Cranial osteopathy is one of the core forms of therapy that is used by an osteopath. As a holistic therapy, it is used to help alleviate chronic pain and headaches, as well as reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the immune and digestion systems.
Our expert practitioners at key Osteopaths have put together the following guide to help you understand exactly what cranial therapy is, what the key benefits are, and what you can expect from a cranial therapy session.
Understanding Cranial Therapy
Cranial therapy, otherwise known as ‘craniosacral therapy’ or ‘cranial massage’, is a gentle, non-invasive manual therapy that aims to improve the function of the craniosacral system. It is a holistic form of therapy based on the belief that the central nervous system is key to your health and effective in pain relief.
The craniosacral system is the bones of the skull, the spine, and the sacrum, as well as the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.
How does Cranial Therapy work?
During a cranial therapy session, a practitioner will use a soft touch and gentle pressure to assess and treat imbalances in the craniosacral system.
The goal is to help the body release tension and promote healing while improving the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and restoring proper alignment to the bones of the skull and spine.
Cranial therapy is often used to treat a variety of conditions, including headaches, chronic pain, anxiety, and stress. The scientific evidence for cranial therapy is limited, but as a holistic therapy, many people are left feeling deeply relaxed and experiencing a sense of healing and well-being after a session.
8 Key Benefits of Cranial Therapy
1. Reduce pain
This form of therapy can help to alleviate chronic pain, headaches, migraines, as well as neck and back pain. The relaxation methods used in a session will successfully locate and target the source of your pain, and your osteopath will look to both solve this as well as the underlying issues that caused the pain.
2. Treat insomnia
Cranial therapy can aid in the treatment of insomnia. The relaxation techniques will encourage sleep and a higher quality of rest. This is achieved through the stimulating of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the “rest and digest” response in the body.
3. Reduce stress and anxiety
The techniques used also work to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, allowing the body and mind to enter a deeper state of relaxation, reduce tension within the entire body, and improve overall mental rest and well-being.
4. Improve immune function
Some studies suggest that it improves the immune system. This is based on the thought that it helps boost the body’s natural defences by balancing out the autonomic nervous system, responsible for regulating the body’s involuntary function, including the immune system.
5. Improve digestion
It is believed cranial therapy helps to improve digestion and alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, such as IBS. This is thought to be the case as the techniques can address any restrictions or tensions in the tissue surrounding the digestive organs. These restrictions are responsible for blockages or imbalances in the digestive system, leading to symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain.
6. Improve cognitive function
Some people report improved mental clarity and concentration after receiving cranial therapy. Relaxation and reduced stress can contribute to the improvement of cognitive difficulties such as a lack of concentration, memory problems, and brain fog. During a session, the osteopath will apply gentle pressure that can help release restrictions in the tissues and promote the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which nourishes the brain and helps improve brain function.
7. Aid recovery from injury or surgery
When a person injures themselves or undergoes surgery, their body may experience various forms of stress that can cause tension and discomfort in the cranial and other areas of the body. Cranial osteopathy aims to relieve this tension and restore balance to the body, which can help aid recovery from injury or surgery. The therapy can improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation – all of which will contribute to a faster recovery time.
8. Improve your overall well-being
Most people report a greater sense of relaxation, balance, and overall well-being following a cranial therapy session. It can also help to ease any trauma and emotional disturbances that you have built up and not dealt with.
However, it is important to note that cranial therapy should not be used as a replacement for traditional medical treatments. Instead, it should be used as a complementary therapy to support a person’s overall health and well-being. It is always recommended to consult your doctor before trying new therapies or to ask for advice if you have concerns.
What is Baby Cranial Therapy?
Cranial therapy can also be helpful for infants and children with colic, digestive issues, and sleep disturbances. It is common that babies need this treatment to release the tension in their head and neck muscles. All cranial osteopaths will have the necessary training to work with babies to ensure their safety and well-being during treatment.
This specific treatment would involve the osteopath gently massaging the baby’s muscles around the head and spinal cord. The neck and upper back are also important as they have some parts of the head muscles. Babies respond well to cranial osteopathy because they have soft muscles and tissue, and it is easier to feel the tension in the babies’ muscles compared to adults.
Book Your Cranial Therapy Appointment Today
Key Osteopaths in Surrey are located in West Byfleet. With over 10 years of experience and qualifications from the British School of Osteopathy, our friendly team of osteopaths provide a range of treatments and specialises in cranial therapy.
If you would like to book an appointment for cranial therapy, or one of our other treatments, contact us today for more information. Our clients differ considerably in age, lifestyle and fitness level – everyone is welcome and we are confident in our ability to help you.
Upon arrival for your appointment, you will have a discussion with your practitioner about your symptoms and medical history. When the treatment gets underway, the practitioner will begin applying pressure to different parts of your body – so please wear comfortable clothing! When you book you will be emailed some information to read over before arriving. We always try to explain things throughout your treatment, but we always welcome questions if you aren’t sure at any point.