Cranial osteopathy is a subtle form of osteopathy, it is taught to a greater or lesser degree in all osteopathic schools. Some osteopaths may choose to use cranial osteopathic techniques alongside structural osteopathy and others may use solely cranial techniques to treat patients.
The focus is not entirely on the cranium (head). The sacrum (the wedge shaped bone that joins the spine to the pelvis) is also very important as it is directly attached to the base of the cranium through many soft tissue attachments. If the pelvis is twisted / tilted or out of alignment it will therefore have an effect through the sacrum to the base of the cranium. Cranial osteopaths are taught to feel the minute and delicate rhythm that exists in all body tissues – it is called the cranial rhythm or involuntary motion. It is caused by the ebb and flow movement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as it exits the brain and bathes the spinal cord. This ebb and flow movement causes a pull on soft tissue connections between the spinal cord and the cranial bones. It can be felt anywhere in the body and cranial osteopaths are able to detect any restrictions or strain patterns affecting the rhythm.
Who can benefit?
It is suitable for everyone. It is a gentle but effective treatment and can be tailored to many conditions. Elderly patients and babies find it a relaxing treatment but it is also just as effective for adults.
The cranial rhythm is a cycle of movement similar to the breathing cycle that occurs 6-8 times a minute and is separate to all other rhythms within the body (including breathing). It was confirmed by scientific laboratory tests in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Stresses/strains and tensions within the body either from birth trauma, physical stress and strain or emotional trauma cause tissues to tighten. This tension restricts the natural movement of fluids within the tissues and the body and this can cause widespread problems.
Cranial osteopaths use a range of techniques to gently manipulate the cranial bones / spine / pelvis and any other affected areas in order to affect a release and a return to “normal”. Patients may be unable to detect any movement occurring.