What is Cranial Osteopathy?

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Osteopathy is a system of diagnosis and treatment which works with the structure and function of the body.
The maintenance of good mechanical function is essential to good health. Problems in the framework of the body can disturb the circulatory system or nerves to any part of the body, and affect any aspect of health.
Osteopaths work to restore the structure and function of the body to a state of balance and harmony, so helping the whole person.

 

What is Cranial Osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy is a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head.
It is a gentle yet extremely effective approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.
Osteopaths may have different specialities including sports injuries, paediatrics, and visceral osteopathy (treating the internal organs of the body). Cranial osteopathy embraces all of these.

 

lnvoluntary Motion- The Cranial Rhythm

Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues. This is called Involuntary Motion or the Cranial Rhythm.  The movement is of very small amplitude, therefore it takes practitioners with a very finely developed sense of touch to feel it. This rhythm was first described in the early 1900’s by Dr. William G. Sutherland and its existence was confirmed in a series of laboratory tests in the 1960’s and ’70’s.

Tension in the body disrupts the cranial rhythm. Practitioners compare what your rhythm is doing to what they consider ideal. This shows them what stresses and strains your body is under at present, and what tensions it may be carrying as a result of its past history. It also gives them an insight into the overall condition of your body, for example if it is healthy, or stressed and tired.

 

Accumulation of stress and strain in the body

When we experience physical or emotional stresses our body tissues tend to tighten up. The body may have been able to adapt to these effects at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. Any tensions which remain held in the body can restrict its free movement. Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses and symptoms may develop.

 


A Case History- James

When he is 6, James has a heavy fall out of a tree onto his bottom. He is bruised and sore for a few days, but soon forgets about it. Unknown to him, he still carries with him compressive strain in his sacrum and lower back, and in the base of his skull.

At age 20, James then has a car accident in which he sustains a mild whiplash. All car accidents put enormous strain throughout the whole spine, and this adds to the existing strain from his fall as a child.

At age 30, when James is now also subjected to stress at work, he begins to develop headaches and a bit of backache. He decides to consult an osteopath who discovers that the top of the neck and base of the skull are compressed and immobile from the effects of the childhood fall and the car accident. Treatment to release these retained strains restores the harmony of the body tissues, James is relieved of his headaches and backache, and also discovers that he has more energy, is sleeping better and coping better with the stress at work.

What can cranial osteopaths treat?

While it can be highly effective at relieving symptoms, cranial osteopathy aims to treat the whole person not just the condition, so a very wide range of situations may be supported.
In babies and children many of the usual problems of infancy and childhood may be supported in their healing process by Cranial Osteopathy. Please see the following pages about osteopathy for more details: