What is CranioSacral Osteopathy?
Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle osteopathic approach that can be applied to any part of the body. It can be used to treat people of all ages, but is particularly suited to treating babies and children.
Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel a subtle, whole-body motion that is present within all tissues. This subtle movement is called the Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM), or cranial mechanism.
The emphasis of a cranial osteopathic treatment is on the whole body, rather than on all the separate parts that make up our bodies. We consider that optimal health will occur when the whole body is in balance and functioning as one unit.
Throughout life we experience a range of stresses, including physical, traumatic, emotional and nutritional stress. Although your body works hard to resolve such stress, a lasting strain pattern can remain. As the layers of strain accumulate throughout life, they may begin to disrupt the Primary Respiratory Mechanism (PRM), reducing the flexibility of muscles, ligaments and joints, affecting your ability to adapt to further stresses and predisposing you to injury.
A cranial osteopath is trained to diagnose any strains that are preventing the expression of optimal health. They will gently help your body’s natural self-healing mechanism to release any unwelcome strains, enabling a state of health and balance to be restored. This process can be deeply relaxing and we encourage our patients to take this opportunity to rest and unwind during treatment.
Cranial osteopathy is not different to osteopathy, it is the name given to a subtle and refined approach to osteopathy that follows all the principles of osteopathy, and it is used throughout the body not just in the head. The name cranial osteopathy simply refers to the fact that it includes the structures inside the head.
Cranial osteopaths use a highly developed sense of touch to feel subtle changes of tension and tissue quality in the living anatomy of the whole body, and to diagnose areas of strain or dysfunction. Cranial osteopaths treat muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and the nervous and circulatory systems to facilitate change.
Cranial Osteopathy may be of assistance in the treatment of
- Neck and Back pain.
- Headaches and Migraines.
- Pregnancy related aches and pain.
- Sciatica and leg pain.
- Shoulder pain.
- Work Injuries.
- Hip pain.
- Sport Injuries.
- Joint and muscle pain.
- TMJ/ Jaw Pain.
How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?
Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.
Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes may cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.
Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.
Osteopathy in the cranial field has been practiced since the early 1930’s:
Dr William Sutherland in the early 1930’s, considered the idea of subtle movement within the whole body, with what he hypothesised had a relationship to expansion and contraction of the cranium, and with respiration.
Dr Sutherland and his colleagues theorised that injury or illness could disrupt this subtle movement that they could palpate with their hands and that this could alter the homeostatic mechanisms in the body, or the body’s natural ability to regulate and heal itself.
Practitioners who choose to treat in this way, must undergo extensive post-graduate training in order to palpate subtle imbalances or strains within this movement throughout the whole body – arms or legs, front or back, feet or head, for example.