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Cranial Osteopathy


Cranial Osteopathy is an extremely safe, gentle and effective whole body treatment. It helps to release stresses and strains found in a variety of different places throughout the whole body tissues e.g. muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, nerves, connective tissues and organs. It is used by osteopaths who are trained in this method to treat the whole person, not just symptoms.

It is suitable for all ages, from birth to old age and may aid people with a variety of conditions, by raising vitality and enabling the body’s own self healing processes to be mobilised. It is often used, when other more dynamic therapies may be inappropriate, which is why babies, pregnant women and elderly patients find this treatment so soothing.

The first teacher of cranial osteopathy, Dr Sutherland, devised this system of correcting cranial bone restrictions using gentle manipulation; he tested many of his early theories on his own head, keeping detailed records of the symptoms that came and went when he created, and then removed, a variety of cranial bone restrictions. He experienced symptoms such as: depression, severe head and jaw pain, which were a direct cause of the restrictions he created.

How does it work?

Cranial osteopaths are trained to use the skill of palpation to sense and work with a very subtle, rhythmical motion known as the involuntary mechanism or cranial rhythm. This is present in all body tissues. It is controlled by pulsations from within the brain, which cause fluctuations of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The CSF bathes and cushions the brain and spinal cord, expressing motion in a tidal pattern – like an ebb and flow; bones, organs and other structures in the body, each follow their own pattern of movement.

The cranial mechanism is most likely to become blocked or disrupted when tension and stresses build up in the body. This motion is so subtle that it is barely measurable with instruments, but in the hands of a trained cranial osteopath it can be assessed by direct contact on the head, the sacral area of the spine and throughout the body.

Gentle manipulation and pressure is used to encourage the release of stresses and tensions, not only in the skull, but throughout the body. This deep treatment can also have a profound effect on the emotional and psychological well-being of the patient, by helping to release emotions which the patient may not have been aware of. Through this process, the patient can develop greater self awareness and understanding of the link between the mind, body and spirit.

How can we help?

At Nina Torina® Clinics, we treat all ages, from babies, children and teenagers; to pregnant women, new mums; men and women involved in sport and the elderly. The gentle and skilful application of osteopathic techniques, including cranial osteopathy, can bring about significant improvement to patients presenting with a variety of different symptoms.

Cranial Osteopathy is particularly effective in the following situations:

  • Babies suffering from the effects of a traumatic delivery.
  • Young children experiencing problems that develop from knocks and falls as a toddler.
  • Teenagers who are growing rapidly and experiencing the dramatic effects of puberty, where it is particularly important to ensure healthy postural habits while participating in sporting activities and invariably carrying heavy school bags. In addition, we can help to encourage the awareness and development of good lifestyle and wellbeing habits, which will help sustain them into adulthood.
  • Patients who react adversely, to the more dynamic methods of musculoskeletal treatment or where those methods are inappropriate i.e. during pregnancy; chronic fatigue syndrome (ME); after an operation, traumatic accident such as whiplash; for young babies; adults suffering from the chronic effects of trauma, fragile or acutely painful conditions.

How can Cranial Osteopathy help my baby?

It is a common belief that babies and children should have no structural stresses or strains in their bodies, however the reality is very different. The birth of a baby is one of the most stressful events of our lives. A baby’s skull is made up of a number of bones that can overlap and have a remarkable ability to absorb the stresses of a normal delivery. However, the pressures of a complicated birth, rapid labour, forceps/vantouse delivery can result in the baby’s head not fully recovering from the distortion. As a result the baby may have to live with some very uncomfortable stresses within its head and body. The sooner any symptoms and tensions are detected and treated the better, and most importantly early treatment can also help prevent problems from developing in later life! Cranial osteopathy can gently detect the problem and then treat, resulting in much happier babies…and mums and dads!

How can Cranial Osteopathy help my child?

As children grow, other problems may become apparent due to earlier stresses and strains and the rough and tumble of childhood. The rapid growth spurt of puberty, the effects of sports activities, hunching over computer games or carrying school bags, can also place extra demands on a child’s body; sometimes leading postural problems, which if left untreated may lead to pain and functional difficulties later in life. Cranial osteopathy can help with: musculoskeletal problems, aches and pains.

What happens during treatment?

Generally patients remain fully clothed during treatment. The osteopath will examine your cranial rhythm, using their highly trained sense of touch, to discover the overall condition of your body, whether it is healthy, stressed or tired; and to identify what stresses and strains your body is under at present and what tensions it may be carrying as a result of your past physical traumas; the effects of emotional stress and your general vitality are very important. Treatment is non-invasive, using extremely gentle contact with the head and base of the spine; no uncomfortable pressure is involved. Using subtle manipulative techniques the osteopath uses their hands to release the stresses and strains and improve tissue mobility. You may experience a variety of sensations such as, soft pressure, warmth, changes in your breathing pattern, or a sensation that tension is being drawn out of the body and a deep sense of relaxation; these sensations often occur as the involuntary mechanism is being unblocked.


Often after treatment your baby or child may be very relaxed and sleep well. Others have a burst of energy and then have a good night’s sleep. However occasionally children feel unsettled and tearful, but this is only temporary and happens when mechanical changes are occurring, and rarely lasts more than 48 hours. As an adult, you may experience similar effects to a baby/child; feeling very relaxed and sleeping well following treatment, or feeling full of energy and invigorated; but sometimes because the treatment is so deep, you can feel quite emotional or tearful as your body begins to rebalance. As with babies, these responses usually last no more than 48 hours and are quite normal. We will advise you of the best way to cope with these changes.

Nina Torina - Lifestyle Medicine

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