Cranial osteopathy can be used as a complete approach to healing, and is used by some osteopaths as the mainstay of their practice. To other practitioners it is a useful tool that is integrated with other styles as part of osteopathic treatment. Cranial is sometimes referred to as cranio-sacral, cranium referring to the head, and sacrum to the tail-bone at the base of the spine. Cranial technique is often administered from these areas, but is not restricted to them, and can be applied anywhere in the body.
Who can Benefit?
It is suitable for all age ranges and may be particularly helpful in infants and during pregnancy. Cranial osteopathy is thought by many to be useful in babies and children to gently release any strains present from the birth process.
Many patients report good results with cranial osteopathy for a wide range of complaints, some of which are listed below. Scientific evidence is currently limited on this subject.
- Generalised joint aches or muscular pains
- Discomfort in pregnancy and following birth
- Infants and children
- Following dental surgery, or for problems with orthodontic work
Conclusive research has yet to be carried out that could confirm the effectiveness of cranial osteopathy for these conditions.
How does the treatment work?
Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle approach using minute movements to create space and movement in a joint or area. Patients often report a feeling of deep relaxation after cranial osteopathy, and it can be effective in easing pain and increasing circulation. By easing subtle tension patterns, this technique gives the body the space to change and relax at its own pace. Easing these strains decreases the load of stress on the body, and promotes overall vitality, both of which may help the body to retain health, and decrease the perception of pain.
What Kind of Treatment will I Receive?
Cranial osteopathy can be used on any part of the body, but usually included an assessment of the skull and pelvis. This is done by placing the hands on the area and feeling for the very subtle movements present, cranially qualified osteopaths undergo extensive training to refine their ability to sense these movements. To the patient it may feel like nothing is happening, although frequently the changes are felt as they happen, and treatment will progress in much the same way after the initial assessment.
Cranial osteopathy is increasing in popularity, perhaps because of the good results that patients report they experience from this approach, despite it's gentle and non-invasive nature.