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.
Involuntary 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
Cranial Osteopathy is the pre-cursor to Cranial Sacral Therapy, developed by John Upledger. Cranial Osteopathy is included in the Osteopathic education curriculum.
Tension in the body disrupts the cranial rhythm
The Osteopath uses careful palpation to assess the subtle movements of the cranial bones, spine, pelvis, arms and legs. They also assess the membranes surrounding the brain and central nervous system, as well as the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. 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. (The Sutherland Society,
Wherever tensions are found, the Cranial Osteopath will use delicate techniques to release them and return the body to normal function.