What is cranial osteopathy?
Cranial osteopathy is a form of osteopathic treatment developed by American osteopathic physician William Garner Sutherland (1873 – 1954). Sutherland was a student of A T Still (the founder of Osteopathy) whose philosophy and principles of Osteopathy apply to cranial osteopathy and any other field of the osteopathic profession.
Sutherland was the first person to observe, explore and develop an understanding of the so called Cranial Rhythmic Impulse or Primary Respiration. This is a subtle, but perceptible, expression of pulsatile motion or rhythmic shape change that is expressed through the whole body – not just the cranium (head).
Cranial osteopaths utilise their highly developed palpation skills to sense subtle changes in and of motion, tension and tissue quality in the patient’s body. Diagnosis and treatment are by nature very subtle and employ an extremely refined contact with the patient to facilitate the release of accumulated strain. This gentle and yet powerful form of osteopathy helps the whole body to self-adjust, achieve a normalisation of function, and express health at a fundamental level.
Cranial osteopathy is a gentle, safe and effective approach to treatment of a wide range of problems throughout the whole body. The very gentle nature of the techniques employed makes cranial osteopathic treatment ideally suited to the treatment of people of all ages. Babies and children as well as older more frail individuals are especially suited to this gentle and highly effective form of treatment, as are those who are anxious about more physical treatment.
What is the difference between cranial osteopathy and cranio-sacral therapy?
Cranial osteopathy is practiced by osteopaths who have trained in this specialised field of the profession. It should not be confused or conflated with cranio-sacral therapy – despite the confusingly similar name.
The title “Osteopath” is protected by law and can only be used by practitioners who have completed the rigorous and extensive training required to achieve registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) – the Osteopathic regulator and equivalent to the General medical Council (GMC) for doctors.
Cranial Osteopathy is a specialist field of the osteopathic profession and can only be practiced by osteopaths. Those osteopaths who work using this approach should have completed a recognised courses of post graduate education in order to develop the skills required to practice this subtle form of osteopathy.