Cranial Osteopathy isn’t just treatment of the head
Cranial osteopathy is a gentle, effective hands-on approach to diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems. Although the name cranial osteopathy suggests treatment of the head, it is actually a treatment for the whole body. The name simply refers to the fact that treatment includes the head.
Cranial osteopaths believe that your body is capable of self-healing and self-regulation, given the right conditions. Injuries or other problems with your musculoskeletal framework can disturb those conditions. Strains, postural problems or misalignments, for example, can alter your structure and affect the way you feel and function. This treatment helps your body to restore balance and alignment and to alleviate strain. This in turn helps to create the optimum conditions for your body to heal itself.
Cranial osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality. They are often drawn to areas in the body that have been affected by past events, such as old accidents and injuries. Your body may have learned to compensate for traumatic events or injuries in the past. However, the effects may still be there and may be relevant to your current symptoms. Treatment maybe able to unravel layers of adaptations from past injuries and traumas.
The cranial osteopathic approach was founded by Dr William Garner Sutherland, who first began considering the idea of ‘cranial’ osteopathy in 1899. He described a motion of the cranial and sacral bones corresponding to the movement of the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord (the primary respiratory movements). This movement, he discovered, was reflected throughout all the connecting tissues of the body. Every cell and all the fluids of the body express a rhythmic, involuntary motion that is of primary importance in a person’s health and vitality.
Dr Sutherland discovered that by relieving minor “strains” or abnormalities within the motion of the cranial bones and the sacrum he could produce profound effects on the general health of his patients.
Cranial osteopathy is widely known for the treatment of babies but, is equally effective for children, adults and the elderly. During treatment patients become aware of varied sensations, such as mild tension or feelings of warmth and relaxation. Others are unaware of anything happening at all but they are aware that they feel very different after treatment. Most become relaxed during treatment.
The effects of this treatment are difficult to prove due to lack of evidence. But modern scientific understanding of the physiology of fascia and electromagnetics in the body are increasingly validating the theory and palpatory experiences of cranial osteopaths.
Written by Clare Kersley BSc (Hons).
Osteopath and Massage Therapist