Osteopathic medicine is a system of healthcare practice that focuses on the entire patient from nutrition and emotional stressors, to their spiritual life and musculoskeletal system. The theory in osteopathic medicine is that the whole person affects the person's health. Everything is considered to be interdependent and the musculoskeletal system plays an important role.
Cranial osteopathy involves the movement of the brain and spinal cord and will affect spinal fluid and membrane surrounding the brain and the movement of the sacrum between the hips. This method is similar in feel to acupressure and believed to release restricted muscles, bones, ligaments, membranes and fluid motion to improve an individual's health and free up their body to begin healing itself.
Cranial osteopathy is a unique treatment form that has been used to treat colic, reflux, failure to thrive,infections and sleep disorders in infants and young children. As individuals grow into their teens and young adulthood cranial osteopathy has also been used to help decrease migraine headaches, backaches and improve overall health.
Cranial osteopathy was devised by William Gardner Sutherland in the early part of the 19th century. He was in osteopathic who discovered the cranium is made of bones that were intricately joined to permit a slight yielding motion. He understood that this was possible to allow a slight rhythmical expansion and contraction of the brain inside the skull that was quite independent of the movement of breathing and heartbeat.
This gentle manual treatment is aimed to restore normal movement in the body and allow healthy functioning and integration to all the systems. It is this treatment that is used in infants and young children who have difficulty with sleeping disorders, or sleep disturbances.
Theory and treatment of sleep disturbances in young children and infants is that the tension of the bony and membranous casing of the inside of the skull will keep the baby's nervous system in a persistent state of alertness. This consistent state of alertness does not allow the child to fall asleep easily.
In the case of an adult this constant state of alertness is often caused from stress or a "mind that will not rest" which is not changed by the improvement in fluid mechanics inside the skull. Treatment for sleep disorders in adults may find some relief with cranial osteopathy but are more frequently assisted with treatment of a psychologist or physical evaluation for sleep apnea.
Author: J Russell Hart