What is Cranial Osteopathy?
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.
lnvoluntary 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 '70's.
Tension in the body disrupts the cranial rhythm. Practitioners compare what your rhythm is doing to what they consider ideal. 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.
Accumulation of stress and strain in the body
When we experience physical or emotional stresses our body tissues tend to tighten up. The body may have been able to adapt to these effects at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. Any tensions which remain held in the body can restrict its free movement. Gradually the body may find it more and more difficult to cope with accumulated stresses and symptoms may develop.
Cranial Sacral Therapy
Posted by Kimberly on July 1, 2007
Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST) was founded by an osteopath, Dr. William Garner Sutherland, who lived from 1873-1954. Osteopathic physicians are trained to have the standard medical knowledge of an MD, but also places an emphasis on the musculoskeletal system, and how dislocations and diseases of this system affect other organ systems of the body.
Dr. Sutherland found that when he adjusted and manually manipulated the bones of the head, that the sutures (the lines where several bones of the head come together), once thought to be unmovable, were actually designed for motion. He hypothesized that the seams where the bones meet, change due to the ebb and flow of the cerebral spinal fluid that bathes and hydrates the brain and spinal cord. He believed that physical and emotional stress often resulted in the fluid level being higher or lower that usual, resulting in an imbalance. He found that a gentle adjustment of the cranial bones, helped to restore balance to the cerebral spinal fluid, and allowed the practitioner doing the adjustment, to feel a rhythmic impulse. He named this process the “Breath of Life”, which requires the person doing the therapy to press (gently palpate) certain areas on the scalp as well as regions over the spine.
Current cranial sacral therapists and osteopaths who use this technique describe how it is helpful with conditions such as post-concussion syndrome, migraine and cluster headaches, Fibromyalgia, stress, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and other conditions of the head, neck, back and spinal region. Even patients, who are status post-back surgery, find this treatment pleasant, relaxing and helpful with the residual pain that sometimes occurs after a back injury/surgery.
Some clients report a very deep level of relaxation; others describe what may be a high level of endorphin secretion or even an endorphin surge, resulting in a feeling of peace and wellbeing. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killer, produced by the brain as a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the brain). When clients are receiving treatments such as cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, and even massage, an increase in endorphin synthesis and secretion often occurs.
Treatments such as cranial sacral therapy, as well as other natural treatments provided by osteopaths and other disciplines are thought to promote the natural healing tendency of the body, and correct imbalances, interruptions, or blocks of cerebral spinal fluid.