Osteopathy – what is it?

Is a holistic therapy to help the musculo-skeletal body that is in pain. Osteopathic practitioners treat all manner of complaints from low back pain, neck pain, joint pain amongst many others.

This is done by the therapist using their hands in a variety of techniques in order to restore health.

These techniques include, palpation, muscle stretching, massage and pressure on soft tissue as well as physical mobilisation of joints in specific vectors, in order to relieve muscle tension and enhance blood flow and nerve supply to tissues, encouraging the body’s self healing mechanism.

Osteopathy is based on the principle that a healthy body is one where the muscles, ligaments and connective tissues are functioning efficiently and in unison with each other.

Cranial Osteopathy (often referred to as cranio-sacral therapy)

This is a form of therapy using therapeutic touch to manipulate the joints of the cranium and sacrum. The practitioner applies light touches with their hands to a patients skull, face, spine and pelvis.

It was originated by the Osteopath William Sutherland in the early 1900’s. He came upon the idea to treat in this way when on looking at a disarticulated skull he realised that they are comprised of joints which have a ‘bevelled’ edge. All joints have a certain degree of movement and from this he indicated there is an element of mobility in these joints, even once a human has grown to a point where the joints in the skull have fused. Much like the sacrum, these joints appear to be firmly fixed, however, he proposed that there is some movement in them albeit barely perceptible.

With further research over the years, it has been asserted that there are small, rhythmic movements of the cranial bones attributed to cerebrospinal fluid pressure and/or arterial pressure. The premise of the treatment is that palpation of the cranium can be used to detect this rhythm and certain pressures across the skull are used to achieve a therapeutic result.

Many practitioners of osteopathy have studied this particular therapy as an adjunct to their osteopathic training and many of them have gone on to research and study this particular phenomenon. Although current research is still unclear as to how much movement there is and where it is originating from, many patients have benefited from the therapy.

Cranial Osteopathy is gentle, safe and an effective form of treatment for babies and children. That also applies to adults as well, but it is perhaps best known to help children and babies.

What do we treat?

Osteopaths treat people of all ages. Patients seek osteopathic treatment for a wide range of conditions, such as:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Ear infections/tinnitus
  • TMJ (jaw) dysfunction
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Pain precipitating from postural problems
  • Changes to posture during pregnancy
  • Joint pain relating to arthritis
  • Sports injuries