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Cranial Osteopathy

cranial osteopathy

What is cranial osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy refers to a very gentle therapeutic approach that is part of traditional osteopathy. It was first coined to express the fact that the flexibility of the joints in the body includes the specialised joints in the head known as sutures. Now the name is not entirely helpful as it implies a focus on the head when cranial osteopathy has come to be understood as gentle approach used for treatment of the whole body and not only or mainly the head.

In papers and magazines cranial osteopathy is most often highlighted as a treatment for new-borns and babies. However it is extremely effective and is suitable for the treatment of people of all ages.

‘The body is a unit’ is one of the fundamental principles of osteopathy. It means the body is a whole, it experiences disease as a whole and it heals as a whole. Medics, scientists and health care practitioners divide the body up into parts and systems in order to describe it and to study how it works. The divisions are all conceptual as the body is functioning as a whole.

From the beginning of osteopathy in 1873 the principle of wholeness has been part of the framework for teaching and study.

It is believed that Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathy, had an extraordinary level of sensitivity of perception and palpation and used many different therapeutic approaches with his patients including some that were more physically vigorous and other that utilized light touch.

Over time osteopathy has evolved and there have been a number of pioneers who have extended our understanding of the gentle end of the osteopathic spectrum of treatment approaches. One key figure was William Garner Sutherland who in 1899 became fascinated with the complex anatomy of the bones of the skull – seemingly designed for movement. Sutherland spent many years studying and also experimenting on himself and eventually began teaching an approach that became known as cranial osteopathy. The approach began to be taught more extensively from 1939 onwards.

In his writings in the 1870’s Andrew Taylor Still encouraged osteopaths to ‘dig on’, to keep exploring and questioning so that osteopathy would constantly grow and remain an evolving field of study. As I see it the unfolding of the cranial approach and more recent exploration of this field by osteopaths such as James Jealous in the USA is all part of the heart of osteopathy as a whole rather than a separate modality.

What is a cranial osteopath?

A cranial osteopath is simply an osteopath who specialises in this gentle approach to treatment for patients of all ages.

Gentle osteopathic treatment is suitable for people of all ages.

Osteopaths are fully trained to recognise health conditions and will refer you or your child to a medical doctor or other practitioner if appropriate.

Speak with an osteopath about your health questions.
We offer an initial 15 minute phone call or visit to the clinic to speak with an osteopath about your health issues, free of charge.
Call 07808 670 834 today to arrange a time.

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