansanlääkintäseura is the organisation overseeing the usage, development and training of Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy (TKMT).

Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy is based on the mobilization style of Finnish bonesetting, meaning TKMT doesn't use manipulation techniques or "cracking". Mobilization techniques make TKMT an extremely gentle form of treatment that's suitable for all ages. Even small babies can be treated.

The goal of TKMT is to find the source of the problems and balancing that part of the body helps the body to balance the rest. We never know if there are multiple sources of problems so the whole body is treated every time, starting from the feet and all the way up to the head.

Scientific studies

Although the basis of Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy lies in Finnish folk medicine dating back over a thousand years, one of the modernizations TKMT has done is participating in scientific research. TKMT has been studied in five Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) so far. One of these studied was included in a meta-analysis by the University of Amsterdam in 2021.

The studies showed that Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy was at least on the same level of effectiveness as traditional physiotherapy and in some studies even more effective in the long term.

Here are the links to the some of the studies:


Kansanlääkintäseura is the only educator of Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy practitioners. Training to be a certified TKMT practitioner takes roughly three years. There are 13 study weekends filled with hands-on training, theory and different kinds of assignments and tests. However, the majority of the learning is done between the study weekends as a student must have at least 300 approved practise treatments done before they can attend the final exam treatment where a master-level TKMT professional is evaluating the performance on a patient. During the three-years there are also several exams that the students must pass. The exams test the students knowledge of human anatomy and physiology as well as "force" the student to reflect on their role as a practitioner.

The training path follows a tried and true "trainee - apprentice - practitioner" after which you are entitled to call yourself a Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy Practitioner. This title is not permanent as TKMT practitioners are required membership of Kansanlääkintäseura and attend additional training once at least every two years as well as behave according to the ethical code of Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy.

Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy today



400 000+

treatments every year


training sessions every year

There's a lot going on with TKMT nowadays. More people are starting studies and more and more people treat themselves with Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy.

There is also a lot of interest in getting Traditional Kalevala Mobilization Therapy integrated into the Finnish health care system. That would make it possible for a doctor to include a TKMT Practitioner in the treatment cycle of many patients suffering from problems in and originating from their musculoskeletal system.