What is Cranial Osteopathy?

What is Cranial Osteopathy?

By Nordic Balance

Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle speciality within osteopathy that offers a non-invasive and effective approach to healthcare. It focuses on restoring balance to the body’s natural biorhythms by addressing imbalances in the cranial rhythm.


This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of cranial osteopathy, its benefits for babies and children, and its potential applications for various conditions. From soothing colic and reflux in infants to providing relief for migraines and vertigo in adults, cranial osteopathy offers a holistic approach to healing for individuals of all ages.  


Julieann, a paediatric osteopath at Nordic Balance, explains the multitude of advantages that Cranial Osteopathy can bring to children and adults alike. From soothing infants’ colic pains to relieving stress in older individuals – this holistic practice has healing possibilities for anyone from any age group.


What is Cranial Osteopathy?


Cranial osteopathy is a gentle and subtle treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body. Although gentle, cranial treatment is extremely effective and may be used in various conditions for people of all ages, from babies to older people.  


In professional terminology, two main types of osteopathy are structural; and cranial. Structural osteopathy is a hands-on physical therapy that combines various massage techniques with chiropractic-like manipulation. It is the type of osteopathy that most have experienced.  


Cranial osteopathy is more subtle. It works on the body tissues’ quality and what they feel like and addresses imbalances in what osteopaths call the cranial rhythm.


The cranial rhythm is a subtle rhythmic shape change that occurs throughout the body and can be felt by gentle touch. While structural osteopathy works from the outside, cranial osteopathy works from the inside out.  


Pippa Middleton opened up about taking her son Arthur, now one, to cranial osteopathy. In an instalment for her column in Waitrose Weekend, Pippa said she took Arthur along to therapy out of intrigue after hearing other new mums discuss it.  


She found the calming effect cranial osteopathy had on her son fascinating, and the findings of the osteopath were insightful, as she found out her son had one side of his neck tighter than the other and stronger arms than legs, so he was given exercises to help him.



If this sounds a bit ethereal, remember that the osteopath knows their anatomy well and works from this premise. This means that however slight the touch, the osteopath knows what is under their hands and can discern its health from its texture and flexibility.

It also means that from the case history onwards, they are acting like detectives trying to get to the root cause of the patient’s symptoms.  


Cranial Osteopathy for Babies & Children


Cranial osteopathy is a gentle yet effective approach to healthcare for babies and young children. This specialised form of osteopathic treatment focuses on the bones of the head, face, and neck, as well as the brain and spinal cord, to help stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities.  


While cranial osteopathy may sound intimidatingtually a non-invasive and pain-free approach to addressing various conditions, including colic, reflux, sleep disturbances, and developmental delays.  


Cranial Osteopathy for babies suffering from reflux  


If a parent brings their infant to see the osteopath because they are suffering from reflux, unable to latch, windy, or have a potential tongue tie, they will be asked about the pregnancy and birth.  


During quick labour, the infant will be rapidly stretched and then ping back, creating bodily compression that can be quite uncomfortable and cause unsettledness.  


Cranial Osteopathy for Babies after prolonged births  


Prolonged births can lead to strains through the diaphragm. The oesophagus enters the stomach through the diaphragm and uses parts of it to close. Ergo, the tension in this area may result in reflux.  


Births by forceps and ventouse can lead to various bodily strains, including a restricted neck. Tight necks result in tight jaws, which can lead to poor latches. The baby struggles to feed, takes in lots of air and suffers from the wind.


Caesarean sections can also crea, ventouse,ceps or ventouse and unusual presentations such as brer face can result in one-sided neck rotations. Over time, this can lead to misshapen heads. An unusual head shape can lead to tongue tie.  


Once detected and analysed, the cranial osteopath uses gentle techniques to ; itsn and release.


While Cranial Osteopathy is ideal for small people, it is not limited to them. The gentle treatment approach can be applied to any complaint relayed to musculoskeletal, systemic, psychological or stress-related, and works alongside other therapies and medical approaches for the holistic good of the patient, whatever age.  


Post-partum mums, sportspeople, and those suffering work-related ills can all benefit.  


Looking for cranial osteopathy treatment? We offer appointments in Wimbledon and Clapham.

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