Cranial Osteopathy – An Introductory Note
Cranial osteopathy, or more precisely “osteopathy in the cranial field” is a subtle all embracing form of osteopathic treatment. Using the lightest of touch, cranial osteopaths are trained to feel the ongoing rhythmical shape change present in all body tissues. This phenomenon is now known as the involuntary motion.
The involuntary motion is of very small amplitude and requires a keenly developed sense of palpation to feel. It was first described by Dr William Sutherland (a pupil of Dr Still) in the early 1900’s.
Dr Sutherland’s original work involved the correction of restrictions in the bones of the skull (cranium). However the involuntary motion is therefore detectable throughout the body from head to toe. For this reason the term “cranial osteopathy” is rather limiting.
The interplay of all these elements transmits the involuntary motion throughout the tissues of the body. The involuntary motion is therefore detectable throughout the body from head to toe. For this reason the term “cranial osteopathy” is rather limiting. However since the increase in public interest in the involuntary motion is now known as “cranial osteopathy” it appears the term is here to stay.
Treatment using the Involuntary Motion
When tension occurs in the body the involuntary motion is disrupted. The osteopath makes a comparison between an ideal motion and the motion actually present in the patient. The comparison gives a picture of tissue restrictions present in the body.
When we experience stress our body tissues may react by tensing. Initially the body may well adapt to these effects but slowly a pattern of restriction develops. These restrictions restrict our free movement and may lead to the development of symptoms.
Treatment using the involuntary motion is aimed at the whole person and not just the presenting symptoms. Whilst applicable to all ages, treatment using the involuntary motion has become particularly well known for babies, children and young people.
Many registered osteopaths receive initial training in “involuntary motion studies” as part of their osteopathic training. The osteopathic profession is currently developing formal post graduate educational qualifications. In time this will cover cranial osteopathy.
At Hermes Health, further post-graduate study has been undertaken with the Sutherland Cranial College (SCC). The SCC is one of two post graduate courses recognised by the Sutherland Society (the largest grouping of cranial osteopaths in the UK) as providing a thorough training in this field.