Cranial osteopathy (also called cranial therapy or craniosacral therapy) is one variety of osteopathic manipulative therapies. It stimulates healing by using gentle hand pressure to manipulate the skeleton and connective tissues, especially the skull and sacrum (the large, triangular bone at the base of the spinal column). Cranial osteopathy is based on the controversial theory that the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, has subtle, rhythmic pulsations that are vital to health and can be detected and modified by a skilled practitioner.
What conditions is cranial osteopathy used for?Cranial osteopathy is used for a wide range of problems in both children and adults including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, scoliosis, migraine headaches, disturbed sleep cycles, asthma, neck pain, sinus infections, TMJ syndrome, Ménière’s disease and ear problems, and for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who have experienced birth trauma or head trauma. The American Cancer Society notes that while cranial osteopathy therapy has not been shown scientifically to be a treatment for cancer, it can help patients feel more relaxed by helping to relieve stress and tension.
Practitioners of cranial osteopathy use their hands to gently free up restrictions in the movement of cranial bones and associated soft tissues and to stimulate the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes all the surfaces of the brain and the spinal cord. Practitioners believe that distortions in the natural rhythms of the central nervous system may result from trauma of all sorts including birth trauma, childhood injuries, automobile accidents, even psychological trauma. (For years, mainstream medicine dismissed the idea – put forth in the 1930s by osteopath William Sutherland – that the cranial bones in the adult skull could move. However, researchers at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic medicine confirmed Sutherland’s theory in the late 1970s by showing cranial bone motion in X-ray films of the skulls of living subjects.)
Source: Dr. Weil’s