If you’re looking for a cranial osteopath, Leeds Good Health Centre osteopaths have specialist training in both paediatric and cranial osteopathy techniques.

Our osteopaths are extensively trained in the use of cranial osteopathic techniques to aid wellbeing and recovery in all patients, from newborns to those in later life.

Book a consultation to start your journey towards good health and healing

Is cranial osteopathy different from other osteopathy?

Rather than being separate from other types of osteopathy, cranial osteopathy is an extension of the same practice. It is underpinned by the study of anatomy, physiology, neurology and embryology.

Although it’s called ‘cranial’, the technique is directed at the whole body. In this way, it’s a truly holistic form of therapy. As with all osteopathic treatment, a cranial osteopath aims to reduce issues in the body that prevent it functioning at its best.

How does cranial osteopathy work?

Cranial osteopaths consider that the whole body undergoes a natural, regular, rhythmic movement – a bit like the movement of breathing, but smaller and slower.

Osteopathy is based on the principle that the structure and function of the body are intimately related. If the structure is not balanced and healthy then the function is affected.

In just the same way, cranial osteopaths aim their treatment at harmonising the body’s structure to allow it to function at its best. They assess how your body functions as a unit and aim to make tiny interventions that improve the whole function. You could liken it to a sailor who feels how well their boat is running and makes small adjustments to the ropes that enable the sails to fill and the hull to move smoothly through the water.

What does cranial osteopathy treat?

The aim of treatment is to facilitate all elements of the body to work harmoniously. Because of that, it can be beneficial in most circumstances. Since it’s such a gentle treatment to receive, it’s widely considered particularly appropriate for babies and patients who would feel uncomfortable with more direct treatments. This might include people who have had a significant trauma or are frail or infirm.

Cranial osteopathy for babies

We treat a lot of babies and young children here at the Good Health Centre. We assess them to see how treatment might help ease any factors that could be contributing to discomfort.

Compression of the skull happens normally during the birth process, which is why babies sometimes have oddly shaped heads for a while. This compression generally resolves over time.

The ‘cranial nerves’, which exit through the base of the skull, have wide-ranging effects. Some go to structures in the head, such as the muscles that move the eye. Dysfunction of this nerve can cause a squint. Some nerves pass further into the body, such as the vagus nerve, which has functions in swallowing and digestion, among other things. It also sends messages back to the brain about what is happening in the gut.

Just like adults, babies can experience restriction and discomfort. For example, restriction around the jaw and the neck can mean uncomfortable feeding. You might see this in irritability or unsettled behaviour during feeds. You might also notice that your baby prefers to turn their head to one side rather than the other.

Our experienced osteopaths are highly trained in anatomy and physiology as well as in cranial techniques. They not only have a profound knowledge of a developing baby’s structure and function, but an understanding of what’s ‘normal’ at any age or stage. They can assess and advise, and they will always refer to a medical practitioner if appropriate.

What’s the evidence for cranial osteopathy?

Most of the research in this field comes from small studies undertaken by osteopaths. Right now, there’s no definitive science to back up this technique. But scientific improvements in how we understand the workings of the body increasingly support the cranial osteopathic approach. You can find some of this research listed below.

The great majority of evidence for cranial osteopathy is ‘anecdotal’ and comes from patients and families who have experienced the changes it can make. One clinical study has been looking at how cranial osteopathy can help babies. Of the first 110 families, 66 were not familiar with osteopathy before getting involved.  99.1% of the families would now recommend cranial osteopathy to others. You can read more here.

Want to find out more?

At the Good Health Centre, we’re here to support you and your family. If you’re not sure whether cranial osteopathy is right for you, call us and one of our team will be happy to advise.

If you’re interested in cranial osteopathy in Leeds, book in now for an evaluation from one of our highly experienced cranial osteopathy practitioners.


Research links:

Matsumae M, Kuroda K, Yatsushiro S, et al. (2019). Changing the Currently Held Concept of Cerebrospinal Fluid Dynamics Based on Shared Findings of Cerebrospinal Fluid Motion in the Cranial Cavity Using Various Types of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Techniques. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 59(4):133-146. doi:10.2176/nmc.ra.2018-0272 See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6465527/

Rasmussen TR, Meulengracht KC (2020) Direct Measurement of the Rhythmic Motions of the Human Head Identifies a Third Rhythm. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2020.08.018

Sergueef N, Nelson KE, Glonek T. (2002). The effect of cranial manipulation on the Traube-Hering-Mayer oscillation as measured by laser-Doppler flowmetry. Altern Ther Health Med. 8(6):74-76. See https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/99ca/39fba671bd73e1b24bb898d1f075360d61ee.pdf

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