Although the name implies head manipulation, the technique is used to treat the whole body. There are different ways of practising osteopathy. Cranial osteopathy is a particularly gentle and effective way of treating adults as well as babies and children. The name refers to a refined and subtle type of osteopathic treatment that uses very gentle manipulative techniques.
A Little Background History
We owe our present understanding of Osteopathy to two men, Dr Still and Dr Sutherland, who both had tremendous vision and dedication, and developed an understanding of the body that was way ahead of their time. The science of Osteopathy was introduced by the physician, Dr Andrew Taylor Still in the USA, in 1874.
One of Dr Still’s students, Dr William Garner Sutherland, spent much of his life developing Dr Still’s principles of Osteopathy. “Cranial” is the name given to the approach to Osteopathy developed by Dr Sutherland. It is not a term that we as Osteopaths particularly like since it implies that treatment is only directed at the head. In reality, we are simply Osteopaths who include the head in our search to understand the whole body.
Cranial Osteopathy was first launched in the USA by Dr Sutherland in the 1940’s but did not reach England until around 1970, and has since grown rapidly in popularity both among Osteopaths and their patients.
Osteopathy for Babies and Children
Birth is arguably the most stressful event of a child’s life. Even a relatively straightforward birth imposes enormous stresses on the baby, in particular on the head. Much of this resolves naturally in the first few weeks of life, but in some babies the powerful processes of birth can lead to problems-some babies can cry a lot, they can be sick or colicky and can sometimes have very disturbed sleep patterns. Osteopathy can often help little babies with these problems.
Osteopathy can also help toddlers and older children. For example a little girl may have frequent ear and / or chest infections. A schoolboy might develop back pain from carrying heavy school bags, or from spending long hours hunched over a laptop. Playing sports can over stretch young ligaments and tendons. These are the types of activities that lead to long or short-term discomfort and pain, which an osteopath may help alleviate.
Osteopathy recognizes the importance of the link between the structure of the human body and the way it functions. As well as looking at the skeleton and joint function, it also looks at the underlying muscles, soft tissue and internal organs.
What Does Osteopathic Treatment Involve?
On visiting an osteopath for the first time, a parent or guardian always accompanies Infants and children, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. A caring approach and attention to the individual is considered particularly important. When Linda Aryaeenia first meets her younger patients she often describes herself as a “body mechanic”. We take down a full case history and examine the patient carefully and gently to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body.
Using very subtle and gentle techniques, the accumulated stresses and strains in the body are gradually released. The aim is to relieve the current symptoms and also improve the underlying health of the tissues as far as possible in order to try and ensure that they do not recur.
This extremely gentle type of treatment is suitable for everyone from newborn babies to the very elderly.
What Does ‘Cranial Osteopathy Treatment’ Feel Like?
The patient is quite unaware apart from the contact of the Osteopath’s hands that anything is happening at all. He/she may feel sensations of pressure either under the Osteopath’s hands or elsewhere, or a sensation of localized warmth as a release and relaxation is achieved in the tissues. Overall most patients feel that gradually the tension is being drawn out of their body, and they become deeply relaxed. It is common to feel a degree of light-headedness for a few minutes after a treatment. Therefore, it is very important for the patient to have a relatively ‘easy’ day on the day of treatment.
Cranial Osteopathy Treatment Fees:
Initial consultation and treatment of one hour: £55.
Subsequent visits of half an hour: £45.
Infants under 12 months old: £45 for 1st and subsequent visits.