Within osteopathy exists a technique which has received much media coverage called Cranial Osteopathy. Cranial osteopathy is based on the same principle idea inherent through osteopathy; that structure governs function. The cranial approach also uses very gentle techniques in which the osteopath's highly trained sense of touch is used to identify and correct mechanical disturbances and limitations, both in and around the joints of the skull and throughout the body. The name is misleading as the technique is applied to the head as well as the rest of the body. This technique has proven to be very useful in the care of infants and children as it is non-invasive. It involves gentle pressure and articulation to achieve the same coherent functionality which is sought from orthodox structural work.
With such a rise in childhood ailments: colic, recurrent ear infections leading to Gromits, ADHD and many more, the effectiveness of Cranial Osteopathy has been invaluable. The core principle is prevention, for example a child born with a traumatic start: distress, ventouse etc, may result in mild to medium compression into the cranium. This may not present with anything more than a cosmetic concern of a misshapen head to begin with. However, if the child is unable to resolve these strains the underlying structures bear witness resulting in dysfunction.
Cranial Osteopathy is most definitely needed for children and newborns. Orthodox medicine has its limitations in treating newborns, as their resources of drugs are handed out with great care and only in extreme circumstances. This creates a huge gap between the children who have a very real problem that are not yet able to be medicated. The question then remains: if there is a solution why wait until the problem gets to the state that invasive intervention must occur. If we can calm the mild to moderate cases, this relieves the stresses on the child, their parents and the NHS. The idea is simple; it is this innovative, preventative and forward thinking approach that initiates success and positive effects for the family.
Cranial osteopaths are primarily osteopaths with a strong foundation of anatomy and physiology and a deep understanding of the body. The "cranial" technique is a specialized field which some osteopaths undertake as a specialization at a postgraduate level. The Osteopath will take a detailed case history, examine and treat the patient using the gentlest of treatments.
Cranial Osteopathy – Case reports
Three year old J. presented with chronic constipation which had been persistant for two years. This lovely little girls only relief was by daily intake of laxatives and a weekly suppository. The condition was marked with pain, crying and loss of appetite sometimes lasting 8-10 days.
On initial assessment the condition was graded at 0 (0 being the least and 10 completely resolved). This case was treated by using both structural and cranial techniques. Treatment lasted for 3 months with a complete resolution of the symptoms, she is now a contented little girl with improved function.
Three week J. presented for a post natal check up with symptoms of constant irritability, falling asleep whilst feeding leading to weight loss, and generally unsettled behaviour. He was said to be at a 30% improvement at the time of the consultation.
His treatment lasted for 5 sessions and was then discharged. His mother reports, "Treatment has been great. All symptoms resolved from our first visit. J. is now an extremely content little man, sleeping 12 hours content through the day."
By Amberin Fur
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