Blue Flower

Cranial osteopathy, also referred to as Cranio-Scaral osteopathy or Craniosacral Therapy is a very gentle way of working with the body using light touch, so is especially suitable for children and new born babies. Many find this very relaxing. You can contact us directly and book in and if we feel it is more appropriate that they see a medical doctor, then we are qualified to advise as such. On the other hand if you are concerned by all means please have your child checked out with their GP &/or Paediatrician. If they are not worried and you are still concerned, then we are also happy to see your child.

The aim of cranial osteopathy is to encourage & maximise health to give the child (or adult for that matter) the best possible chance of optimum health & therefore life thereafter.

Usually the younger the child, the quicker they respond, as they have a greater capacity to heal, compensate & adapt. This is because there is still a huge amount of growth & development going on in the body, brain & nervous system of the new born. Certain problems are so common as to be regarded as 'normal', but we shouldn't confuse 'normal' with healthy. Often parents are told - They'll grow out of it! And many do in time, as their little bodies learn to adapt. But if we are able to release or at least reduce some of the stresses & strains, then the question is why wouldn't you at least try? And why put child & parent through this distressful period if there was an approach that may help?

Cranial Osteopathy FAQ'sBaby recieving cranial osteopathy

Is my baby too young for cranial osteopathy?

No child is too young for treatment. Premature babies have been treated with cranial osteopathy while still in an incubator.

How may treatments are likely to be needed?

For newborn babies, then usually only 2 - 3 treatments are needed. Older children or those with more complex issues may require more treatment.

How will I know that the treatment is helping?

We should know after 2 or 3 treatments, but if there has been no initial response after treatment or gradual improvement by then, then we know that we need to rethink.

How much does treatment cost?

All children & babies are treated at a reduced 'concessionary' rate, please check the price list page.

How long is left between treatments?

Usually weekly. A week is usually sufficient time to adjust for any changes made. In more complex cases of an ongoing problem, then the treatment would initially weekly, then assuming they're improving sessions can be less often depending on their response and needs.

Is there any pressure or manipulation involved?

Only the very lightest of touch is used so no, this would not be regarded as manipulation.

Do you just work on the head?

No - the cranio-sacral mechanism or 'involuntary movement system' (IMS) continues throughout the body, and while the head is a key area to asses & treat other areas are usually treated also.

Theoretical example based on anatomy & physiology

If there is excess tension in the chest and diaphragm, due to ongoing stress, then this may irritate the entrance to the stomach, causing excess production of stomach acid. If we are able to release the tension in the diaphragm, then that could reduce the irritation of the stomach, then the overproduction of acid may calm down.

NB One of the key roles of stomach acid is to sterilise all food in the stomach before it moves into the gut. If the acid is being neutralised or acid production is being inhibited with medication, then there may be an increased risk of germs getting through to the gut and causing infection. Concerns have been raised about this potential problem, but it currently remains the standard treatment. Also, this approach at best can only ease the symptoms and while some may 'grow out of it', there may be a retained tendency toward having a oversensitive/irritible stomach in later life, as the under lying problem was never addressed.

What if there is a more serious underlying problem?

Osteopaths are trained to a very high standard, including medical sciences during their 4 year degree course. Thereafter cranial osteopaths have typically completed a number of postgraduate training courses specifically in cranial osteopathy. They will therefore do their best to ascertain if there is a more serious underlying condition and advise/refer appropriately. We are more than happy to work with GP's, health visitors and paediatricians when and where appropriate

Why can't you just tell me what conditions are likely to be helped with Cranial Osteopathy?

I'm sorry, but without a substantial body of evidence we are no longer able to name any paediatric condition, as that could imply that in turn it can be 'cured' by cranial osteopathy. 

What's the difference between Cranial Osteopathy and Craniosacral Therapy?

The short answer is very little or, rather the other qualifications that the practitioner holds.

Cranial osteopathy was first developed by an American physician - Dr William Garner Sutherland (1873 – 1954) in the 1930's. Sutherland was the first osteopath to conceptualize the cranial approach and systematically teach it. It is based on the principle of a minute rhythmic movement pattern that occurs throughout the entire body. He initially observed this between the bony plates of the skull and much of the attention is focussed on the cranium during treatment, hence the name 'cranial osteopathy'.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy (CST) came much later, developed in the 1970's by osteopath Dr John Upledger. Strangely Upledger claimed to have discovered the cranio-sacral mechanism independently, while assisting a colleague with a spinal surgery. He couldn't have not known about Sutherland's work, but maybe he felt that this approach was too important and should be available for other health care professionals to practice and not just osteopaths. As such he came up with the name Cranio-Sacral Therapy as a distinction. Upledger has made a huge contribution to the cranial field with books, papers, courses, etc and I believe osteopaths attend CST courses also. So a Cranio-Sacral Therapist is, as far as I can establish is a non osteopath using the cranio-sacral approach. This does not mean that they are necessarily any more or less professional or effective, but with an osteopath you would at least know that they are statutory regulated, if there was a problem.

I also believe that now Chiropractors also have their version of a cranio-sacral approach.