Cranial Osteopathy

Sometimes known also as Craniosacral Osteopathy, Cranial Osteopathy is a very subtle osteopathic technique which seeks to restore and maintain natural rhythm by gently encouraging the release of tension in the body.

What is the cranial rhythm?

Cranial osteopaths are trained to feel and interpret a very delicate rhythm that comes about due to the movement of cerebrospinal fluid and the pull of the soft tissue connections on the joints and structures of the body. Tension resulting from stress, strain or injury, can accumulate and disrupt this rhythm causing further symptoms such as difficulty relaxing or aches and pains.

Who is it for?

Cranial osteopathy is particularly suited to treating babies and small children, pregnant women, the elderly and those in poor health, but patients of all ages and states of health can benefit from this technique.

Why might a baby need treatment?

Birth is a stressful process for babies, their heads and bodies are compressed and contorted through the birth canal.  An assisted delivery may involve the trauma of a ventouse suction extraction or the use of forceps. Many are able to absorb these stresses and settle, however often some strains don’t release on their own which can leave baby with some discomfort. You may notice this in the shape of the head, the way they lie, difficulty feeding or relaxing.

What happens?

After a discussion about medical history and examination of the areas of tension including assessment of the cranial rhythm, your diagnosis and treatment plan will be explained. Treatment is so gentle that you may not even be aware of what is happening. You may sense a pressure or just the contact of the
practitioner’s hands. Treatment can focus on the head but may extend to the sacrum and pelvis or other parts of the body. Most patients find treatment relaxing and soothing, babies will often fall asleep – but not always!

While it can be highly effective at relieving symptoms, cranial osteopathy aims to treat the whole person, not the specific condition, working towards better overall health.

Patients will usually be asked to lie down during treatment but don’t worry if you are thinking of bringing an active child or a wriggling baby. Indeed we relish the challenge of treating the more lively or uncooperative small patient!

Treatment can be performed in shorter stints and you will be welcome to feed, change and entertain your child as you wish to during the appointment.

What should I expect afterwards?

Everyone is different but most people feel relaxed after treatment. Babies might have a long sleep, sometimes they might seem a bit unsettled for a day or two. If you have any concerns, you can call and talk to your osteopath.




Training & Professional Regulation

While the basics of cranial osteopathy are taught to all trainee osteopaths, formal training occurs as a post-graduate qualification or as part of the Masters degree programme.


We have two osteopaths in the practice who treat using cranial techniques

Phoebe Smith MOst – Registered Ostoepath (Phoebe has a particular interest in treating babies)

Mel Bell BSc (Hons) Ost MSc DO ND – Registered Osteopath

Click on their names to be connected to their profile pages