Cranial osteopaths are skilled in assessing the mechanics of the whole body. The techniques of cranial are particularly useful for feeling deeply into the body, locating where the body might be carrying the effects of stresses and strains, and releasing these tensions. This relieves pain and discomfort, and restores the normal ease of movement of the spine. For the longer term, this can reduce wear and tear on the spine.
Cranial is a specialist form of osteopathy, favoured by those who feel most comfortable working with gentle, subtle techniques. An American, William Garner Sutherland, developed the technique in the 1930’s.
Sutherland believed that the cranial bones (the skull bones encasing the brain) weren’t fused in adulthood, as was widely thought, but actually had a cycle of slight involuntary movement. He suggested that this movement was influenced by the rhythmic flow of cerebrospinal fluid (the nourishing and protective fluid that circulates through the spinal canal and brain) and could become blocked. He developed refined and subtle techniques using very gentle manipulative pressure to encourage the release of stresses and strains in the cranium and throughout the body.
Cranial can be a part of any osteopathic treatment and is often used for sinus problems, headaches and head injuries. It’s particularly effective for treating children, even babies, with problems such as glue ear, colic, sleeplessness, or birth trauma, and this treatment is sometimes termed ‘paediatric osteopathy’.