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What is cranial osteopathy?Created by Lisa in Age: Baby & Toddler, Health and Safety
Mothers, doctors and health visitors often recommended cranial osteopathy as a way of combating the dreaded colic and to help an unsettled baby sleep. If it all sounds a bit like baby whispering to you, this article should be able to shed some light on the what it is and how it works.
Carole Smith, D.O., N D Cranial Osteopath and Chair of the International Cranial Association describes cranial osteopathy as ‘an holistic and very gentle therapy’.
How does it work?
Cranial therapy works with the body’s own healing energy. A cranial practitioner senses the subtle tensions and movements, and gently helps the body to move in the direction it needs to go in order to re-align and heal itself. Cranial osteopathy is extremely gentle, almost imperceptible.
Cranial practitioners work mainly on the head, the cranium. Unbalanced or excessive tensions in the membranes inside the cranium or the muscles outside the bony skull can have a profound effect on the brain, the pituitary gland, and the body’s immune system. Treatment aims to release these tensions, balancing and restoring the gentle natural rhythmic movement of the cranium and sacrum.
The slow rhythm of the cranial system can be felt at the head and the sacrum, and also throughout the body. The source of this pulse is still disputed, but there is scientific evidence of its existence. The cerebrospinal fluid, the “river of life”, bathes and nourishes the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system of the body. The central nervous system is connected via an extensive network of nerves to every organ, muscle and tissue in the body.
During their birth, babies are exposed to various stresses as they pass down the birth canal, especially if the delivery is difficult or lengthy. This can cause tension and strain patterns that are retained within the body. These strains can manifest as a mis-shapen head or a twist in the neck.
Other strain patterns can contribute to colic, sleeping difficulties, feeding problems and irritability.
As children grow, any unresolved strain patterns from a difficult birth or falls, for example, can contribute to health problems such as recurrent throat infections, glue ear, backache and headache.
Cranial osteopathy works to realign the babies body and provide relief from tension and strain. At the start of a consultation the practitioner will ask about the birth of the baby and the history of the child’s development since birth, when a mother or carer can explain any issues they may have. The practitioner will then put their hands on a babies or child’s head and neck and make tiny almost imperceptible movements. The baby or child feels no pain but just simply feels the pressure of a gentle touch. After a treatment often the child is very relaxed and sleeps well or they may have a burst of energy and then sleep well.
By the time a person reaches adulthood, the body has often accumulated many strain patterns. These may include unresolved tensions acquired during birth, as well as those acquired from accidents and injuries, sport, and traumatic life events. These stresses depress the function the central nervous system, which coordinates all body functions including the immune and endocrine systems.
The result may be long-term symptoms, often in specific organs of the body, such as headache and migraine, chest pains, heart burn, or palpitations, respiratory or stomach disorders, irritable bowel syndrome or colitis.
By The International Cranial Association
To find out more about cranial osteopathy or to find a practitioner visit http://icra-uk.org/index.html
Other useful links: Osteopathy Centre for Children http://occ.uk.com/