Cranial osteopathy uses specific osteopathic techniques, which treat the bodies cranial rhythm. In the early 1900’s Dr William Sutherland identified rhythmical shape change that occurs in the bodies tissues, he called it ‘cranial rhythm’ (some may identify it today as involuntary motion.) This is perceived in most parts of the body, most obviously noted in the cranial bones, sacrum, and pelvis. Scientific tests have since confirmed its existence.*
Trauma to the body, accidents or injuries, long-term emotional stress or even the birthing process can cause tensions in the body and disrupt the cranial rhythm. This is when cranial osteopathy can be used and is most effective in restoring equilibrium.
More and more commonly, cranial osteopaths are being renowned for their work on newborn babies. Why do these perfect little humans need any treatment? The birthing process can be very long or even very short, it is not always a smooth pathway for a baby entering the world after being protected for 9 months in a bubble of fluid. There may be a lot of compression put on the skull, or the position of the shoulders and ribcage during the birth can disrupt the cranial rhythm. This is not to mention the stress that forceps, ventouse or any other intervention puts on the baby to allow their safe delivery.
Osteopaths believe that structure and function are interrelated this means that from the smallest cell to the largest bone, there is constant movement as it functions. When the movement is impaired the tissues will not function as intended. Every structure in the body is shaped and positioned in a certain way that it can work efficiently and effectively if it is altered the other structures have to work harder to compensate, so baby may become unsettled. For example, if your baby is delivered by forceps, traction and rotational forces are used, this can irritate the babies neck. They will not complain of there neck hurting, what you may notice is that they struggle to rotate the head to one side, hence making latching on more difficult on one breast and potentially impacting the success of feeding.
Other scenarios may cause other biomechanical changes in the body, they can be found on examination by a trained professional, not so easy for a new mother and father. What they may experience is prolonged crying, the appearance of discomfort (aggravated by certain positions), problems with feeding, high-frequency vomiting, colic, or reflux. If you have any queries about cranial osteopathy please feel free to contact Sinead. Cranial osteopathy is a safe, gentle and effective method of treatment. All cranial osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council, Sinead has also undertaken several postgraduate courses in cranial osteopathy.
*Cranial Sacral therapy. Upledger JE. Physical Therapy Journal 1995 April; 75 (4): 328-30 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7899490
1. Phys Ther. 1995 Apr;75(4):328-30. Craniosacral therapy. Upledger JE. Comment on Phys Ther. 1994 Oct;74(10):908-16; discussion 917-20.
The relationship of craniosacral examination findings in grade school children with developmental problems. Upledger JE. Journal Osteopathic Association. 1978 June; 77 (10):760-776.
1. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 1978 Jun;77(10):760-76. The relationship of craniosacral examination findings in grade school children with developmental problems.