What is Osteopathy?
"Osteopathy is a philosophy of healthcare that acknowledges that the living body is a self-renewing, self-regenerating, self-recuperating system which maintains health constantly throughout life. Whenever that health-maintaining system is compromised, symptoms or disease could develop. Osteopathy is concerned with that which has compromised health rather than the resulting condition. Osteopaths have been regulated by statute since 1993. They are trained to diagnose conventionally and also to use their hands to assess body function and dysfunction. This gives the osteopath uniquely sensitive information about the disability within the body and how this insight might be used to help restore health. Although people commonly describe their symptoms in terms of conventional medical conditions, osteopaths do not primarily treat medical conditions; they are more concerned with the cascade of events which could have contributed to the development of those medical conditions."
For me the most important part of the puzzle is that we, as Osteopaths, primarily do not treat conditions or MRI Scans, but People. I could treat 15 patients with Shoulder Pain every day and every case would be different; the physical, environmental and social causes contributing to the problem would be different in every case. Also, we all react differently to treatment. Some patients just want to be 'fixed' as quickly as possible and have little interest in rehabilitation or exercises, others are hungry for advice and keen to take on board any advice that they can to prevent future re-occurrence of the issue. I’m sure you can guess which ones we see more often!
What is Cranial Osteopathy?
The term Cranial Osteopathy is not a different type of Osteopathy, it is a different, more gentle approach to the same problems. It is used to treat all areas of the body, not just the head.
Anyone who refers to themselves as a ‘Cranial Osteopath’ will have trained and qualified as a normal Osteopath and then chosen to further detailed postgraduate study in this gentle and often profoundly relaxing type of treatment.
This makes it very suitable for infants, children and those who may be unable or reluctant to tolerate stronger treatments such as deep tissue massage or manipulation.
It is particularly effective in treating patients who may be suffering from stress or emotional issues, which may be contributing to, or exacerbation their physical issues.
I have regular patients who come in for a cranial treatment, in the absence of physical pain or injury, as they find it profoundly relaxing and it helps release the stresses of work or family life.
Watching cranial treatment can be compared to watching someone reading a book. From the outside nothing appears to be happening but, if you are the one reading the book, you are transported into a rich world of structure, colour, depth and emotion. As you continue to read the story unfolds, and the body tells it’s story, often revealing the story of long-forgotten accidents or traumas (thanks to the Sutherland Cranial College for this great analogy).
Personally, having been treated by many Osteopaths over the last 25 years in a very traditional ‘Structural’ manner, my first Cranial treatment was a real revelation and has become my preferred treatment option. Also, as a Practitioner, the privilege of being able to treat infants effectively use this style of treatment is always the highlight of my working week.