What is cranial osteopathy?
Cranial Osteopathy is a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that uses very gentle manipulative pressure to encourage the release of stresses throughout the body, including the head.
It is extremely effective in treating a wide range of conditions in people of all ages, from birth to old age.
Why is Cranial Osteopathy different?
In their training, Osteopaths are taught a variety of treatment methods and techniques, ranging from the well known ‘high velocity thrust’ with its dramatic clicks, to the very gently applied methods used by so called ‘cranial osteopaths’.
Osteopaths vary their treatment methods depending on their own preference and individual patients’ problems.
‘Cranial Osteopath’ is the name by which osteopaths who work at the more gentle, subtle end of the spectrum of treatment have become known.
Osteopaths may have different specialities including sports injuries, paediatrics, visceral (treating the internal organs of the body). Cranial Osteopathy embraces all of these.
‘Involuntary Motion’ in the body
Cranial Osteopaths are trained to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues. This is called involuntary motion.
The skull is made up of 26 bones that are intricately joined in such a way that during the rhythmical cycle of involuntary motion, the skull can actually change shape very slightly to accommodate the normal involuntary motion of the brain inside.
Impacts to the head can block or disrupt this movement. This can cause a very wide variety of problems both in the head and elsewhere in the body.
Using involuntary motion in the tissues, osteopaths can feel whether a person is in an optimum state of health, or whether there is something preventing healthy movement of the tissues from occurring.
Accumulation of stress and strain in the body
Most of us have been exposed to physical trauma at some stage in our life. The body may have been able to absorb the effects of an accident at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. Illness and emotional trauma can also leave a lasting physical effect.
Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses, and symptoms may start to show.
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 lumbar spine, 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 does cranial treatment feel like?
Patients may feel sensations of pressure or warmth, either under the osteopath’s hands or elsewhere. Most patients feel that gradually the tension is being drawn out of their body and they become deeply relaxed.
The benefits of treatment
Osteopathic treatment is aimed not only at the relief of symptoms, but towards helping the body function better in all respects.