Osteopathy is a healing technique which studies the function and structure of the whole body. Osteopaths seek to ensure the body is in a state of harmony and balance.
Cranial osteopaths is a sub-type of osteopathy which specialises in detecting and correcting the cranial rhythm – movement in the bones of the skull.
Cranial osteopathy is not just used to treat the head but used to help the whole body. Tensions anywhere in the body’s framework and structure can sometimes be detected by studying the cranial rhythm. It is not unusual for cranial osteopathy to be used to help with neck and back pains, sports injuries, stress, digestive difficulties, recurring infections, headaches and migraines.
The cranial rhythm was first noticed in the early 1900s by Dr William G Sutherland. He was deeply interested in the bone shape and structure of a dis-articulated skull on display in a medical cabinet. It was Dr Sutherland who first theorised that the bones of the skull might allow for a subtle movement and went on to test his theory.
At the University of Michigan during the 1960s the surgeon John Upledger went on to do further studies into cranial osteopathy. He was involved in the removal of calcium plaques from the flexible tissue surrounding the spinal cord and discovered he was unable to ensure that the patent’s spinal cord remained perfectly still. He proposed that the dura mater (the tissue around the cord) was moving by itself. His research went on to show that that when the cranium expands so does the sacrum and coccyx.
Visits to the Osteopath
When you visit the osteopath it is usual for you to be asked a number of general health questions. You may also have to remove bulky clothing so the osteopath can study the way your body moves.
In some cases you may be asked to give blood or allow the osteopath to handle painful areas of your body (such as in the treatment of sports injuries).
Osteopathic treatment tends to be relaxing and comfortable although some people may ache for 24 to 48 hours if the treatment stimulates parts of the body not used to much movement.
In the United Kingdom qualified osteopaths will have DO or BSc (Ost) after their names and be a member of the General Osteopathy Council.
In Pure Spirit
Have you benefited from cranial osteopathy? Did you find the session relaxing?
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