How does Cranial Osteopathy work?
Cranial osteopathy has been a form of treatment used by many osteopaths since the early 1900’s. An osteopath named W.G. Sutherland noticed that the bones that form the head and face were arranged and adjoined together in a way that would enable movement to go through them. This thought went against the ideas Sutherland had previously been taught, that in an adult the bones of the cranium were fused and so didn’t allow for movement.
Sutherland spent the next 25 years experimenting on himself in order to prove this one way or another, often using household and kitchen items due to the lack of suitable equipment at the time! By the end of his experimentation he was sure that there was a rhythmic pattern of motion that could not only be felt whilst palpating the head but could in fact be palpated throughout the body. He felt this rhythm was similar to the body’s rhythm when breathing, although the two rhythms could be felt moving at different rates, so he named it the primary respiratory mechanism (PMR). One theory is that the PMR is driven by movement of fluids within and around your body and had traditionally been very closely linked with a persons overall health and vitality.
Cranial osteopaths feel for this fluid rhythm and use it as a way to diagnose the stresses, strains and areas of discomfort within the body. In order to help release these areas of tension we can support the body whilst gently manipulating the fluids through our touch. By increasing the fluid movement it allows the body to relax and dissolve any tension being held, often resulting in the body having an increase in freedom of movement and comfort.
Cranial osteopathy only uses gentle touch so is suitable for all ages, from new born babies, who have perhaps had difficult births, to the elderly, who want to maintain their health. As the techniques we use work with the health and vitality already within your body it can be very effective and powerful way of getting the body to release. We see patients with both chronic and acute pains, headaches, postural discomfort and even those that just want to maintain their health during their busy lifestyles.
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