What is it?
Cranial osteopathy is a type of osteopathy that is very gentle and safe. Cranial osteopaths do postgraduate training to become proficient in this system of treatment. They learn to feel a very subtle, rhythmical shape change that is present in all body tissues. Tension in the body will disrupt this rhythm. Cranial treatment attempts to correct and release this tension. By gently releasing tension and stress throughout the body it is possible to treat a variety of conditions.
What can cranial osteopathy treat?
Because cranial osteopathy is a very gentle treatment, it is suitable for most people, including babies and children. The aim of the treatment is to treat the whole person. A pain or dysfunction in one area is going to impact on the rest of the body. Consequently, it is necessary to get to the root cause of the problem rather that just treating the symptoms.
Adults: when treating adults a mixture of traditional and cranial osteopathy is used, as these work well together. Conditions that can respond especially well to cranial treatment include:
- musculoskeletal pain
Babies: Cranial osteopathy is often used to treat babies. Because it is such a gentle form of treatment, it is very safe and comfortable for the baby to receive. The stress and strain of emerging into the world can have a profound impact on the baby, resulting in problems with sleep, fussiness, irritability, excessive crying. Cranial osteopathy can help to release this tension and restore normal function.
What to expect when consulting a cranial osteopath
As with conventional structural osteopathy, a full case history will be taken. This will include enquiry into past medical conditions, past injuries and the history of the current problem. When treating babies it is important to know as much as possible about the pregnancy and the delivery. The more information provided the better. Therefore, it is often good to consider this aspect of the history prior to attending the consultation.
The examination will include the whole body framework. Therefore, it is often necessary to get partially undressed. If you have any concerns about this, you can always discuss this with the osteopath and an appropriate solution will be found.
Cranial treatment is very gentle and will often involve you lying down while the osteopath holds different parts of your body. The examination and treatment will often start with the osteopath holding your head.
What to expect after treatment
As cranial treatment is so gentle it should not cause discomfort. Most people find such gentle treatment very relaxing. Occasionally some patients feel slight soreness after the treatment. This is similar to that experienced after unaccustomed exercise. Usually it only lasts for one to two days.
After cranial osteopathic treatment a baby will be very relaxed. Often a baby sleeps more on the day of treatment. Sometimes the opposite is also possible where the baby will have a burst of energy. On rare occasion babies are unsettled after treatment. This is temporary and usually resolves in one to two days.