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Cranial Osteopathy

The Cranial Concept

The cranial osteopathic movement was founded by Dr W G Sutherland. He first began considering the idea of 'cranial' osteopathy in 1899. He observed that every cell and all the fluids of the body express a rhythmic, involuntary motion and that this involuntary motion is of primary importance in each persons health and vitality. He spent the next thirty years researching the cranial concept and taught it until his death in 1954.

This rhythmic involuntary motion is often called the cranial rhythmic impulse or the involuntary mechanism. The cranial rhythmic impulse is a palpable, cyclic rhythmic wave of motion present throughout the body. It is not a 'movement' like at the knee joint or elbow joint, it is a sense of resilience, yielding or expansion type motion, a rise and fall similar to a tide. This motion takes place within the fluid based systems of the body (particularly the cerebrospinal fluid).

Where the flow of this wave of fluid is blocked, problems may arise. These restrictions impair the body's own inherent healing mechanisms Restrictions can occur in the central nervous system, lymphatic system, sinuses, joints, fascia, soft tissues and organs - craniosacral dysfunction patterns may be found throughout the body.Treatment is directed towards reducing restrictions in the flow of this fluid.

This releases membranous and articular strains and patterns within the cranial system or within the body framework, helps fluid drainage and encourages a more vital expression of the involuntary mechanism.

Cranial Osteopathic Treatment

The cranial rhythmic impulse is a tiny movement, and therefore palpable with only very light touch, it is especially palpable at the cranium and at the sacrum.

The cranial osteopath is able to feel this impulse throughout the body and uses specially trained palpatory skills to assess what forces have been imposed on the cranial mechanism from birth, childhood, illnesses, allergies, emotional or other trauma.

The osteopath is aiming to understand how these forces have caused subtle restrictions in movement in that individual and what the patterns of dysfunction are for that person. The osteopath then works to encourage the bones or compressed tissue to right itself and to function normally by applying light pressure until the system begins to respond

As restrictions release, the osteopath can sense an improvement in the cranial rhythmic impulse, a greater "ebb and flow of the tide".

This gentle release of restrictions in the body can often relieve discomfort and pain, improve chronic musculo -skeletal problems and aid other longstanding health conditions.

The cranial osteopathic approach is useful for treating a variety of conditions including headaches, recurrent coughs, colds and ear infections, glue ear, asthma, sciatica, back, neck and joint problems, irritable bowel and other digestion problems. It is often well tolerated by patients who find traditional osteopathic treatment too uncomfortable for them.

Many patients suffering from tension and stress related problems find that cranial osteopathic treatment is helpful for them.

It is also particularly useful in the treatment of babies, children and pregnant women.